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Shake shake shake the bells ~ action song for a scrunchie or bell rope


Some of you have been asking for songs to use with a scrunchie or bell rope. Here's a little song I used yesterday with babies and toddlers. It's based on a skipping game from my primary playground. In the original game, the first skipping child was joined by the next child in line, and had to leave smartly on the last line, so that a constant flow of turn-takers entered and left the moving rope.

It went:

Vote. vote, vote for our friend (skipper's name)

In comes (next skipper's name) at the door.

For (name) is the one who everyone adores

And we won't need (first name) any more!

Slam the door!

I remember finding the last two lines a bit cruel, and they probably reflected the political origins of the song. There's an Irish version which goes:

Vote, vote, vote for de Valera…

A later sixties version poked fun at Harold Wilson and Ted Heath:

Vote, vote, vote for Harold Wilson, Vote, vote, vote for Edward Heath, Play the parliamentary game and you'll find they're just the same, You can only tell the difference by their teeth.

(author unknown!)

The melody is what I remember best – that and the anxiety of judging the speed of the rope just right to get in and out on time. This kindlier, new version is for playing with a bell rope or scrunchie and a bunch of toddlers with their parents or carers.

The group kneel in a circle round the bell rope (or scrunchie), holding it with both hands to beat it up and down in time to the song. Start with a teddy or other toy in the middle, and invite individual children to be included into the ring by lifting the rope over them or jumping them in bodily. Consent is important, but once the children get the idea of being in the middle and having their names sung, they become enthusiastic participants.

Shake shake shake the bells for Teddy,

He's the bear we all adore,

But we'll open up the ring and we'll let another one in,

And we'll shake shake shake the bells some more.

Shake shake shake the bells for Lucas,

He's the boy we all adore…

(tune: 6/8, key G)

B—B—|B AG E|D——|G——|

A—A—|B AG B|A——|—D D|

B BB A|G—G F#|E F#GF# E|D—B A|

G—G—|F# GA F#|G——|——

#VotevotevotefordeValera #Shakeshakeshakethebells #VotevotevoteforHaroldWilson #scrunchie #bellrope #skippinggame