There are countless hand clapping games, using different clapping patterns, chants, songs and rules. Some are competitive but many are cooperative, storytelling games. Children's clapping games help the kids develop coordination and self-confidence and build friendships. The games also give kids a way to entertain themselves and each other as performers.
Hodge Podge is a simple but challenging clapping game that helps older children develop language skills and the ability to think quickly on their feet. The children stand in a circle and begin a simple clapping pattern. Each child first slaps his thighs with both hands, claps them together and repeats. All the players count off four leg slaps saying "1, 2, 3, 4" and then the first player says a word. The player to his right then has to say another word that fits into a sentence with the first on the next downbeat and so on. When a player wants to end a sentence, he says "period" and then the next player has to begin a new sentence. If a player misses saying a word on the downbeat, he is out.
If a player says a word that the next player thinks will not fit into the sentence, that player can challenge him to come up with a grammatical sentence. If he can, he stays in and the challenger is out, but if he can't he is out. For example: If the sentence was "John is a man who is one of the best singers out there in" and the next player can't come up with a word, he can challenge the player who said "in." That player would come up with a way to finish that sentence such as "John is a man who is one of the best singers out there in my opinion" and kick out the challenger. When someone is out, he steps out of the circle and play starts over with a new sentence, beginning with the next person in the circle. The game continues until only one player is left.
Miss Lucy, or Miss Suzie, is a children's clapping game with dozens or even hundreds of variations. Two children chant a humorous and often slightly dirty story about a character named Miss Lucy or Miss Suzie while repeating a simple clapping pattern. Each child first claps her right hand against the right hand of the child across from her, then claps her hands together, then claps her left hand against the other player's left and finally claps her hands together again. One popular version of the chant goes like this:
Miss Lucy had a steamboat The steamboat had a bell (Ding! Ding!) Miss Lucy went to heaven and the steamboat went to hello operator, please give me number nine and if you disconnect me I will kick you right behind the 'frigerator there was a piece of glass Miss Lucy fell upon it and broke her little ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies Miss Lucy told me all of this the day before she dyed her hair all purple, she dyed her hair all pink she dyed her hair all polka dot and washed it down the sink me in the ocean sink me in the sea sink me in the toilet but please don't pee on me.
The Clapping Game
Children love hand clapping games and will pass them back and forth endlessly with new variations. If you are a teacher or a parent, you can use these games to your advantage to get kids to drop what they are doing and pay attention. The game is basically follow the leader with a clapping pattern. The teacher claps a simple pattern and all the children repeat it. The teacher then claps a more complex pattern and the children copy it again. After a few repetitions, the teacher stops and the children listen up and pay attention.
This can be easily turned into a competitive children's clapping game by adding a point system. Add the rule that when you only clap once, the children are not supposed to clap. If any of the students clap, the teacher gets a point for that round. If none of them clap, the students get a point. Kids love the chance to compete against a student or parent, making this an exciting activity for younger kids.