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thecoppercow:

That Mysterious “S” Thing We Used to Draw (by the1janitor)

There’s this awesome book I read called ‘The People in the Playground’ which concerns the observations of an anthropologist on children’s folklore: the stuff that kids independently teach one another in school yards and playgrounds that has no real connection to adult lore and media. This is a great example of it, as are hand clapping and jump rope verses.

If you can finish the lines “Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black…” or ‘Hinky Pinky Ponky, Daddy had a donkey…”or “Miss Suzy had a steamboat…” or “Engine Engine number nine…”

stop and think about where you learned them.


It probably wasn’t from an adult or out of a book or in any formal way. It was from another kid; someone a grade ahead of you or someone’s older sibling or something. Who learned it the same way.

This is CHILD lore. Sometimes a fad will come and go in a single age cohort, sometimes it’ll last for generations. It’s kind of awesome.

The idea of child lore and a distinct child culture is really interesting, especially when you consider that children have a few traditions that go back hundreds of years.

For example: did you ever play “Quaker’s meeting?” Quaker’s meeting has begun, no more laughter, no more fun…that dates back two centuries. 

And of course there’s “Ring around the rosie,” which goes all the way back to the time of the black plague.

Children pass these things down among themselves as part of a legacy they lack the context to fully understand; but you could say the same thing about most adult traditions. That unbroken chain of shared knowledge connects their play to the play of children from hundreds of years ago, without any adult input or encouragement.

That’s cool.

This commentary just gave me half of the mission dossier for the second children’s book.

"Are you talking to me?" "No, my son is also named Jory." (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)

"Are you talking to me?" "No, my son is also named Jory." (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)

If you try and feed your family with a giant pretzel anywhere else they call Child Services. Not at Santa’s Village! (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)

If you try and feed your family with a giant pretzel anywhere else they call Child Services. Not at Santa’s Village! (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)

This guy right here? This my dude. (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)

This guy right here? This my dude. (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)

It’s like Wild America at the AZoosement Park today. (at Santa’s Village AZoosment Park)