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London Bridge Is Falling Down Game

Kid’s Party Games

More tough love character building in this game, even classic for its time, “London Bridge.” “The child who lets go, and breaks the line, is pointed at and derided.,” so in this version of London Bridge there isn’t so much a winner, as a loser that everyone makes sure to let know what a loser they are. Enjoy!

London Bridge

No game has been more popular with children than this, and any summer evening, in the poorer quarters of the cities, it may still be seen how six years instructs three years in the proper way of conducting it. Two players, by their uplifted hands, form and arch, representing the bridge, under which passes the train of children, each clinging to the garments of the predecessor and hurrying to get safely by. As the last verse is sung the raised Arms of the two directors of the game descent and enclose the child who happens to be passing at the time. The prisoner is then led, still confined by the arms of her captors, to the corner which represents the prison and asked, “Will you have a diamond necklace or a gold pin?” “A rose or a cabbage?” or some equivalent question. The keepers have already privately agreed which of the two each of these object shall represent, and, according to the prisoner’s choice, he is placed behind one or the other. When all are caught, the game ends with a “Tug of War,” the two sides pulling against each other; and the child who lets go, and breaks the line, is pointed at and derided. The words of the rhyme sung while the row passes under the bridge are now reduced to two lines:

London bridge is falling down,
My fair lady!

London bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London bridge is falling down
My fair lady!
You've stole my watch and kept my keys,
My fair lady!
Off to prison you must go,
My fair lady!
Take the key and lock her up,
My fair lady!"

Games for All Occasions by Mary E. Blain

Image © allloveyanzi @ Flickr, Attribution

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