Child: We’ll The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr: sketches and original artworkSean's Red Bike by Petronella Breinburg, illustrated by Errol LloydThe fight for women’s rights is unfinished business Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea. A sailor went to sea sea sea To see what he could see see see But all that he could see see see Was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea A sailor went to China, To see what he could China, But all that he could China… Child: It’s China. A sailor went to chop, chop, chop, (Chop arm with hand) To see what he could chop, chop, chop, But … This recording was made by Iona Opie in Birmingham in 1972.
After this opening line, it is common for children to sing ‘a sailor went to chop, chop, chop, chop’ and ‘knee, knee, knee, knee’ before ending with ‘sea, chop, knee’.
The children in this recording refer to ‘China’ and a video, found in this section, shows children from Sheffield singing ‘pick, pick, pick’ while pretending to pick their noses!Audio: Recorded by Peter and Iona Opie © British Library A sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what he could see, see, see But all that he could see, see, see Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea! But all that she could see see see was an octopusswimming, and a turtle swimming, and a jellyfish swimming, and a seahorse swimming in the sea sea sea. A sailor went to sea sea sea to see what she could see see see. All text is © British Library and is available under Child: [Inaudible 0:00:35] you’re spoiling it.
Teacher: Will you let them do it, please?
‘A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea’ is a clapping game found on virtually every playground across the country and belongs to what Roud refers to as the ‘core repetoire’ of clapping games. Clapping games are the big recent success story of the playground and have exploded in popularity since the 1960s. Clapping games have been a popular form of children's play for generations, Julia Bishop examines their continued popularity in 21st century.
A sailor went to sea sea sea To see what she could see see see But all that she could see see see Was a turtle swimming, and a jellyfish swimming, and a seahorse swimming in the sea sea sea However, children frequently offer their own substitutions, using the song to explore different lyrical combinations and rhymes.
The song began as ‘My Father Went to Sea’ before becoming more widely known as ‘A Sailor Went to Sea’. Child: Miss, they’re spoiling it. A sailor went to sea sea sea To see what he could sea sea sea And all that he could sea sea sea Was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea
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