Buying A Lock

Oh, here we all go to buy us a lock;
What kind of a lock shall it be?
We’ll buy a broom handle; if that will not do,
With a poker we’ll try it alone.
But if neither the broom nor the poker will do,
We’ll open it then with a stone.

This game is suitable for very little children. They stand in a long line or rank side by side, holding hands. While repeating the verse, one end of the line winds in under the raised arms of the last two players at the opposite end, but instead of passing entirely through, as in many other winding games, the player next to the last only turns far enough to face in three quarters of a circle, or so that the players will eventually, when all have so turned, be brought into single file, one standing behind the other. In this position the arms are dropped over the shoulder, so that the player’s own left arm crosses his chest with the clasped hands (his own left and his neighbor’s right) resting on his right shoulder. Each player should clasp his neighbor’s hands at the start, so that the palm of his own left hand faces forward and the palm of his own right hand faces backward.

When the whole line has been “locked” in this way, the players unwind in reverse order, still repeating the verse.

When players are familiar with the winding and unwinding process, the game may be played in circle formation instead of line formation; that is, it will start with all of the players facing inward as they clasp hands to form a circle, and the locking or winding will bring them facing in single file around the circle.

This is a favorite game with little girls in China, and is here given with the kind permission of Dr. Isaac T. Headland and Messrs. Fleming H. Revell & Co., from the book entitled “The Chinese Boy and Girl.”

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

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