I use Cobbler, Cobbler with my students every year. The younger ones use it as a beat motion activity where they “hammer” their shoes with rhythm sticks. The older ones use their shoes to compose their own rhythms! No matter how we use it, the kids are always eager to start because they know they get to take off their shoes.
Suggested Grade Levels: Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade
The origin of Cobbler, Cobbler is murky. Holy Names University asserts that the song comes from the Caribbean while the Florida Center for Instructional Technology states that it comes from the United States. Mother Goose claims it as one of its own nursery rhymes. In one version of the rhyme, the text says “Stitch it up and stitch it down, And I’ll give you half a crown.” A crown is a form of European currency. Due to all of this conflicting information, it is difficult to determine the true origins of this song. If I find anymore conclusive information on the origins of this piece, I will update it here.
Option 1: This is the “Hunt the Slipper” version. Children will sit in a circle with one child (closing their eyes) in the middle. They will sing/chant the rhyme while pass a shoe or an object that represents a shoe to the steady beat. Once the rhyme ends, the child holding the shoe will hide it. The child in the middle must figure out who has the shoe.
Option 2: This is more of a rhythmic activity than a game and is what I do with my students. I put painters tape (representing beats) on the ground and students must compose their own quarter and eighth note rhythms with their shoes. One student will jump or point to the shoe rhythm while the others read it. You can see pictures of my students in action below!
–Steady beat activities
–Good for demonstrating the difference between beat and rhythm
–Good for expanding vocabulary (cobbler, mend, half past two)
–Composition using quarter and eighth notes
—Cobbler, mend my shoe. (n.d.). Lit 2 Go. https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/74/nursery-rhymes-and-traditional-poems/5063/cobbler-mend-my-shoe/
–Durlacher, E. (1993). The play party book. The Devin-Adair Company.
–Holy Names University. (n.d.). Hunt the slipper. Kodály Center: The American Folk Song Collection. https://kodaly.hnu.edu/song.cfm?id=677
—Mother Goose. (n.d.). Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/mother-goose
–Music with Lindsay. (2016, September 1). Cobbler, cobbler [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WJHg2CiFEE
–Opie, I., & Opie, P. (Ed.). (1951). The Oxford dictionary of nursery rhymes. Oxford University Press.
–Sharma, S. (2017, Auguest 8). Cobbler, cobbler. Bedtime Short Stories. https://www.bedtimeshortstories.com/cobbler-cobbler