Game name (and type): 'Little Elephants' (action rhyme/song)
Alternative types: circle games, singing games

Handwritten description of the singing game 'Little Elephants' written for Dr Dorothy Howard by Ann Wescombe, a student at Coromandel Valley State School, in 1954-1955. To play, Wescombe writes that players form two circles, each with a leader. The leaders walk around their circles singing: 'One little Elephant went walking, From tip to toe on a piece of string, And called for another little Elephant'. At the rhyme's end, another child joins the leader. The second child takes the hand of the leader, held out behind their back, and bends down. The game continues until all the players have joined the line of elephants. Wescombe claims that 'Little Elephants' is particularly popular with young girls, listing some of the other players as Janice Williams, Dawn Watcham [sic], and Meredith Ward.

One of a collection of letters describing a children's games written to children's Folklorist Dorothy Howard between 1954 and 1955. Dr Howard came to Australia in 1954-55 as an American Fulbright scholar to study Australian children's folklore. She travelled across Australia for 10 months collecting children's playground rhymes, games, play artefacts, etc. This letter, together with the other original fieldwork collected by Dr Howard during this period, is preserved in the Dorothy Howard Collection manuscript files, part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC), Archive Series 3. The ACFC is an extensive collection documenting children's folklore and related research.

Physical Description

Handwritten game description in blue ink on lined paper. Text written on one side only.

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