Clapping, chanting and singing games

Clapping and singing games are traded orally from child to child without adult interference. The games contain a song or rhythmic speech, often combined with movement.

Location: Nation wide

Ungdomar som står i ring och klappar händerna mot varandra.

There may be one practitioner, two playing in a pair or a group that play together. The games often contain an element of competition or skill. Many of the songs and chants are characterized by the texts with nonsense, mixed language and linguistic humour. The stories are frequently based on a child's perspective and can have absurd features. The origins of the games are very varied. Some are traditional singing games that have existed in Sweden for centuries, some are part of group clapping games that spread across the world in the 1950s, and some have taken elements from contemporary phenomena as football chants, cheerleading, or music videos on Youtube.

Like all orally transmitted culture, clapping, rhyming and singing games are a tradition which changes constantly. The songs and chants are affected by the practitioners both consciously and unconsciously. The skill is transferred from child to child through imitation or active teaching, for example from older schoolchildren to younger ones, or between siblings. Children who change schools can take the chants and games with them. Exercise and dissemination occurs mainly in institutions for children, such as schools and venues for leisure pursuits. The documentation of this ”childlore” takes place in connection with Svenskt Visarkiv and recordings are available.