Educational CyberPlayGround ®


National Children's Folksong Repository [NCFR] A Public Folklore Project built by the people of the United States and territories.

The Historic Electronic Online Archive
of Children's Folk songs.
A Public Folklore Project
built by the people of the United States and territories.

UF STUDY Playground game songs amd chants are vanishing.
Save America's Treasure Grants.


Songs and Chants are like the apples first brought to the US in the 1490's by Columbus, and just as diverse.

Songs first cultivated in different places around the world, spread through Europe and like apples were brought to America.

In this new millennium we offer the historic electronic online library. Show your pride, document your community, state, or school and share your contributions with others. There's a reason these songs and chants have been around for hundreds of years. They reflected our culture back to us, unfiltered, without corporate America watching.

What Technology Can Take Away -- Technology Can Save




We are what we remember, and memories are not stored in one place but seamlessly through out our brain. Learning the songs and chants uses sound, rhythm, visual images, smell, tactile body motion, and storytelling. This is how we can draw on past experience subconsciously using a very deep part of the brain.

Do you remember when decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?

The core relationship children have with the oral tradition and play is transformation. Children will take the space they play in, the games and songs they are playing with, and create something new with them. This act gives a feeling and sense of ownership. Old traditions are now transformed and given new life and now we have the new cyberplayground where we find THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S FOLKSONG REPOSITORY.

Technology plays a big role in its disappearance
but the very source of the problem will be used as the solution

We have an online digital archive, and our culture must be preserved. It is important that we give credit to our nation's children who are responsible for keeping culture alive and to reward them with a public project they can build themselves as the nation's archive. We all need to understand the importance of play and the importance music plays in their lives. Nothing else hardwires the brain getting it ready for language and reading like the songs and chants played daily in our playgrounds.

EMPOWER CHILDREN who are the unknown culture makers by RECORDING THEIR VOICES and sharing their cultural heritage. Empower the lay public by generating new excitement about their history created by a heightened awareness and interest in the larger community that is retained in the cultural landscape. The NCFR project is net centric, embedded in cyberspace by breaking the meat space boundaries of neighborhood. Learn about the importance of unstructured play forms like hand clapping, jumping rope songs, are theorized as arenas where peer-group social organization is accomplished.

YOU can create and capture our collective heritage put in the nation's online archive called the National Children's Folksong Repository.

Listen to examples already collected from children




Phone-o-folk song. Phone-o-phonic. Phone-o-funk.
It's a song or a chant that you phone in but it ain't phony.

show our

The playgrounds of the nation are now boundaryless.
We can share and compare the cultural connections and diversity of children's living playground poetry with the fabulous oral tradition of all of our ancestors.

Allan Lomax says [". . .Rhymes that have been rubbed clean and hard against the bone of life, whose stories are rooted in an eternity of time."][ ". . . Jingles, riddles, silly ballads, wistful lullabies, jiggy tunes and game songs"] belong to the children of America and reflect a composite character of the common people residing in the United States.

The mysterious quality that defines the folk song apart from other forms of music lies in the means by which the song is preserved over time and transmitted in space from author to audience. Folk songs have lasted on the playground in which culture is relatively homogeneous and customs are shared across class and ethnic lines. This is our shared folk culture. The folk song lives in memory alone, and like the proverbial river, into which one can never step twice, it is always in the process of becoming.
The early performers of these folk songs developed their repertoires before they were introduced to the: Printing press, player pianos, film, vinyl, radio, television, VCR, CD, DVD, Internet, WWW, MP3, and the convergence through 3G next generation of all ubiquitous media which has transformed all of us into passive consumers rather than culture makers. We have options. We have an obligation.
At the turn of the nineteenth century we have the era of industrialism, machines, science, and progress. The Post World War II inroads of the technology, electronic media and the merchandising of popular culture whose standardizing and modernizing influences tend to destroy or radically alter long preserved folkways allows this archive the opportunity to reteach generations to come what has been getting lost.

The Problem As Solution - Please Join Our EfforT


"Storytelling and music are some of thest ways to document the true integration and movement of people, because the music can't lie."

This is the public folklore project that the nation's children build.

A Net Centric Project Offers The Opportunity. Only now can we collect our heritage and give the future generations a living history where these songs that portray the old dramas, conflicts, and celebrations of the American character can be shared in real time from anywhere in the world.

Everyone will act like an ethnomusicologist, collecting the authentic indigenous playground poetry from our children. Some of these songs have been passed down child to child over the centuries and have remained in tact for 500 years.

Play Parties

A play party is a social event that began in the 1830s, a main form of entertainment in rural America during the 18th century in the United States as a route around strict religious practices banning dancing and the playing of musical instruments. Pennsylvania Dutch had something called a Snitzing Party and you can hear George Britton sing some of the songs.
Folk songs, many of European and English origin, were used as means to give the attendants choreographed movements for each phrase. No instruments were played at the events, as they were banned by the religious movements of the area. Play-parties came about as a result of the prevalent religious bias against dancing and fiddle music. The American frontier communities were isolated and had to create their own entertainment. Singing and clapping were used to convey each song. Because dancing was banned, the movements took on the quality of children's games. House-raisings and other events were often enlivened by breaks where people would participate in play-parties. Other times, special evening get-togethers would be planned for the specific purpose of engaging in play-parties. Often, light refreshments were served. Though the performance of play parties dwindled in the 1950s, music educators use them as ways to incorporate music and dance in their classrooms.
Basically, a play-party is a folksong which is sung a cappella; no instrumental accompaniment is allowed or needed. Participants clap to the beat and perform movements which reflect various aspects of the text. Certain movements are often reminiscent of the forbidden square dance movements which were considered by many of the early settlers to be wicked and dangerous. However, playparties were considered harmless fun for all ages. The elements of the square dance, such as “peeling the orange”, were tolerated, maybe because the adults knew so little about the specifics of the square dance that these movements were not even recognized as an opportunity for boys and girls to flirt with each other.
Usually, there are also elements of the singing games found in the play-parties, where certain ideas inherent in the text of the songs are acted out or pantomimed. Some traditional examples of play-parties are: Skip to My Lou, Coffee Grows on White Oak Trees, Shoot the Buffalo, Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight, B.I.N.G.O., Pop Goes the Weasel, Old Dan Tucker. One of the fascinating things about play-parties is to see how the movements and formations adapted for the particular songs reflect the text. For example, in the play-party, Jolly Miller, two double circles represent two mill wheels turning to grind the corn. The miller walks around his mill wheels surveying his bounty, as the people in the two circles each walk in contrasting directions (one circle moving clock-wise, the other moving in a counter-clockwise direction). In the African American play-party, Circle 'Round the Zero, the participants make a single circle, which represents the zero. The person who is “it” walks around the zero, circling it, just as the text says. In Needles Eye, the singers form a single circle which represents a single thread. Two people hold hands and form and arch. Thosei n the circle, holding hands, pass under the arch, representing a thread going through the eye of a needle.Sometimes, the motions of a play-party allowed people to get all tangled up together with their arms around each other. An example of this is Draw A Bucket of Water, where the participants are placed in a square formation in groups of four. Each partner clasps hands and the square space thus resulting from the two sets of clasped hands is the “well” referred to in the song. The singers mimic drawing a bucket of water from the well, and, as the song progresses, they end up with their arms all around each other in a tight huddle. Thus, they are representing the part of the text that says, “four in a sugar bowl.” In play-parties like this one, the young people had a chance to get close to each other in a way that was accepted by their parents; after all, this was simply a “play-party” and not one of those formal, forbidden dances.

"Sounds Like Fun"

The collection will be maintained online, everyone will see the "Title" of their submission, the age and name of the person submitting it, the state and town from where it was collected. Children everywhere can participate from anywhere there is a computer. Everyone can share and compare! The Museum, Parents, Schools, the neighborhood Library, Folk & Traditional Arts Programs, Boys or Girls Clubs, the local YMCA, After School Programs, Summer School Programs, Community Technology Centers, Learning Technology Centers, Community Arts Centers, Folklife Centers, Cultural Museums. All of these public institutions can decide to promote and help the children their participate.


What are the benefits for teachers and students?Indigenous PlayGround Poetry - the root story of our children's imaginations.

The topics discussed by poets, novelists, newspapers, historians, playwrights are in folk songs, chants, and play parties. They include stories about betrayed innocence, murder, dangerous adventures, war, farming, crime, punishment, violence, death, labor, individualism, outlaws, marriage, love, humor, trickery, economic exploitation, righteous outrage, poverty, hatred, and revenge. But as you know when children move they take their material with them -- so it is a living poetry that speaks to the truth of children's lives, and prepares them for how the world works.

As in all literature, our indigenous playground poetry - our folk songs contain the same familiar human drama that characters explore in every narrative, in all cultures world wide. The same simple pleasures and conflicts of our ancestors are ever present within the human mind, and human community of today.

Children develop the use of technology as a tool for learning and for use in all sorts of career related ways in the real world, by teaching "skills" with a learner-centered constructivist approach.

Skills are important, and you ARE helping your students develop them if you are providing learner-centered / constructivist events, and hands-on (experiential), facilitated discovery. Anyway you approach it, the learner almost always develops both a knowledge base of skills and/or concepts along with the ability to make critical and/or creative decisions about the uses of those skills/concepts when the learning is student-centered and constructivist based.

Teachers can facilitate learning environments and learning events that lead to the eventual use of higher order thinking and the very very important assimilation and ability to transfer those skills out of the initial learning environment, but knowledge must precede application which precedes all important higher level thinking skills.
Every culture has its own indigenous music. I am sure you have heard people say that music is the universal language. All cultures are hard-wired for the language of music. And children's indigenous music that we call folk song is a culturally diverse national treasure, and was first collected by grammy winner Allan Lomax and archived in the Library of Congress.


Listen and find the music of the text (speech)
Through the music find the rhythm
Through the rhythm you will understand
the meaning of the words . . .

Story 2009 - How kids learn language.
Patterns of crying that mirror their parents language. Crying is a language itself. They produce this pattern when they cry. It is pre - linguistic. Babies' cries imitate their mother tongue as early as three days old seeding language development and bonding. It was already known that fetuses could memorise sounds from the outside world in the last three months of pregnancy and were particularly sensitive to the contour of the melody in both music and human voices. Earlier studies had shown that infants could match vowel sounds presented to them by adult speakers, but only from 12 weeks of age. Kathleen Wermke from the University of Wurzburg says: "I think we should be more aware that crying is a language itself and the baby is really trying to communicate with us by its first sounds already. The dramatic finding of this study is that not only are human neonates capable of producing different cry melodies, but they prefer to produce those melody patterns that are typical for the ambient language they have heard during their fetal life."

Newborns' Cry Melody Is Shaped by Their Native Language Summary:
Human fetuses are able to memorize auditory stimuli from the external world by the last trimester of pregnancy, with a particular sensitivity to melody contour in both music and language. Newborns prefer their mother's voice over other voices and perceive the emotional content of messages conveyed via intonation contours in maternal speech (“motherese”). Their perceptual preference for the surrounding language and their ability to distinguish between prosodically different languages and pitch changes are based on prosodic information, primarily melody. Adult-like processing of pitch intervals allows newborns to appreciate musical melodies and emotional and linguistic prosody. Although prenatal exposure to native-language prosody influences newborns' perception, the surrounding language affects sound production apparently much later. Here, we analyzed the crying patterns of 30 French and 30 German newborns with respect to their melody and intensity contours. The French group preferentially produced cries with a rising melody contour, whereas the German group preferentially produced falling contours. The data show an influence of the surrounding speech prosody on newborns' cry melody, possibly via vocal learning based on biological predispositions.

Newborns are likely highly motivated to imitate their mothers in order to enhance bonding. French cries tended to have a rising melody, while the German cries tended to have a falling melody. Kathleen Wermke of the Center for Prespeech Development and Developmental Disorders at the University of Wurzburg in Germany says that in French, intonation is characterized by a pitch rise at the end of words or phrases, while the German language has a falling pattern. Previous studies have already shown that newborns appear to show a preference for melodies that they heard prenatally.
Toben Mintz, associate professor of psychology and linguistics at the U. of Southern California says scientists already knew that newborns can distinguish different languages, probably based on rhythmic patterns. "But what is really novel about this study is showing that they can actually produce these patterns in their cries. Crying is not linguistic, yet they seem to be echoing the acoustic patterns that they've heard either in utero or every early on, very early exposure, right after birth."

A baby's perception of the rhythmic pattern is a key mechanism that launches the process of human language acquisition. Babbling results from the baby's sensitivity to specific patterns at the heart of language, like the sing-song patterns that bind syllables, the tiny units of language, into words and sentences. Rhythmic patterns underlie the human language. The sing song way in which parents speak to their baby, the lullaby, finger play, and rhyming games common to nursery rhymes at home and in school, are more important for a child's developing brain than we ever imagined, and they provide an important tool for the young child to discover the grammar and structure of her native language.

Review the Research
The parts of the brain that control hand movement and speech sounds are very close together.

A baby's perception of the rhythmic pattern is a key mechanism that launches the process of human language acquisition. Babbling results from the baby's sensitivity to specific patterns at the heart of language, like the sing-song patterns that bind syllables, the tiny units of language, into words and sentences. Rhythmic patterns underlie the human language. The sing song way in which parents speak to their baby, the lullaby, finger play, and rhyming games common to nursery rhymes at home and in school, are more important for a child's developing brain than we ever imagined, and they provide an important tool for the young child to discover the grammar and structure of her native language.

The Human Hand is the Beginning of Language

Gestures are country independent. Language evolves and changes with children, and gesture is an integral part of language. All aboriginal people knew the hand as the beginning of language because hands represents the function of differentiating self from other, inside from outside.

Communication evolved hand-in-hand with social bonding. Hand Gestures link the inner world of the mind and consciousness with the outer world of experience and physicality. Our hands, project our conscious will (inside our mind-space), onto the physical world (outside) projecting us from one state into another. We use our hands to implement our conscious choices in the world and we are still using our hands and gestures in children's hand clapping games from antiquity until this very day.


Hear VOICES OF Children Singing along with nearby birds.

[ The Origin of Interspecies Language ] Many animals, Musician Bernie Krause argues,have evolved to squeeze their vocalizations into available niches of the soundscape in order to be heard by others of their kind. Evolution isn't just about the competition for space or food but also for bandwidth. If a species cannot find a sonic niche of its own, it will not survive.


Help Children connect with their own kind and promote listening to their own voices singing on the playgrounds.

Children's speech starts with music. Speech is the beginning of formal language.

Do you remember any of these Hand Games?