This volume, based on thirty years of collecting and research by two pioneers in the field of children's lore and language, presents hundreds of singing and clapping games popular with children since the Middle Ages, including such favorites as "Pop Goes the Weasel," "Lazy Mary Will You Get Up?," "Skip to My Lou," "The Muffin Man," and "Ring a Ring o' Roses." Serving as an exposition of both the workings of folklore and the perennial ways of young children left to play on their own, The Singing Game categorizes over 150 of these games into groups such as "Matchmaking," "Wedding Rings," "Cushion Dances," "Witch Dances," "Calls of Friendship," "Eccentric Circles," "Buffoonery," and "Clapping." The Opies provide a detailed, historical description of each game, as well as a vivid, firsthand account from one of its most recent practitioners on the playgrounds and backstreets throughout England. Demonstrating how the games have evolved over the years, and how they vary from country to country, this book offers a comprehensive, authoritative history of a universal folk genre. Beautifully illustrated throughout, it contains photographs, lithographs, and prints; the words to each game as well as the music for many of them; footnotes; a bibliography; a general index; and an index of songs, games, and dances.