These two games have been enjoyed by little children in my family for at least three generations. They worked for me when I was little, they’ve been favorites of my four-year-old son since he was about nine months old, and I look forward to trying them on his younger cousins this Thanksgiving!
These are the type of game that you play by bouncing a child who is sitting on your knees. That means that the child needs to be old enough to sit up but lightweight enough not to hurt your knees. It also means that you can play these games anywhere you can sit, with no additional equipment. They’re great for sitting around at holiday parties, waiting in the airport or bus stop or doctor’s office, etc.
Ride a horsey, ride a horsey,
Going to the mill.
Be careful, little boy.
Your corn is gonna SPILL!
Chant this while bouncing the child rhythmically. On SPILL!, drop your knees apart so the child falls down. (Especially with little babies, make sure to hold them firmly under the arms so they don’t land badly!) Of course, if the child is a little girl, you will say little girl instead of little boy.
This is the way the lady rides,
Lump-a-ta lump-a-ta lump.
Speak softly and slowly, and bounce very gently.
This is the way the gentleman rides,
Bump-a-ta bump-a-ta bump.
Speak in a normal voice, and bounce by lifting your heels as high as you can while keeping your toes on the floor.
This is the way the cowboy rides!
Whump-a-ta whump-a-ta whump!!
Say it very excitedly, and bounce roughly with your feet coming all the way off the floor.
These games are guaranteed to make you popular with the toddlers! Possibly too popular. If your holiday gathering includes very persistent or numerous toddlers, you might want to plan to have somewhere you really need to go about one hour after introducing these games.
Other holiday tips from The Earthling’s Handbook:
Instead of spending more than you can afford to buy new, see if you can find that expensive gift using The Five-Part Furniture-Finding Plan.
another simple game to play with young kids–this one’s for the playground!
A silly story to tell the little ones.
Older kids might enjoy The TV Game.
Kill time while traveling–or during dull family gatherings!–with these word games.
How we made our own Christmas tree.
Great games and books for kids!
Make getting there half the fun by traveling by train.
Use your real dishes!
Use real hand towels, too, even for a big crowd!
Consider giving (or requesting) a gift of handkerchiefs.
Are you too stressed out? Take this quiz and some deep breaths!
Don’t let leftover veggies or fruits go to waste!
Pumpkin Cornbread and Potato-Turnip Thing are tasty recipes for the harvest season…and don’t miss this tip for cheap and easy organic chocolate!