We did some pretty weird things as kids. Like, really really weird. We were attached to faux pets (tamagotchi anyone?), and we thought Furbies—especially when they spoke to one another—were cool. We also pretended we were people we weren’t on the playground (did anyone else play ‘The Spice Girls?’). And we ate pizza lunchables (I will still never understand why—they are so gross). But the oddest thing we did in the 90s, hands down, was play hand clapping games where we high-fived our friends while chanting some bizarre phrases.
Perhaps this was because the internet was just coming to life and iPads didn’t yet exist, making us easily amused, but we loved playing these games with each other—especially at summer camp. Here are 5 hand clapping games I played as a kid and will likely never forget.
1. Miss Mary Mack Hand Game
This is probably one of the oldest hand clapping games in the books. I bet our parents played it. I bet our grandparents played it. And I bet no one plays it anymore (kids have tablets, duh). But we played it… until we discovered other rhymes with ‘bad words’ and cool lines. Plus, Miss Mary Mack was definitely old, lame, and boring.
Miss Mary Mack Lyrics:
Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For fifty cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence
They jumped so high, high, high
They touched the sky, sky, sky
And didn’t come back, back, back
Till the fourth of July, July, July
2. Miss Susie Had a Steamboat Hand Game
Miss Susie was a classic. I’m pretty sure we made things up and had this rhyme go on for days though. As I said, the lack of internet made us easily entertained by such things. As for the song’s many random lines, I’m not sure what a 40 acre bra is… but we found it HILARIOUS to say bra as kids. Also, for a long time I thought a refrigerator was a “fridgerator”… and it was more likely than not because of this hand game. I also learned how to spell dark from this game and learned to HATE – absolutely hate – the word ‘pa.’ PA? Can’t you say dad? What is pa? Is this 1860?
Miss Susie Had a Steamboat Lyrics:
Miss Suzy had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Miss Suzy went to heaven
The steamboat went to…
Please give me Number Nine
And if you disconnect me
I will kick you from…
Behind the ‘frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Suzy sat upon it
And broke her big fat…
Ask me no more questions
I’ll tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their…
Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Suzy and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark dark
Dark is like a movie
A movie’s like a show
A show is like a TV show and that is all I know
I know my mother
I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister with the 40-acre bra
3. Double Double This That Hand Game
This game would go on FOREVER by substituting inanimate objects or people for ‘this’ and ‘that.’ This made the end phrase – ‘double double ___ ___’ – funny by putting two people together who like each other as ‘this’ and ‘that’… or putting two separate words together that make a funny phrase (double double text message HAHA). Ugh.
Double Double This That Lyrics:
Double double this this,
Double double that that,
Double this, double that,
Double double this that.
4. Land of Mars Hand Game
This is the creepiest of all the hand clapping games in the world. First we chanted about sodas and juices coming alive and walking around. Then we gave Dr. Pepper jelly rolls and sleeping pills and suddenly we were taken to Mars surrounded by ladies smoking cigars. Then snakes died, years passed, and we made a cake. Also, it was 1961. What? The bizarreness of this song reminded me of the BSB song If You Want It To Be Good Girl because it opened with an Egyptian sounding sound that reminded me of the snake in this hand game jingle. That’s weird, but I still think of that song when I hear this rhyme and vice versa, so whatever.
Land of Mars Lyrics:
Coca cola… went to town
Hi C… knocked him down
7 Up… picked him up
brought him… to Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper… gave him
Jelly Rolls… Sleeping Pills
In the land of mars where the ladies smoke cigars
Every puff they take is enough to kill a snake
When the snake is dead they put roses in his head
When the roses die they put diamonds in his eye
When the diamonds break it is time to bake a cake
When the cake is done it is 1961. Ding.
5. THE SPADES
WTF. People lined up to play this game. I remember asking others to play ‘the spades’ with me at camp all the time. People used to get so damn excited to play the spades. WHY? Why I ask? Did we enjoy tickling each other while saying ‘cootchi cootchie coo?’ And why did it specify that the tickling person was fat? I know we enjoyed giving each other ‘the chills’ every day… aka rubbing each others’ backs in a very large line or circle (maybe this was just the camp I went to?)… but tickling another person as a “fat lady?’ WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS lol
The Spades Lyrics:
The spades go:
eenie meenie popsakini
ooh aah oobelini
otchie kothchie liberace
say the magic words:
a peach, a plum, a half a stick of chewing gum
and if you want the other half, this is what you say
amen, amen, amendiego sandiego
hocus pocus dominocus
sis sis, sis boom bah
rivers, rivers, rah rah rah
boo boo boo
criss cross, applesauce
do me a favor and get lost
while you’re at it drop dead
either that or lose your head.
sitting on a trash can
I can, you can, nobody else can
sitting around, nothing to do
along comes a fat lady, cootchie cootchie coo!
u got the lyrics to ‘spades’ wrong. u forgot ‘banging on a tin can’ and ‘sitting on a park bench.’ next time, get your facts right. people want 2 c the real version of the songs. thanks for ur help though. *sarcastically*
I know right!
SO rude that other comment. Thanks for posting- helped me remember a couple lines I was blanking on. Now these songs will be stuck in my head all day haha!
In . Y area, we somehow moshed Down Down Baby with The Spades… The Somerville Ma USA version..
Down Down Baby, Down by the rollercoaster
Sweet. , Sweet Baby.. I don’t wanna let ya go.
Just because I kissed ya doesn’t mean I love ya.
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puff, shimmy shimmy pow( proceed to tickle friend)
Shimmy shimmy cocoa puff, shimmy shimmy pow (again)
Sitting by the roallercoaster, ‘nuttin’ to do.. along comes a fat lady coochie coochie coo( proceed to tickle friend).