Educational CyberPlayGround ®



NCFR Collect the Oral Culture of
Children's Playground Chants and Folk Songs.
All Ages are invited to participate.



Children are our unknown culture makers. Everyone can record and save their songs. Submit your song to the database. Contributions make netizens of all who participate. You are preserving your own oral culture for the world, and make it available for others to download from the net.

  • "Kids don't go around singing nursery rhymes," he said. They are into popular music. First- and second-graders, they listen to the radio."
  • A recent nationwide survey found school music programs are allowing generations-old lullabies, and historical children's and folk songs to be ignored.


Jump Rope songs, chants, rhymes, clap pattern chants, camp songs, folksongs, heritage Folksong ballads, lullabies, game songs, Jingles, jiggy tunes, Play-Party, Call and Response songs all Indigenous playground Poetry.

Collect folklore from your school playground.
Write it down just as the Opies did 40 years ago and
create a peaceful playground.

Collect poetry from your school playground. Write it down just as the Opies did 40 years ago and create a peaceful playground.


Filmed over a 12-month period, this study of children's games played in London streets and playgrounds stands out for its freshness and spontaneity; it remains an important companion piece to Peter and Iona Opie's classic studies of children's games and rhymes.
Director Leslie Daiken demonstrates considerable skill and understanding in the way he captures the children, whose games range from the repetitive tongue-twisters chanted by the girls to a small boy trailing a stick along iron railings.
Made over a decade after the end of the war, the film also stands as a record of the bomb sites that pockmarked London and provided many urban children with a place to play. (Robin Baker)




Tony Seeger (Weavers) at the Smithsonian Institution discusses Folk music
( Pete, Peggy Mike Seeger, The Weavers and Woody Guthrie)

More Videos

Traditional games can help children to work together

Traditional playground games can help to reduce bullying, according to researchers.


Research Confirms That Motor And Cognitive Skills Are Improved By Hand-Clapping Songs

  • Make Your Own Rubric Tool for Classroom Use

  • Curriculum Components - Standards by State and Subject Area
  • The Oral Tradition
  • Play For Healthy Development: Hand clapping, jumping rope, hopscotch, songs, ritual insults, "gossip dramas," pretend play, joking, and storytelling -- and the way these play forms work as arenas where peer-group social organization is accomplished. These are resources for social interaction rather than just items of traditional culture and offer many valuable insights as tokens of these familiar genres emerge in the crucible of social interaction. Moreover, our genres have consequence since they are seen to play a vital role in the development of moral judgment, the negotiation of social status, the marking of social boundaries, and the pursuit of social justice.
  • "Culture May Be Encoded in DNA" “We can think about both birdsong and human culture — especially language but including other aspects of human culture, like music, cuisine, dance styles, rituals, technological achievements, clothing styles, pottery decoration and a host of others — in similar terms,” he said. These culturally-transmitted systems must all pass through the filter of biology.

What do you remember?

Everyone is invited to participate.

The songs you know are important. Using the internet and technology allows them to record their personal knowledge. This is their contribution. And we all know what's personal is political, so we all help to raise future citizens who will care about the net.

Our anonymous culture makers, our children, experience friendship in the music games of the playground, learning how we are all alike, in some ways. Children who learn through play also develop social and emotional skills, which are critical for long-term success.

Children clap, snap, stamp, and move in dozens of syncopated patterns to dozens of chants, circle games, and songs. Interestingly enough, these tactile pathways seem to help people learn best, especially if they are learning differently. Children love repetition and love to hear, say, and play the same songs over and over, they enjoy finding predictable patterns. Children who are prematurely pushed into regimented academic instruction display less creativity and enthusiasm for learning than their peers, we need to allow children to create their own space.

The National Children's Folk song Repository will promote cultural understanding between children, a bridge that is built between cultures. In all of human history music has been used to record our stories. PRESS RELEASE

[". . .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.

Dr. George Gerbner says:
[". . . The cultural process of storytelling, he warns once the domain of family, school, church and other community institution is being taken over increasingly by global corporate interests who have something to sell.]
[ . . " By 2000, after more than three decades of study, Gerbner told National Public Radio that he had ceased to view television as a medium.
"I call it a cultural environment into which our children are born, and which tells all the stories," he said. "You know, who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behavior. It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it's a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell."
He said average homes had a television set turned on at least seven hours a day, and that youngsters were learning to read by watching television commercials, developing a consumer mentality."]

The National Children's Folk song Repository was founded in 1997 with the goal of utilizing computer technology and the internet to make available vast quantities of previously uncollected music. In pursuit of this vision, primary source material has been assembled into a database with strict attention to detail allowing access to information. The material reflects the times, and documents our culture. Records are now available in a user-friendly ON-LINE environment.


Domino copyright 1979

Domino copyright 1979

Domino copyright 1979

Domino copyright 1979

Domino by Karen Ellis copyright 1979 All rights reserved worldwide -do not copy.


Children are empowered when they record their culture using technology to save their autochthonous (indigenous) playground poetry before it becomes extinct. All children including those who come to school speaking other than standard english can immediately participate by recording and submitting their autochthonous playground poetry into the National Children's Folk song Repository.


Children in the United States aren't singing the songs of their heritage, an omission that puts the nation in jeopardy of losing a longstanding and rich part of its identity.
Dr. Ward's Home page
What led to this study
Quick Overview
Importance of Study
Song Lists
State Rankings

A recent nationwide survey found school music programs are allowing generations-old lullabies, and historical children's and folk songs to be ignored. Marilyn Ward, did the research for her doctoral dissertation in music this spring. “The study found that, overall, the vast majority of young people could not sing patriotic, folk and children's songs, because teachers who teach them at all frequently don't go over the songs enough for students to learn them,” she said. “Most students could not be expected to sing from memory songs such as 'Home on the Range,' 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' or “Bingo.'” Ward surveyed 4,000 music teachers nationwide from elementary to high school in the summer and early fall of 2002 about how much they taught and how well their students knew by memory 100 well-known songs considered representative of the American heritage. Few students can even sing the national anthem, the study found.
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which general music teachers teach songs of the American children's folk heritage. It appears that teachers are failing to do this, less because of any deliberate intent than for very complex reasons, such as different priorities that go beyond art and music, lack of curricular direction, not having these songs in their textbooks, and not knowing these songs themselves. The bottom line is that not enough teachers or students know the songs of their own American heritage. The methodology of the study involved three phases. The first phase consisted of selecting the song list that would be foundational to the study. Music textbooks and song books from the 1700s to 1950 were used to create the initial song list. People over the age of 62 who had grown up in America were asked to transform that list into one that truly represented songs of the American children's folk heritage. They selected only the songs they had learned as children in America. The second phase involved condensing the initial list. Elementary music specialists rated the songs, creating a more manageable representative list of songs of the American children's folk heritage. The third phase consisted of a national song assessment, which was used to achieve the purpose of this study. General music teachers in each of the fifty states assessed the extent to which their students could sing particular songs of the American children's folk heritage from memory.

Funding for The National Children's Folksong Repository offers children the opportunity to learn how similar people really are to one another and not to be afraid of the unknown. This is a resource that broadens their horizons without leaving home. A person who is unafraid will grow up feeling competent. A competent adult in the work force will accomplish more that one who is afraid.


"[...the scattered fragments of Grecian History were preserved during thirteen centuries by oral tradition." Bards did the same service for Roman history till the second century before Christ. "The Dschungariade of the Calmucks," the learned Heeren writes, "is said to surpass the poems of Homer in length, as much as it stands beneath them in merit; and yet it exists only in the memory of a people which is not unacquainted with writing. But the songs of a nation are probably the last things which are committed to writing, for the very reason that they are remembered."

The National Anthem Project, undertaken by a group of the nation's music teachers, says most Americans have largely forgotten the words to the national anthem and the story behind the song. A Harris poll of 2,200 men and women conducted for the group found that 61 percent did not know all the words. For example, when asked what follows "whose broad stripes and bright stars," more people than not tended to mistakenly place phrases like "were so gallantly streaming" (34 percent) or "gave proof through the night" (19 percent).

Allan Lomax Says:

When are we going to realize that the world's richest resource is mankind itself, and that of all his creations, his culture is the most valuable? And by this I do not mean culture with a capital "C"- that body of art which the critics have selected out of the literate traditions of Western Europe -but rather the total accumulation of man's fantasy and wisdom, taking form as it does in images, tunes, rhythms, figures of speech, recipes, dances, religious beliefs and ways of making love that still persist in full vitality in the folk and primitive places of our planet. Every smallest branch of the human family at one time or another has carved its dreams out of the rock on which it has lived- true and sometimes pain- filled dreams, but still wholly appropriate to their particular bit of earth. Each of these ways of expressing emotion has been the handiwork of generations of unknown poets, musicians and human hearts. Now, we of the jets, the wireless and the atom blast are on the verge of sweeping completely off the globe what unspoiled folklore is left, at least wherever it cannot quickly conform to the success­motivated standards of our urban- conditioned consumer economy. What was once an ancient tropical garden of immense color and variety is in danger of being replaced by a comfortable but sterile and sleep- inducing system of cultural super-highways- with just one type of diet and one available kind of music.

OO Offensive Songs and the Teaching Opportunity
This is your wonderful teaching opportunity to teach history through song, for teaching exactly why a song is offensive and leaning about the history and culture of hate.

What's So Serious about the Work of PLAY?

Discuss daily life, including traditions in art, music, and literature, of early national America through State Songs and Folk Music.

  • See Alan Jabbour - where does folk music come from.
  • Dr. Alan Jabbour Appalachian Fiddle Workshop - Irish Connection.
  • Roger Abrahams Roots of Rap Signifying, Toasts, Griots, The Sporting Life, Oral Tradition, Hip Hop, The Dozens, Vaudevillian bawdy songs, dialect humour, minstrel patter - Scottish connection.
  • Dan Cassidy origin of Yippie Yi Yo Git along Little Doogie Where does the word Jazz come from?- Irish Connection.
  • Authentic Gospel Music Travels: Professor Ruff
  • WOODY GUTHRIE "This Land is Your Land"

The Chant - A Universal Truth - is the Heart Beat of Culture.