This is a game using the traditional folk song “Down on the Banks”, however it an be done with any short folk song with a strong beat.

You have the kids get into a circle and they put their left hand out to their left side (face-up, like someone might give them five).  Then they take their right hand and place it on top of their neighbor’s left hand (face up again).  The teacher designates a starting position and when the song begins the starting person takes their right hand and slaps (gently!) to the person whose right hand is on their left hand.  This continues around the circle in time with the music until the song ends.  The person who got slapped last is “out” and steps out of the circle.  

The circle comes together and the song runs again.  The crowd that starts to form outside of the circle is so raptured by what is happening inside the circle that it is fun to watch and continue.  The circle gets smaller and smaller until there are only two remaining.  The two take their right hands and clasp them as if to play a thumb war (except you leave thumbs down).  When they song begins the two make a motion with their hands  (back and forth, as if they were working a saw).  When the song ends the winner is pronounced – whoever has their arm straight (and not bent in) is the winner.

Submitted by Rachel Barnard