Resources on poetry by the poets themselves

Language Play

Riddles and tongue twisters

Here are some riddles to share with the class, all by Anon:

THERE WAS A GIRL

There was a girl in our town, Silk an’ satin was her gown. Silk an’ satin, gold an’ velvet, Guess her name, three times I’ve tell’d it.

(Ann)

I HAVE A LITTLE SISTER

I have a little sister, they call her peep, peep;
She wades the waters deep, deep, deep;
She climbs the mountains high, high, high;
Poor little creature, she has but one eye.

(A star)

WHO AM I?

The moon nine days old,
The next sign to cancer;
Pat rat without a tail;-
And now, sir, for your answer?

(Cleopatra! This riddle is an excellent reason for getting a moon calendar for the classroom!)

LEGS

Two legs sat upon three legs,
With one leg in his lap;
In comes four legs,
And runs away with one leg.
Up jumps two legs,
Catches up three legs,
Throws it after four legs,
And makes him bring back one leg.

(One leg is a leg of mutton; two legs is a man; three legs is a stool; four legs is a dog.)

AS I WAS GOING TO ST IVES

As I was going to St Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were going to St Ives?

ACTIVITY

Split the class into groups of four and see which group can be the first to solve each one of the riddles!

Here are some tongue twisters by Anon to share with the class:

BETTY BOTTER

Betty Botter bought some butter,
But, she said, this butter’s bitter;
If I put it in my batter,
It will make my batter bitter,
But a bit of better butter
Will make my batter better.
So she bought a bit of butter
Better than her bitter butter
And she put it in her batter,
And it made her batter better,
So ‘twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

PETER PIPER

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper;
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled pepper?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper,
Where’s the peck of pickled pepper
Peter Piper picked?

A TREE TOAD LOVED A SHE-TOAD

A tree toad loved a she-toad
That lived up in a tree.
She was a three-toed tree toad
But a two-toed toad was he.
The two-toed toad tried to win
The she-toad’s friendly nod,
For the two-toed toad loved the ground
On which the three-toed toad trod.
But no matter how the two-toed tree toad tried,
He could not please her whim.
In her tree-toad bower,
With her three-toed power
The she-toad vetoed him.

MY GRANDMOTHER SENT ME

My grandmother sent me a new-fashioned, three cornered, cambric, country cut handkerchief. Not an old-fashioned, three cornered, cambric, country cut handkerchief, but a new-fashioned, three cornered, cambric, country cut handkerchief.

SWAN SWAM

Swan swam over the sea-
Swim, swan, swim;
Swan swam back again,
Well swam, swan.

ACTIVITY

Have fun reciting these loudly as a class and trying to learn them!