What was this childhood playground game?
June 26, 2016 3:05 PM   Subscribe

So back in 1980s Massachusetts we used to play a game during recess, more frequently in the winter and it was icy and we couldn't run around.

We'd all stand in a big circle with overlapping hands and pass a hand tap around while we sang a song. The song was not in English (possibly Portuguese) and phonetically sounded like "kwaka dilla oma kwa kwa kwa, say chico chico, chico chico cha" and ended with a bunch of of fallo, fallo then counting in English. What on earth was this?
posted by emd3737 to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know what that is either, but we used to do that, with the end of the round being someone randomly slapping the next person's hand HARD and running away as a means of breaking the chain. Much like Duck Duck Goose.
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know the origin of this, but I definitely remember it (from Connecticut in the 1980s). It's the one that ends with "1 - 2 - 3 - 4!" on an ascending note, right?
posted by aecorwin at 3:12 PM on June 26, 2016

Also - fwiw, I used to think it went "say-la-vista, vista vista vista" (where you have it as "Chico Chico Chico", and "velour" where you have "fallo". Just putting that out there in case anyone else heard it similarly, to see if that helps with recognition. Might have been a regional variation, but either way, I'm positive we are talking about the same thing!
posted by aecorwin at 3:25 PM on June 26, 2016

I can't believe I know this. It's Stella, Ella Ola.

There are many versions, the one we sang was:

Quackadilly oh my,
quack, quack, quack

Say cinco, cinco,
Cinco, cinco sock

Follow, follow
Stick your head in Jell-O (or Such a Funny Fellow)

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight NINE!!
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:25 PM on June 26, 2016 [8 favorites]

i learned it at camp, but it was called "crocodile morey."
posted by oh really at 3:26 PM on June 26, 2016

Yesisyiw that's totally it!! Any idea of the origins? The Wikipedia link is not very informative
posted by emd3737 at 3:33 PM on June 26, 2016

Yes I said yes has it.
Our version in CT was:
"Quack diddly omar
Quack quack quack
Dance to the chico
Chico chico chack
Vello vello vello vello
1 2 3 4 5!
posted by heigh-hothederryo at 3:39 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ha, I learned yet another similar version:

Quack diddly omar
quack quack quack quack
hey chicky chicky go
chicky chicky quack quack
flow flow flow flow flow flow
1 2 3 4 5
posted by Ms Vegetable at 3:40 PM on June 26, 2016

My 6 yr old songs it:
Quack diddly o-ko goes quack, quack, quack
Señor Rico goes Rico, Rico, Rico
Galore, galore, galore, galore, galore goes
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:53 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yup, in Minnesota it was

Obo sha-notten totten
Nay Nay I am boom boom boom.
Itty bitty otten totten
Obo sha-notten totten
Obo sha-notten totten BOOM!
1 2 3 4 5!

That last BOOM! got a big slap and, of course, you tried to avoid the "5" by kind of pulling away or even getting up and running around.
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:54 PM on June 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

I learned a similar game as a kid in New Hampshire, but the words we used were:
Down by the banks of the Hanky Panky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky
With a hip, hop, flip, flop,
Missed that bank and went KERPLOP!
If you got the hand slap on "kerplop" you were out, until there were only two people and they had to thumb wrestle.
posted by milk white peacock at 4:20 PM on June 26, 2016 [9 favorites]

Similar to my childhood one in Northern California

Bo-bo ski watten tatten,
Ah-ah-ah, boom boom boom
Itty bitty watten tatten
Bo bo ski watten tatten
Bo bo ski watten tatten

posted by ljesse at 4:25 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

In southern BC we learned

Stella Stella nova
Quack quack quack
Say yes chico chico
Chico chico chack
Say yes chico chico
Vello vello vello va
posted by synecdoche at 4:41 PM on June 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think down by the banks and quack diddly omar have 2 different songs. Same hand clapping in a circle, different tunes.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:43 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Are these two videos the song you guys mean? This is neat. We never played this one in Texas.
posted by MsMolly at 4:54 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Cambridge MA, late 80s/early 90s, same kind of circle of any number with one hand up, one hand down, the last person had to avoid getting slapped:

Crocadilly oh my croc croc croc
Say cico cico cico cico sock
Follow follow follow follow follow
FolLOW 1 2 3 4 5 6

I think there was some patter about how it had words from different languages?
posted by nonane at 4:56 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Haha, in my southern California elementary school we sang it

Crocodilly old man, croc croc croc
Said to my cheetah, chicky chicky choc
Fellow, fellow, fellow fellow fellow

Totally different thing from down by the banks of the hanky panky.
posted by town of cats at 5:02 PM on June 26, 2016

In Queens, NY, my 7yo says:

Crocadilly oso quack quack quack
Senorita your mama smells like pizza
So give it to your teacher

(Fallo etc then counting)
posted by gaspode at 5:50 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

In case you're interested in the many different versions of this rhyme, check out this page of variants from across Canada and the U.S. (scroll down).
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:13 PM on June 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

....wow, I'm surprised I have a variation of the chant that isn't on that page.

As taught to me by a bunch of third graders when I was a junior camp counselor:

"Oom, colony, colony, colonastiss,
Oom colony, co-la-nee,
Ack-a-damie, so-far-ee,
Ack-a-damie, buff-buff."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 PM on June 26, 2016

Seattle, 1990s:

Quack diddly-o-so, quack quack quack
Sing sam-a-rico, rico rico rico
Fa-lora fa-lora fa-lor fa-lor fa-lor
fa-LOR! 1,2,3, 4
posted by heyforfour at 9:09 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

NYC, mid-80s. Called it Quackadilly-oso:

Quackadilly-oso, quack, quack, quack (hey!)
Saña Rita, Rita-rita-rita,
Veloura, veloura
velour velour velour veLOUR! 1 2 3 4!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:13 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I also learned the same variation that EmpressCallipygos posted (New England, late 1980s) at my Girl Scout camp, except we played it slightly differently so that it only required two people. One person holds out their hand and the other person claps their hands on either side as they chant the words. On the final "buff" the still hand person has to pull their hand out so that the clapper claps their hands together, but the clapper wins if they manage to clap the still hand at that moment. The most successful techniques usually seemed to involve the clapper accelerating the pace of the song as fast as possible and doing tiny claps as fast as humanly possible....

wow, I haven't thought about that game in a LONG time.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:51 PM on June 26, 2016

Wow, this is fascinating. I don't remember anything like this from my childhood in the 1950s, nor do I remember my kids singing/chanting anything like this- youngest was born in 1975. I wonder where it came from originally.
posted by mareli at 7:25 AM on June 27, 2016

Version from MI in 1990s:

Aroe macaroni ti ter-ra,
Aroe macaroni ti ter-ra,
Terra terra ti ti ti,
Terra terra ti ti ti,
One, two, THREE!

Whoever had "ti ti ti" did three quick claps instead of one. If you got slapped on THREE you were out.
posted by henuani at 8:53 AM on June 27, 2016

Eastern Canada in the 90s:

Stella Ella ola
Clap clap clap
Say yes Chico Chico
Chico Chico chap

Say yes chico chico
Aloha, aloha, alo alo alo

Say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
posted by EarnestDeer at 7:43 PM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I learned it in the mid-1980s at Girl Scout camp as

Kwaka dilla omar, kwok kwok kwok
Decima trica, trica trica troc
Vello, vello, vello vello vello,
Vello-0! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

It's an example of a "handclap game" or "clapping game." They have a very long history and have been studied extensively by folklorists and anthropologists and are one of the more fascinating subgenres of children's folklore.

Bo-bo ski watten tatten,

That one's a variant of a different game chant - same genre but distinct from the crok/croc/kwok rhyme.
posted by Miko at 9:00 PM on June 27, 2016

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