Game Instructions

The children make a line holding hands, the last one puts his hand against a tree or against a wall to form an arch. While singing, the line passes under the arch. The last one in line will be crossed around at this point because the line will continue to snake around. They'll then go under an arch formed by the arms of the second to last kid who is making an arch with the last kid. They continue this pattern until everyone's arms are crossed and the first and last kids' hands can join.

They then break off and make a circle and sing the second verse while shaking their head "no". During the third verse they crouch and straighten several times. During the last verse they bend their heads forward as low as possible.


George Clarke wrote, "This song I remember from living in a very isolated English village called Avening during 1939 to 1945. I was six in 1939. It meant nothing to me at the time but I can clearly remember the young girls singing this whilst dancing in a ring with hands linked.

I remember that the words were 'The White ship sailed on the olly-olly-oh on the last day of September'. Recently I read that this rhyme refers to the sinking of The White Ship sailing from France to England bearing the only heir to a medieval English King."

Here's a variation of this song…
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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - The Big Ship Sails on The Ally-ally-oh

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