Can Anyone Help with a Canadian Song “Yoki and the Kaiser” – Possibly with Korean Origins

Patricia wrote:

Wondering if you have heard the words to a 50’s skipping game we played using elastics?

I believe it was originally a Korean children’s game and the children of missionaries brought it back to Canada in 1939. Original words:

Rioyun, Kaiyo, Yaku navide etc.

This song was taught to commemorate the victory of Russian-Japanese war of 1905 and written by a Japanese poet (After this war, Japan occupied Korea).

The words we sang as children here in Ontario were:

Yoki and the Kaiser, Yoki addy ay, Tamba, so-ba, Sa-du, say-day. Yoki in the Kaiser, Yoki allee-ay, Kick him in the so-po, Sa-du, sa-day!

We had no idea what we were singing!

Ontario Canada

It just so happens that Bill Conrad had asked me about this song last year. Here’s what he wrote:

In Montreal, in the 50’s, girls used to celebrate Spring with skipping ropes and elastics. While playing the elastic game they sung a “ditty” that went somewhat like this,”Yolem a Kaiser,Yokem addiay….” Do you know what I am referring to? Bill Conrod

I’m not familiar with this song. If anyone else can help out with the lyrics, meaning or origins of this song (or of the original song it comes from) please comment below.



PS I have one question for Patricia and Bill: Does skipping ropes with elastics mean playing Chinese jump rope?

This article was posted on Friday, May 4th, 2007 at 10:57 am and is filed under American Kids Songs, Canada, Canadian Children's Songs, Children's Songs, Chinese Jump Rope, Countries & Cultures, Elastics, English, Games Around the World, Japan, Korean, Korean Children's Songs, Languages, Questions, Readers Questions, Skipping Game, South Korea, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

118 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Canadian Song “Yoki and the Kaiser” – Possibly with Korean Origins”

  1. Patricia Says:

    I never knew this game to be called “Chinese jump rope”. We just called it the elastic jumping game! But on many sites, in researching the internet, I guess that this game really was and still is, called Chinese Jump Rope. It is mentioned as that through out all inquiries that I made when referring to my elastic game.

  2. Monique Says:

    In France we call it “jeu de l’élastique” -elastic (jumping) game- too.

  3. HanjaNamja Says:

    This sounds more Japanese than Korean to me. I doubt Koreans celebrate the Japanese victory in this war, because absent the balancing Russian influence on the penisnsula, Korea had to endure the bitter experience of being slaves to the Japanese colonial masters.

  4. Russell Nadel Says:

    I found this citation (page 152) in a book called “Sally Go Round the Sun,” compiled by Edith Fouke (ISBN 0385025130), that’s now long out of print:

    YOKI AND THE KAISER. This rhyme, in many forms, is very popular with Canadian children. It is used for a variation on skipping in which a long piece of elastic is raised and lowered while the player goes over or under it. It is said to be a Korean children’s game that the children of missionaries brought back to Canada. Margaret Burbidge, daughter of Reb. and Mrs. W. A. Burbidge, came home to Toronto from Korea in 1939 and introduced the game into Humewood public school. She says the original words in phonetic spelling were:
    Riojun Kaijo Yaku naride
    Deki no syo-koong Stetseru
    Noki daisye-do Kai Ken no
    Do Ko ro was Isko sui si ei,
    and gives this rough translation: “After the agreement to open the gate of the castle (or stronghold) the place were General Nogi met General Stetseru, the general of the enemy was at Shi Ei.” That was the battle for possession of Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, and a Japanese poet wrote a song to celebrate it. After that war, the Japanese occupied Korea, and this song was taught to commemorate the victory, and picked up by children for their game. It is now widely known throughout Canada, usually as “Yoki and the Kaiser.” A. East York children, 1959 (FO 232). B. Elizabeth Elms, 1960. Cf. McLean’s, July 6, 1963, 18, 42.

    I hope this is helpful!

  5. chloe Says:

    i want to see the video of the korean song the young frog and the adult frog

  6. kim Says:

    If that is the correct phonetic pronunciation, the song is definately Japanese, not Korean. I also agree with Hanja Man. Koreans did NOT celebrate any Japanese victory, however children do quickly pick up songs.

  7. Pat Says:

    I remember that song well, but we made up the words as we went along. I thought It was Yokie on a Kaiser, Yokie 98 and the rest was just jibberish. LOL. We used to tie elastics together and put one leg over

  8. Hae Sun Says:

    The game you refer is called gomujul in Korean, meaning long elastic string. I do not know if the game is called Chinese Jumping Rope or not since I grew up in Korea. The elastic string is about 2 -3meters long. The game is mostly played by girls. There will be two people holding the ends at a certain height( at ankle, knee, hip, waist, chest, shoulder, top of the head and lastly at the tip of upwardly extended finger) and one person is in the middle performs series of movements using the elastic string. Each time the person in the middle completes the motions successfully to the end of the song, she will have advanced to the next level( height ). When the person messes up, she becomes the person holding an end of the string.
    I played gomujul

  9. Hae Sun Says:

    I played gomujul a lot while growing up in Korea in 60’s but I do not know the song you want to know. Is there a music to go with this? I can ask around.

  10. Marilou Says:

    In Toronto (Downsview) in the late -50s we played a game with a string usually 3m in length, made of elastic bands looped together, which we called a yoki rope. Often the game involved two ropes which might even be held at different heights. I don’t recall any songs or rhymes, but we definitely called the game Yoki.

  11. Bill Gilday Says:

    I remember playing this game in Port Credit at Tecumseh Public School in the late 50s. I took a course in Canadian folk music at the University of Calgary in the summers of 81-83 and one of the guest lecturers was the renowned Edith Fowke. The class consisted of about 125 music educators from across Canada and when mention of this song came up, Edith asked how many of us had ever heard it. 6 of us put up our hands and then she asked us where we had learned it. All of us were from in and around Toronto. Gotta’ love the oral tradition!

  12. Carolyn Harrington Says:

    I am so happy to read that others know of this game and song. I always believed it to be a throw back to WW1 with a song dedicated to the Kaiser of Germany. How wrong. We played the game in Toronto 1946-8. And, we went to Humewood Public School so must have been in direct contact with Margaret Burbidge. The tune that I remember was similar to ‘Sweetly Sings the Donkey’.
    Thank you for casting light on a puzzle I’ve mulled over for 60 years.

  13. Janet Says:

    We played this endlessly in Leaside (Toronto) in the 1950s. I think we sang “Yokis in the kaiser, yokis oddy-ay. Tangus in the sobo, saw do, saw day.”

    You got yourself all twisted up in the elastic, then had to untangle by the time the song ended. Some girls knew how to make intricate loops around their legs, which would come apart completely at the end with one snap of the elastic. I never figured out how they did it.

  14. Cathy Says:

    Yes, I remember “Yoki” as Janet has commented. After the verse we added “double saw day saw day” and yes I could with one snap of the elastic be completely unwound. I’ve been teaching my 2 year old grand daughter the verse and she loves it. It’s very “catchie”. I grew up in Leaside as well.

  15. James Burbidge Says:

    I can confirm that this was introduced to southern Ontario by my aunt Margaret, and I could probably get her to recall the tune. However, my aunt was born in 1928, and by 1946 would have been out of Humewood for some time.

  16. Lisa Says:

    We would love to learn the tune James!

  17. Jan Says:

    So glad I have found this site! I remember playing this game endlessly as a kid growing up in Montreal in the 50’s.
    We used the same words, but ended with “soldier, sailor, saw-do, saw-day.
    We just twisted our leg under and over the elastic, with a jump at each twist.
    Used to beg my Mom for the elastic out of her sewing box.. memories!

  18. Ken Says:

    I remember this game very well from Wilmington PS in suburban Toronto in the late 1950s. It was played by girls – they had the flexibility for it, I guess. The words were sung to a tune similar to the old country song “Skip to my Lu”. The girls also played a lot of “double Dutch” skipping with a very long doubled up rope, I had no idea how they managed the trick of skipping inside two ropes being swung alternately/conversely against each other.

  19. Christine Roberts Says:

    What encyclopedia could ever have given me all of this wonderful information on “Yoki and a Kaiser?!” I just typed it in and voila! Well, I came to Toronto from England in 1952 and went to Rawlinson Public School, near Oakwood and Rogers Rd. I quickly learned two recess games, “Yoki” and “Ordinary Movings.” Our version of “Yoki” was: Yoki and a Kaiser, Yoke a noddy aye, Tank in a sobel, Sa do Sa day. I can’t name the melody, but can certainly sing it now, as I did then.

    “Ordinary Movings…”, was played with rubber balls against a wall. As you threw the ball and said the verse, you made the motions–one, hand the other hand, clap at the front, clap at the back etc. You couldn’t wait to get out to recess and PLAY with your modest ‘equipment.’

  20. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing! If you’d ever like to sing it for us we’d love to post it! Cheers! Mama Lisa

  21. Cindy Says:

    I am so happy to have found this site! For years I remembered” Yoki” and thought that the words I remembered were nonsense words that I had conjured up because I couldn’t remember the proper words. Then, there in print were the exact words that I remembered singing during recesses at St. George’s P.S in the 50’s.I also remember playing “rounders” as well as loads of “double-dutch” …. all with dresses on!


    Wow, I have been looking for someone who remembers the elastic song for years! However, we sang a different version…

    Yogi and a Keiser…yogi -on-ee-ay (yogi on the lake was the original wording)… (the)-lake…tank in a sew-baot….sewy, sewy..ay. (repeated)

    So: Yogi and a Keiser….yogi on-ee-ay….tank in a sew(n) boat…sewy, sewy…ay.

    See below:

    Yogi – hindu, bhuddist, south Asian person
    Kaiser (short for Kaiserreich)- A Slang for the German Empire
    Tank – artillery tank
    Sew (or sewn) boat – a type of wooden boat
    Sewy, Sewy..ay – just a rhyme at the end


  23. Beth Agnew Says:

    What a delight to read about all the different versions! I played this in the 50s at Davisville P.S. near Davisville and Yonge Streets, and again at Maurice Cody P.S. when we moved closer to Leaside (Bayview & Eglinton) in Toronto.

    The words for me, thanks to the “broken telephone” effect, were “Yogi and the Kaiser, Yogi audie-ay; Tanks in the So-Fah, Skiddoo, Skidday”.

    With mention of the Kaiser and tanks, I thought for sure it had something to do with WWI as Carolyn did. Amazing to find out it was Japanese all along!

    We played with a 2-3 meter elastic that was either single or double depending on the “degree of difficulty” we were trying to achieve. The elastic was wrapped around two girls who held it at ground, ankle, knee, etc., level. While singing the ditty, we’d bend our knee and touch the ground on the other side of the elastic (or between them). Then back on this side for the next phrase. At “Skiddoo”, we jumped over the elastic entirely, and jumped back on “Skidday”. If you touched the elastic or missed, you were out.

    The tune was similar to the first lines of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” ending at “what you are” which would have been the Skiddoo, Skidday.

    Thanks, Christine, for reminding me of “Ordinary Movings”! I got all nostalgic over those red, white and blue rubber balls. Between that, Double Dutch, Yogi, and Hopscotch, I had a lot of skinned knees in those years. :-)

  24. Pat (LeVasseur) Tuck Says:

    Oh my Gosh! I was looking for the words to yogi in the kaiser, and saw Christine Roberts comment about ‘Ordinary Moving’s’ ball game.

    I am now 65 yrs of age, and remember playing it against the slate wall at our house when I was 7-10. We used an India rubber ball instead of the red white and blue one. Not the best idea, as we broke quite a few slates over the years which my Dad relentlessly replaced. :-)

    We would toss the ball at the house from a distance of about 5 feet. As we tossed it and caught it we would sing ‘ordinary movings,’ (then toss again) and sing ‘laughings, (couldn’t laugh) then, not aloud say ‘talkings’ (toss again) sing, ‘one hand’ (using one hand toss and catch) then ‘the other hand’ then, standing on first one foot the the other sing ‘one foot, ‘the other foot’ then, doing the appropriate moves sing ‘claps at the front’, ‘claps at the back’ ‘then front and back’ then ‘back and front’. Then, holding one hand in front of the other, twirl them over each other frontwards and sing ‘a tweedle’ then backwards sing ‘a twaddle’ then doing the appropriate moves as we tossed, sing ‘a curtsie’ ‘a bow’ then ” a right salute’ a left salute’, ‘a double salute’ and then we would twirl all the way around after tossing and we had to catch the ball singing ‘away she goes’
    We whiled away the summer with that game and all the skipping and tree climbing, and soft-ball games on the street. So many delicious memories.

  25. Lisa Says:

    That’s neat Pat! Thanks for sharing.

  26. Pam Says:

    @Marilou I also grew up in Downsview but in the mid-60’s. We played the elastic game but we called Yogi. After reading the comments above, I’m certain that we mispronounced the name. Many coloured elastics were tied together and we would jump over them without touching until the holders of the band reached their shoulders. At that point we would jump similarly to a high jumper and pull the band down with our feet…if you were good. This was called Sky High. Unfortunately we did not have a song.

    Does anyone recall the game where a rubber ball was inserted into a woman’s single stocking? You would find a wide wall and with your back against it you would outstretch your arm and horizontally move the stocking from side to side while singing a song. The song was “Hello, hello, hello sir, are you coming out sir. Yes sir, no sir….I can’t remember the rest of it.

    The other game was “Two balls”. Two rubber balls (the red white a blue ones) thrown against a wall in a juggling style, one ball thrown and caught as the other leaves your hand. Songs that were sung…Orange Crush (repeated over and over) or One, Two, Three O’Leary.

    This site is wonderful. Thank you Mama Lisa.

  27. Lisa Says:

    Is this the one you’re looking for Pam…

    Hello, Hello, Hello, sir
    Are you coming out, sir?
    Yes sir, no sir.
    Why sir? Why sir?
    ‘Cause I’ve got a cold sir.
    Where’d you get the cold sir?
    At the North Pole sir.
    What you doing there sir?
    Catching polar bears sir.
    How many did you catch sir?
    One sir, two sir, three sir, four sir
    Five sir, six sir, seven sir,
    Eight sir, nine sir, ten sir,
    That’s enough for me sir.

  28. Nancy Says:

    These are such wonderful memories. I have loved reading all of the comments. I think our generation had so much fun. Everything was so simple. I remember playing “Yoki” for hours with my best friend Caryl at Humber Valley Village School in Etobicoke, Ontario. Along with chocolate bunnies at Easter, there was always a brand new skipping rope peaking out from our baskets. Recess was consumed with Yoki and Double Dutch. I too am teaching my Granddaughter these wonderful games. We also bought a box of chalk and played hopscotch on my son’s driveway. Topped this off with 32 games of Tic-Tac-Toe.

  29. Marti Chamberlain Says:

    I remember playing what we called Yogi, it was in the 60’s in Toronto. Pam, we must be from the same . I am just now talking to some friends from the 60’s and the games we played, and the ball in the stocking came up. Lyrics and all. Such great memories.

  30. judith sherman Says:

    Loved that game, only part I remember of that song is ‘Yogi in the Kaiser – yogi yogi yeah!’ (2 times) drawing a blank for the rest…probably come back to me as I get older, and start to relive my childhood lol. Grew up in Montreal in the fifties.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    My friend and I were discussing the Yoki game recently. The topic came up because I have a lot of elastics that come on the newspaper. I guess that growing up in the 50’s taught me not to throw anything away. I was wondering if she could remember the words to Yoki so that I could make an elastic rope and then teach my granddaughter the game. Between the two of us, we came up with most of the rhyme. It is nice to be able to confirm what we were saying by reading all of these great memories.

    I remember playing the ball game Ordinary Movings on the wall of Borden Avenue Public School in North York.

    Thanks for this interesting article.

  32. Jane Hess Says:

    I loved playing the yogi game at Queen Mary Public School in Peterborough, ON, in the mid to late 1950s. Here was the ditty we sang: Yogi in the kaiser/yogi idee-ay/catch a batch of soda/sewy sewy say. Jane, Toronto

  33. Joanie Says:

    I grew up in Toronto in the 50-60s in the Moore Park area and I remember all these games! Hours and hours of fun with ALL the kids from the neighborhood…about 15 of us. Those were the baby boom years, after all. Our moms would just say “go out and play”, and we did. Every day after school, and again after dinner until the sun set. Those were the days!

    I have no idea what we were saying, but our lyrics were:
    Yogi in the kaiser
    Yogi audy ay
    Tankee in the sobo
    Sadu, saday.

    Sung to the tune of “twinkle twinkle little star”.
    Great memories!

  34. Anne B Says:

    I went to Harrison Road Public School near York Mills Rd and Bayview Ave. we could hardly wait to get outside and play Yoki!! I absolutely remember the tune, it was the last two lines that I couldn’t remember because they were pretty much gibberish. Also played ordinary movements and the ball (India rubber), in the stocking game as well as double dutch. Good memories – and I’m teaching my granddaughter. No hand-held, battery operated sitting toys at this house!!

  35. Vickie Says:

    I grew up in the 60’s early 70’s and we called it Yogi. I grew Windsor Ontario
    And now live in the US. Nobody here had ever heard of Yoki or Yogi
    I played the game with the ball in the ladies stocking so many times. We also played with the really bouncy balls and definitely did some
    Great moves while singing one to three oleary four five six oleary. The rest of the words are buried in these great memories. Being outside all day coming home for supper and then during the summer playing more. We were never inside…,even with snow or a normal rainstorm.
    I’m glad I grew up in Canada and have such great memories.

  36. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing! Does the yogi rhyme have a tune to it?

  37. Janet Says:

    I grew up in Don Mills Ontario in the 60s. I played the ball-in-the-stocking game, and the words cited here were EXACTLY the same (I am surprised.)

    My friends and I played Yogi. The basic game sounds just like the original Korean version, but the words we used were way off! It was just gibberish:
    Yogi in the Kaiser
    Yogi addy-ay
    Dance in the soda booth (!!!)
    Sa-doo Sa-day

    Regular jump-rope was very popular, too, with some interesting songs to accompany various intricate jumps.

    Does anyone remember jumping double-dutch? ‘High low medium slow jolly old pepper’? ‘Apples peaches pears and plums, tell me when your birthday comes’?

  38. Sylvia Says:

    I played Yoki in Toronto in the 1950’s at King George School and after our family moved at Sir Adam Beck School. It was a very popular game and I remember the verse we used but I can’t remember the foot work. My granddaughters are waiting patiently for me to teach them.I have the elastics ready. Could someone please help with a clear description of the movements. Thanks so much.

  39. Debbie Says:

    At last!!! I almost gave up hope of finding someone who remembered the Yogi game. We played it in public school at Avenue Rd./Wilson Ave. in the 1970s. Our version, though, had no song, and it was a single elastic rope that the end holders moved in height increments (ie. ankle to knee to hip, etc.). there was a required move for each level. The only one I remember is “butterflies” which required a certain twisting of the rope around the hands. And, there was a move where you lightly held down the elastic with the right foot and hopped over with the left, without the right touching the ground. Anyone remember the other moves?

  40. Michele Says:

    1954-8 Elmlea PS, Rexdale (Toronto):

    We played “jump-rope” (emphasis on the first word) with a single line of linked elastics–sometimes even the odd paperclip, to hold it together– (the other prime activity was simply called “skipping”. We would “play skipping”, not “skip”. Or we would “play Double-Dutch”.) The verse we used for “jump-rope” was as follows; I was always embarassed to chant it because it seemed to be a degenerated version of something in a foreign language, and that it had come to this seemed to me disrespectful of the original language and whoever spoke it. I would have preferred to know what words I was uttering. (Yes, I later studied languages.)

    Yoki in the caysa
    Yoke-in notty-eh
    Tank in the sobo
    Suhdu, suhday

    (caysa pron. like kaiser, but no ‘r’)
    Chanted in a tune very similar to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but definitely not that, and faster than that.

  41. Michele Says:

    We also called “jump-rope”, “yoki”.

  42. Christina Eaton Says:

    I grew up in Stratford and remember all of the above games well. Played them for hours. Those were the days of freedom. Out from morning to night with little parent supervision.(not a bad thing)

  43. Donna Says:

    I went to Charles E. Webster P.S. (Keele and Eglinton area of Toronto in the 1950’s. It is great to remember these fun games. I remember playing many hours of Yoki and was pretty good at it – so good I actually put my hip out of joint clearing the elastic at shoulder height. This required a few days of bed rest. I have just retired from teaching and am proud to have taught my students the proper way (as I remember it) to play hopscotch, Yoki and many skipping rhymes and double dutch during our gym classes. It is very exciting to see my students actually want to grab a skipping rope at recess rather than stand around with a cell phone in their hands.

  44. Nancy Says:

    I went to Gooderham Public School in Scarborough back in the 50s and I loved playing the Yoki game! We sang… Yoki and the Kaiser/ Yok-a-nidy-eh/ ten in a sailboat/ ska-do , ska-day. One girl broke her leg playing it. She slipped in some sand while jumping at the shoulder height level. I also remember the other games mentioned above. While playing the ball and stocking game, did anyone ever have the end of the stocking wear through and the ball would go flying off into space….hopefully not hitting anyone! Thanks for all the great memories!!

  45. Catherine Says:

    Wow, this is great!! My sisters and I were trying to remember words, tunes, etc. to these games, and this is the first I searched online, so am thrilled to have found this site with all the memories! I went to St. Raphael’s school in Burlington in the early 60’s for 1st thru 3rd grades, and yes, the ball in the stocking swung back and forth against the wall while singing..
    Have a cup of tea sir.
    No sir.
    Why sir?
    Because I have a cold sir.
    Where’d you get the coke sir?
    At the North Pole sir.
    What were you doing there sir?
    Catching polar bears sir.
    How many did you catch sir?
    One sir, two sir, three sir…. etc. With each time sir is said, the leg on that side is lifted so ball can be swung under to hit the wall. Then you just count until you mess up. And the yogi or yoki game, I did not remember the words, but we do remember the same as others.. Begging mom for the elastic in her sewing basket. What fun times!!

  46. June Says:

    I remember playing all those games, yoki, double Dutch and two balls played with tennis balls. I went to Humbercrest school in Toronto in the fifties now live in the US. We all wore drill slips in school, I loved that uniform, with the black stockings.
    Thanks for reminding me of fond memories.

  47. Cathy B. Says:

    This is amazing! The game we just called “Yogi” was really big in the 50s (and, I guess, tailed off in the 60s) in Toronto and S.Ontario in hundreds of school yards — including my school, Summit Heights P.S. in Downsview.
    Obviously, just as in the game “Telephone”, the words were shared verbally and passed on with each girl’s translation of what were (to us) nonsense-words. In MY version, they were “Yogi on the Kaiser – Yogi oddy-aaay – Tankanda soda – Sadoo! Saday!” ALL the versions have cross-over similarities. I bet each school yard had its own version!
    I remember “Ordinary Movings”, the ball in the stocking and “One O’Leary” (slurred into “One a larry”). But this last one was chanted while bouncing a ball and lifting your leg over it on the down-stroke.
    And Yogi’s Korean origins are fascinating. :)

  48. Martha Cameron Says:

    My sister Carol and I went to Deer Park Public School in Toronto, Yonge and St. Clair area, 1950s. I remember “Yogi in the Kaiser” with elastics strung together. Words never made sense to me: Yogi in the Kaiser/ Yoga-nogga-nay / Yogi in the Kaiser / something like sadu-saday. Started on the ground, then ankle, knee, waist, shoulder height. You had to hook your foot over it and pin it down. I was terrible at it. Also played ball for hours, bouncing it off the side wall of our house or at school, where there was a kind of ledge and you would sometimes get pop-ups. You had to bounce the ball against the wall and then go through a progression of clap-front, clap-back, front-and-back, back-and-front, under one knee, under the other, and so forth. Don’t remember ever playing the ball-in-the-stocking game. Hopscotch, yes. Also a game called, simply, “Hog,” which involved two teams and getting the ball to the one person who would hang onto it for dear life no matter how many people piled on top. And double dutch, of course, though nothing as skilled or sophisticated as some of the double-dutchers I have seen here in the U.S. And in winter we built two snow forts in the back of the schoolyard — one for girls and one for boys — and we would throw snowballs at each other. But ice balls were against the rules. Anyone who walked between the two forts was fair game because that was no-man’s-land. And I remember in grade 8 for a brief period all the girls were seized by a kind of madness, linking arms in a long row and dancing around the schoolyard singing “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” over and over. We also went through a period of playing marbles, which I was very good at for some reason — not generally good at games. I ended up with a great pile of beautiful marbles that I discovered my mother had kept for years.

    I’m sending this to my sister in Italy who has much better recall than I have. She’ll love it.

  49. Janet Says:

    Cathy B’s post reminded me of a similar ball game. You put a tennis ball in stocking, and stood again a wall with your legs apart. You would swing the stocking-and-ball back and forth (starting on the right), at each count hitting to one side of you, then to the other: “one, two, three a-larry [at each “a-larry” you’d lift your left leg as high as it would go and hit the ball under your leg but on the wall], four, five, six a-larry, seven, eight, nine a-larry; ten a-larry, catch the ball [you didn’t catch the ball, cause there was nothing to catch; but you’d continue until recess bell rang]” This tended to exercise the left leg more than the right, so you could switch hands and start the count again on the left instead of the right. I cannot believe how much time I spent playing this game that had no rules! Nobody won or lost. It was just a way to spend time.

  50. Jeamie Says:

    I can still sing the tune and I thought the words were as follows:

    Yogi on a kaiser
    Yogi on a bay
    Sampson in a sail boat
    Skidoo skiday

    You jumped over the elastic rope from one side to the other for the last 2 lines
    Where you only put one leg over for the first 2

  51. Jeamie Says:

    I have asked many friends if they know this song and not one remembers.
    Glad to finally know i didn’t image it lol

  52. Linda Says:

    Yesterday I was teaching at an elementary school and the skipping ropes were coming out at recess – as the snow has finally melted off the pavement. Many of the girls were in groups playing a game called “Helicopter” where they call out a verse while swinging the rope around overhead. It made me think about the games we used to play back in the early 60’s (in Ottawa) and for the rest of the day I had the first two lines of “Yogi” stuck in my head. So glad to find this posting and clear up the rest. “Hello Sir” was also very popular – I’d forgotten that one!

  53. Janet Says:

    I just remembered the version of a ball-and-stocking song, similar to Catherine’s (May 29 2014):

    hello hello hello sir
    are you coming out sir?
    no sir
    why sir?
    because i have a cold sir
    where’d you catch the cold sir?
    at the north pole sir
    whatcha doin there sir?
    catchin polar bears sir
    how many did you catch sir?
    one sir
    two sir
    three sir
    that’s enough for me sir

    I have a vague memory of one girl wielding the stocking and other girls having to enter the swing zone and flatten themselves against the wall to escape the ball.

  54. Lisa Says:

    Pam wrote:

    “Yes Janet we sang it exactly as you have posted! We played it the same way…ball in a stocking and one girl against the wall. Fabulous memories indeed!”

  55. Heather Says:

    I totally forgot that there was a song that went with the elastic ‘rope’ game! We played it non-stop in the early 60s in the west end of Ottawa. Now that I’m remembering it, we sang it to “twinkle twinkle” and it was pretty simple nonsense words: Yogi (probably thought it was the bear!)in the kaiser, yogi ai-aye, …?, sadoo-saday. We emphasized the sadoo-saday part.

    A very popular game with the younger kids (maybe grade one) was a congo line that would weave the school yard (D. Roy Kennedy). Each kid would wiggle left & right while we sang “Jelly in the bowl. Jelly in the bowl. Wiggle-waggle, wiggle waggle. Jelly in the bowl” over and over. I wonder if anyone else remembers that?

    We also did the ball in stocking, but I remember singing “On the mountain stands a lady (…who she is I do not know. All she wants is gold and silver…)” to it.

  56. Karen Says:

    It truly is a glorious trip down memory lane, isn’t it girls. I am 60 now, and thank everyone very much for adding some new memories over and above good old Yogi on a Keiser whatever the version! :)

  57. Sharon Says:

    We played this for years at Pape Public School in the late 1950s and then to a lesser degree at Earl Grey Sr. Public. So nice to read all the comments.

    Now, does anyone remember what we called “brotherhood jackets”? I know they just look like Levi jeans jackets of today but why were they called “brotherhood jackets”? We decorated them and wore ribbons of our school colours attached to one shoulder too. If anyone has a picture, that would be awesome.

  58. MB Says:

    In Leaside in the late ’50s, early ’60s we played variations of almost all of the above-mentioned games.
    The song we used was: Yokis in the kaisa, yoki didy ay, tangis in the sobo, saw doo saw day. (or words to that effect)

    I studied music in university so I will describe the song to the best of my ability without actually writing out the tune.

    Do do do me so so, la so fa la so, do do do me so so, fa me ra do. (solfeg)

    Terry teery tah tah, teery teery tah ah, teery terry tah tah, tah ah, tah ah, tah ah tah ah. (Rhythm in 4/4 time)

    I wish I could write out the music to show you but this is the best I can do. I hope it makes sense for at least some.
    This was what we sang to that tangling method that someone described above. Wonderful memories of outdoor play/exercise from early morning until dusk.

  59. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing! If you’d like to sing it for us, we can post a recording. Please email me if you’re interested. We have an answering machine where people can record songs. Thanks! Mama Lisa

  60. Lisa Says:

    Is this the tune to Yoki and the Kaiser? This midi here.

  61. Ruth Says:

    So glad to find this site. The words to Yoki have eluded me for years.
    And the rest of “On the Hill” as I remember it were “All she needs is a fine young beau”… call in my (girl of your choice)dear,____dear____dear. So call in my ____dear, and I’ll fly away. Whereupon you would run out of the rope and she would run in.
    I was in Franklin Horner school and I remember these games from the WWII years.

  62. Pat Says:

    I also lived in Leaside in the 50’s. The words were as MB indicated. Always referred to it as “Yokus”. Elastics looped together or a length of elastic if you were able to get your Mom to buy it for you. Thicker elastic lasted longer if you could get some.
    Double dutch was difficult to master, but with everyone playing every recess, after school, after dinner…you just practiced!

    The refrain with the stocking and India rubber ball (hard on the ears whoever was in the house!) was:
    The lady in the tight skirt can’t do this. (raise leg and bounce diagonally)
    Repeat with alternate leg and then back to the next.
    Good times if you did not have a friend available….

  63. Rita B. Says:

    I am so glad Joki on the Kaiser was mention in a Toronto Star story today, as it made me google it which brought me to this site- although I too went Summit Heights where we called it Yogi in the Kaiser. I remember playing yogi, skipping single ropes and double dutch, playing with the rubber ball in the stocking and singing
    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.

    The ball went under our leg with each sea or see.
    I remember the Ordinary-Moving game too, now that you reminded.
    Thanks so much for these memories.

  64. Dorothy Hawthorne (nee Baldwin) Says:

    I refer back to *Christine Roberts comment – Aug. 25, 2011.
    I too attended Rawlinson P.S. on Glenholme Ave., (south of Rogers Rd. & north of St.Clair) 1949>58. From Kindergarten > Grade 8. Perhaps we have played Yoki together, Christine? Your comment is bang on, what fun we had at our recess breaks & lunch time playing Yoki & the Kaiser. Yes, our elastic string was held taut by two enders (one girl on each end) while the rhyme was sang by ‘all’, the one playing went through the actions & gradually moved up from ankle to knee to hip to waist etc. Once she ‘missed’ getting her leg over the elastics or tangled in it, she became an ender. The last of the moves was to ‘jump the elastic string’ at each height level. Easy to do when it was at ankle height, not so easy when it was held by the enders on top of their heads, or arms length above their heads. Any number could play, we just rotated through the line taking our turn in the middle. What memories! We kids certainly got our ‘required 60 minutes of exercise’ each day.
    I also had a Double Dutch Skipping Rope, & it was also great fun, on a par with Yoki. My Grandfather (in a previous life) had been a rope maker. He kept me supplied with what I thought was ‘the best Double Dutch Rope’ at school. When the rope became worn & frayed from constant beating on the ground, it went back to Grandpa & he would provide me with a new one. Then he would repair the worn broken one, ready for my next trade-in

  65. Lisa Says:

    FYI The Article in the Toronto Star that mentions Yoki and the Kaiser can be read here.

  66. Johanne Says:

    You girls have made my day, I’ve been looking for the game with the long stocking, ball and wall…. for I don’t know how long…. We were playing that in the 60s, early sixties in Montreal. thanks

  67. Marilyn Holt Says:

    Russsell Nadel’s post from March 2008 is amazing. I went to Hume Public School back in the 50’s when that game was introduced. We played it ALL the time. i had no idea what the words really were or what they meant, but we loved it.

  68. Bronwyn Says:

    I went to Whitney School in Moore Park in the 50s and the version of Yoki that we chanted was:
    Yoki in the Kaiser
    Yoki audy ay
    Tank in the sobo
    Sedoo, seday.
    And it was more of a chant than a tune.

    Great to be reminded also of “Ordinary Movings” which, to my recollection, went like this:
    Ordinary movings – laughings – talkings – one hand – the other hand – one foot – the other foot –
    clap front – clap back – clap front and back – clap back and front – tweedles – twidles – curtesies –
    salutesies – bowsies – jumpsies – and underground.

  69. Nancy Says:

    Does anyone remember the game Mississippi? It was played with joined elastics like the Yoki game except you used two lengths instead of one. You’d spell out the word Mississippi while you put one leg over the elastic then back again. For the single letters in the word, you put your leg over a single strand but for the double letters…ss/ss/pp… you’d have to pop your leg over the second strand of elastic. Like with Yoki, you held the elastics at different levels…ankle,knee,waist etc. Such fun times back then! There was no shortage of games to play at recess or with your friends out on the street after supper.

  70. Rita B. Says:

    I’m having so much fun with this thread. Thank you all. Thanks Bronwyn for the words to “Ordinary Moving”; I was trying to recall them. I think we said it exactly the same way, except for your very last word. Instead of ‘underground’, if memory serves, we said ‘and away she goes’. Did anyone else say it that way?
    Also, while we’re on the topic of the playground, do you all remember the rhymes that went with partnered clapping games? I know we had a few of them.
    And any more skipping rope rhymes?
    Also I remember playing cat’s cradle with a piece of string. One person looped the string between their hands and the other re-looped it on their hands, in a changed pattern. I think I still remember the patterns, but I forget the names of them.

  71. Sue B. Says:

    Re Janet’s note August 28, 2010 about the game of Elastics… This is the exact game and the exact song lyrics that I remember playing in Stratford, Ontario, around 1960. The notes in the do-re-mi system were do-do-do-mi-so-so, la-so-fa-la-so, fa-fa-fa-fa-mi-mi, fa-mi-re-do. And once again the words were: “Yokis in the kaiser, yokis oddy-ay. Tangus in the sobo, saw do, saw day.” It’s so much fun to remember, and possibly to reference in my current creative writing activities.

  72. PippaT Says:

    A trip down memory lane reading these posts! A chance photo on Facebook of a yoki rope made me start looking for the words to the chant. I was at Deer Park Jr and Sr Public at St Clair and Avoca from 1963 to 1966. We played yoki only in Grade 6 because for Grades 7 and 8 we didn’t have a full recess…and probably thought we were too grown up to play at lunchtime! But for one year we played and we sang:

    Yoki on a kaiser
    Yoki addy ay
    Tank in a sailboat
    Sadoop saday

    I knew it was gibberish but the words “kaiser” and “tank” made me think it was something derogatory about the war. I never liked saying the verse but it was important to be part of the crowd!

    We also played the ball game Ordinary Movings and it was at Deer Park where I finally started playing Two Balls…preferably with tennis balls as they were less slippy. And there was a rhyme that went:

    Mickey Mouse went under the house
    Clapped his hands…..(and you did motions and tricks with balls but I was never really good at more than the basics).

    Somebody here mentioned groups of girls linking arms and walking around the playground chanting the same line until the teacher on duty broke us up:

    We are a little bit crazy (quick walking)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (deep kneebends)
    We are a little bit crazy (quick walking)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (more kneebends)
    ….ad infinitum….we were easily amused!

  73. Wendy storey Says:

    Nancy, yes, i remember Mississippi with the double elastics..we called it YOGI, and single elastic was “jumpsies”… Went to Wedgewood PS in the late 50’s and 60’s
    ..and 1,2,3 o larry w. Ball (tennis, in case it hit yer head ;)) in stocking
    …”on the mountain lives a lady” too
    …cant remember the words/tune to a line of girls holding hands and then dragging the line over and ducking under 1st girls arms and ending up w.linked crossed arms
    ..what fun, no fighting, no bullying

  74. Jill Says:

    I went to Armour Heights P.S. in the late fifties – we played all of the games mentioned above.
    If you were the owner of the skipping rope, or the yogi elastic, or the rubber ball, you had increased status at recess. This back in the day when the girls and boys play yards were separated as were the school entrances. Seems so quaint now.
    Yogi, double dutch, Red Rover (which I never liked), hopscotch, various games involving throwing a ball against the wall (or in a nylon stocking). We seemed to be very busy with the very minimum of equipment.
    “On the mountain stands a lady, who she is I do not know…”
    “Jelly in the bowl, jelly in the bowl, wiggle woggle, wiggle woggle, jelly in the bowl”

  75. Gale Says:

    It’s amazing how those games migrated around neighbourhoods, cities, etc. via a children’s culture independent of parents, teachers. I went to Blessed Sacrament School in North Toronto (Yonge & Lawrence) in the 50’s. I remember the Yoki game well. I remember the tune something like Twinkle, Twinkle but not quite. These are the words from my memory
    Yoki an-addy kaiser
    Yoki audie-ay.
    Tank in the sailboat,
    Saw do, saw day
    I also thought in later life it must have to do with WWI with references to Kaiser, tanks, etc.
    I remember playing “Ordinary Moving” too. With an India rubber ball (sort of lethal it was!) against the school wall.

  76. Linda Adam Says:

    Oh my! This has been a wonderful read. I grew up in Leaside & during the ’50’s all of the school yard games mentioned here were played – for hours & hours. Yokus in the Kaiser or Yogi was a favourite & I was fortunate to have had garment elastic purchased for me by my Mom. There was only one problem. I was really short & rarely made it past waist height. I held the “end” a lot. lol

  77. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I played yoki in Toronto in the tune..m i ss I ss I pp I played this game with elastics for hours and double Dutch skipping. Never thought of it as exercise… Just a game!

  78. Lisa Says:

    We received this email:

    During the 50’s in Willowdale (Toronto):

    Penny game in bathtub-shaped ceramic cast iron drinking fountain (taps and drain out for winter frost). It was outside on the west wall near the staff parking. Sorry that is all I remember about that game.

    I was usually tossing baseball cards against the school wall (closest wins).

    Making roads with Matchbox, Corgi or Dinky toys.

    Catching pop-flies off that angled stonework.

    Doney Whackers (chestnuts on a string)

    In the fall Duncan Yo-Yo pros would be outside after school to demonstrate new tricks. Quick run home and get money to buy one!

    Or playing with my Duncan Imperial spin-top. The white deluxe one with fake diamonds on the top.

    I remember girls in my class playing with origami things with messages, cat’s cradle, double-dutch & yoki as well.

    The janitor would put a wooden red-flag out when the playing field got muddy and you had to keep to the asphalt.

    Ignoring this meant risking having Mr. Jones, Mr. Barker or whoever was on duty, putting your name-in-the-book in the principal’s office. Three times in the year and you got the strap. I made sure that I never passed two times in a year.

    It kept us obedient!

  79. Vera Parsons Says:

    Re Game played with looped elastic to form rope….I remember in the very early 60’s on Ottawa St in the Summerhill and Yonge area we looped elastics together and two held it while one did leg work over it and all sang ” yoki in the kaiser yoki audi ay ” and what we sang after those words is a mystery to me …lol lol ..lots of double dutch too. Anyone commenting from the Yonge and Summerhill/ Shaftsbury area of Toronto??

  80. Judith Desveaux Says:

    Re: Yoki. We played it for hours every day. I went to Finch Ave P.S. in Willowdale, a suburb of Toronto. We sang:
    Yoki in the kaiser
    Yoki audi-a
    Tang in the sofa
    Sawdu, sawday
    Always thought it referred to the first war so the actual origin is very interesting. We also played lots of Double Dutch and tag.

  81. nelson daniels Says:

    Humewood Alumnus 1946, 47, 48, 49
    The girls chanted “Yoki and the Kaiser” on the girls’ side of the playground (a strictly observed voluntary segregation by both sexes), while doing all their skipping games. I was very impressed, none of the boys could do any of this. Especially the double-dutch thing with the two long ropes flying in opposite directions. We fellows would never admit it back then, but we amazed at the athletic ability of the girls jumping in and out of those flying ropes. Congatulations ladies, can you still do this today?
    (The boys did handball against that giant wall on the “boys’ side” of the old building)

  82. Susan Stockwell Says:

    I played this ages ago at school in Montreal in the 50s and have been looking for the words to the song since then. We lived in Beijing in the early 70s and it was a very popular game at that time.

    I am very glad to have found it!


  83. Lisa Says:

    Was it played in Beijing Susan or just Montreal?



  84. Leigh Says:

    I played Yogi in the 1960s in Pointe Claire Quebec. I have really enjoyed reading all these different versions of the words and realize we had no idea what we were saying. We did not sing the words by kind of chanted to a rhythm with no tune. We thought it was Yogi in the Tiser, Yogi ottyay, Tennessee asoda, sedu, seday. Hilarious. I don’t remember who taught us these words! The Teachers must have had lot of fun watching us!

  85. Lisa Says:

    I love hearing all of these versions of Yogi too! Would anyone like to record it for us? :) Mama Lisa

  86. Nancy Says:

    I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario and played Yogi in the early 60’s. My memory of the words is
    Yogi in the kaiser
    Yogi Audy ey
    San Francisco, USA
    I think it is really humourous how we all have different versions of these words, yet we all played the same game! Thanks for the great memories!

  87. Sandra J. Says:

    I played a game with elastics all joined together in a long ‘string’ way back in the 50’s.

    The game started by two girls holding the ends of the long elastic at different levels measured by ones body. The girl who was ‘the player’ used her leg bent at the knee to move it back and forth over the elastic ‘string’ as everyone sang the words:

    Yoki on a kaysa
    Yoki on an ay
    Tank in a sobo
    Sadu, saday

    I simply thought it was a nonsense rhyme.

    The two girls holding the elastic ends then when up to waist, chest, underarms, shoulder etc. until the ‘player’ could go no higher.

    Once that happened another girl took her place. If you were the one that got the highest, say the ‘shoulder’ you felt great at having ‘beat’ the other girls. It was a sense of pride to ‘win.’ Fun to reminisce about this very old children’s game. I lived in Toronto and attended Spring Garden Elementary School. I now live on the West Coast and have never seen that game played. I wonder if it is being played anywhere.

  88. Margaret Says:

    I know this is an old questions but I played this game with my friends in Oakville, Ontario Canada back in the 1950’s public school. My Mom provided me with the elastic she bought from the sewing and notions store in town. I remember only part of the saying going as follows: “Yoki on a Kaiser, Yoki ody eh, tany in a sobo, suey, suey, eh!” Not sure of the spelling, but this was the saying I remember. We only used 1 elastic, held at each end by some and the player started at the ankle, lifting only 1 leg back and forth over the elastic saying this phrase and at the end we would jump over the elastic, then the elastic was raised to the knee and the player would do the same process and saying, lifting their leg grabbing onto the elastic and jumping over, then it was lifted again to the waist, same process, then lifted to the chest, then shoulder, then the last was the top of the heads and the whole gist was to be able to lift your leg high enough to catch the elastic to be able to get over the elastic. If you failed at any point then you were out until the last girl was left. Usually, there was a line up of girls. I saw on YouTube that the new Yoki is done differently with 2 elastics, almost like a hop scotch type of process. I guess like all games this one evolved. Hopefully you get this message and it’s not to late to comment. I was talking about it with my friend the other day (we are now seniors) and she grew up in London, ON and had never heard of this game. I found that odd because it was very popular back in the early 1950’s.

  89. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for sharing Margaret! Yogi and the Kaiser seems to have been played mostly in Canada.

  90. Josephine Says:

    Friends and family here in the U.K. look at me with that ‘poor old thing’ expression on their faces when I recall playing Yoko Nada Keiser (or whatever the proper words are) in Toronto in the early 1950s. The difficulty of explaining a game where the main move is hooking your leg over stretched elastic while you chant an unknown language cannot be exaggerated! I have never heard of anyone playing this game anywhere else, and I have lived in many countries. Thank you so much for this blog – what a delight. I also remember ‘Ordinary Movings’ very well, and have recently taught a local 8 year old how to play it, complete with a double twist on ‘Away She Goes’, so at least it has one young enthusiast here in (what is still) The European Union.
    Don’t think I’m quite up to the Yoko Nada these days. I was quite addicted. A permanent line at shoulder height stretched across the basement area – thank, you mother! And possibly the start of a pelvic misalignment. (For the record, I went to St. Matthews school and we lived on Silverthorn).

  91. Helen Says:

    What a wonderful site. Yesterday my 6year old Granddaughter came home from the park with a bunch of elastics tied together and I thought she had been playing Yoki but when I described it, she did not know what I was talking about. Either did her mother who I thought would have played it as a child. It seems to have been lost over the years.
    I grew up in North Toronto in the 1950’s so I fit right into the timeline. It seems the lyrics are all similar but like “whisper the secret game” change in the telling. We played it very much like Sandra J. above. Jumping it at different heights.

  92. Lisa Says:

    Is “whispers the secret game” the same as the game of telephone?

  93. Helen Says:

    Not sure if the “whispering game” is the correct name but what I am referring to is a game you play while sitting in a circle and you whisper something to the person beside you and it is then whispered to the next person and so on. Usually by the time it get back to you it is a totally different from the original words. Like the Yoki game the words were changed over the years.

  94. Carol Says:

    I was looking for the words today. And found Ordinary Movings here too. I had absolutely forgotten that game. Thanks for all the words. I did remember as far as the first two of the clapping steps, and was surprised at that. Yoki. Yoke. Hmmm. I remember the “words” but my spelling would be merely by ear. Similar to some of the ones I have seen here. We played this game in the 50’s using the string of elastics as a “rope”. Hopping up and down, we would fling one leg over the rope and back while singing the words. From ankle to above the head, although after shoulder height it would just be single jumps over the rope. Here’s my “by ear” spelling:

    Yoke in a ky’s eye,
    Yoke in eye dee ay
    Tank in a soble
    Sa do, sa day.

    Never associated it with the Kaiser, which would have been WW I, wouldn’t it? We played it after WWII. At John R. Wilcox Public, Ava Road Toronto, not far from Vaughan Road Collegiate. 1955-1960 approx.

  95. Marilyn Says:

    I grew up in Newtonbrook (or Willowdale, North York) and played `Yoki`(yogi) in the late 50s, early 60s at Drewry Avenue P.S. I remember the words as being similar to those stated by Jeamie (above) –

    Yogi on a kaiser
    Yogi on a bay
    Sampson in a sail boat
    Skidoo skiday

    Our school had a row of bricks (about 5-6 feet off the ground) jutting out on which we played the Ordinary Movements game with an India Rubber ball. If we could hit that ledge the ball would bounce up much higher giving us more time to do the movements. I think we also used to aim for the ledge and count the number of times we could do it in a row. Oh for the days of simple games!!

  96. Liz Says:

    The words I sang in Ottawa in the 1960’s were “Yoki on the kaiser, Yoki on the aye, Stand at a syllable, Sudoo, Suday. I have challenged my senior women friends to come out to play elastics, Ordinary Movings and skipping. This could be the next big fitness trend.

  97. Glenna Lane Says:

    Just tonight I discovered this site. How interesting. My sister and I played Yoki in the late 40’s at Regal Road Public School (Davenport & Dufferin). We played by the hour as others have stated. The words varied somewhat due to the telephone game influence I think.
    We also plated lots of ball games against the large brick wall on the east side of the school in the “GIRLS” play area.
    I also tonight looked for and found my copy of Sally Go Round the Sun and the 33 1/3 LP that goes with it.
    This was fun.

  98. Marnie Says:

    In Montreal (Hampstead School) in the 50’s we played what I thought was:

    yoken idee-ay
    soldiers contestant,
    sadu, saday.

    I never had any idea what it meant. It did always sound a bit Japanese to me but I never made the connection with the war.

    While the boys were doing whatever they did, we girls played various skipping and double dutch games and Yoken a-keiser, the elastic game, a girl at each end raising the elastic higher and higher, and the other girls in turn going through the song raising one leg over and back and then finally leaping over the elastic and back on “sadu, saday”. The tune was closest to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but not quite identical. The goal was to not touch the elastic. If you did you took over holding one end of the elastic.

    It’s been great fun to read through these replies and to reminisce about all the games and skipping rhymes we knew. I don’t know if little girls have anything like this anymore, but I hope they do.

  99. Judith Says:

    While organizing a drawer containing some elastic bands, the chant “Yoki and the kaiser, Yoki oddy- ay” suddenly popped into my head. A quick Google, and I was engrossed in this charming blog! Such memories! I can relate to most of the retrieved memories that have already been contributed (Yoki, double-Dutch, ball in the nylon, ‘broken telephone’, yoyo, hopscotch, tag, etc.). I attended West Preparatory [‘West Prep’] on Ridge Hill Dr. in Toronto in 1957 that had a playground with pavement but also sandy areas where, in good weather/alley season, we honed our budding gambling skills and risked our hard-won marbles by playing for keeps.
    This school also had a couple of enamelled cast iron drinking fountain tubs on the outside of the building, so no one needed to run in and out of the building during recess.
    I remember standing in line with my classmates in the fall as we waited for the bell to ring while practicing our playground chants/rhymes and snacking on raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds that we carried to school in our pocket, skilfully spitting out the shells onto said pavement – a cool thing to do at the time, and well, no sugar and biodegradable.

  100. Jane Morgan Says:

    Patricia, I believe the lyrics you suggested are spot on! At least as far as I can remember, and it’s a great memory to re-live!
    I was born in the 50’s and played Yoki ALL THE TIME with my friends.
    It worked like this: two people would stand on either end, while a third player jumped over the elastic rope until they “missed” jumping over it. Then the third person would take an end and let that “end-holder” have a turn at jumping. We’d start at “ankles”, meaning to hold the elastic rope at ankle height on either end and having someone jump over it (easy!). Then it was held at knee height; then hip height, then waist, shoulder, ears, head and finally “arm’s length”.
    We were so beautifully fit, some of us could even run, spinning and twisting at the last moment to snag the elastic rope (we just called it a “Yokey”) with a toe, landing and with an exalted satisfaction on the other side!
    Of course, it helped if you were tall for your age, but some smaller kids had great confidence and jumped much higher than you would have thought them capable of — it was an exciting challenge! We couldn’t wait for recess so that we could race to the macadam and play our little addictive sport. It was dirt cheap to buy the supplies (elastics of various sizes and colours) and provided hours and hours of fun, all the while resulting in making many friends! I still talk regularly to one of these friends of mine, even though she lives on Vancouver Island now and I live in Belleville, Ontario. Now I’ll call her and recite these lyrics to her — she’ll probably want to pass it along to her granddaughters!
    l wanted to teach it to MY grandkids now and thought I’d look online for the lyrics, so when I found your post, I very much appreciated reading and recalling these lyrics, My Fellow Elastic Jumper… wish I could jump that “Yokey” now instead of enduring the chemo I had this morning! There’s probably some comparison I could make between the two, but I’ll leave that unsaid, and instead, continue to recall the memories of a magical youth!


  101. Michelle Johnston Says:

    Well that was fun! I remember Yoki well. It was my favourite game when I attended Hillcrest Public School in the fifties. But whenever I would mention it to my current friends i would get blank stares. So nice to get some history on it. Clearly a Canadian game and it seems mostly played in Toronto. Thanks for the memories.

  102. Karen Selick Says:

    Thanks to everyone who preceded me on this site. I was trying today to remember how we used to play “yogi” in Downsview, at Anthony Road Public School, in the 1960s. It seems there are numerous versions of this game, and some people described roughly what I can remember. But I had completely forgotten about the ball-in-the-stocking game, “Hello, hello, hello, sir.” I think there were different challenges to meet there, directing the ball to different locations relative to your arms and legs. I wonder if that could be revived? I do volunteer work with a bunch of girls aged 6 and 7. I’m pretty sure they’d like this stuff.

  103. Lynda Says:

    What a great trip through history. I went to Lyndwood PS in Mississauga in the early 50’s and clearly remember playing Yoki and the Kaiser. It was interesting to read the different words that people used. My sister and I just read through the entire blog and really enjoyed everyone’s posts, although we don’t have much new to add.

    We only remember chanting and not singing the words. Lots of good memories.

  104. Marg Says:

    My sister in law and I were just talking about this the other day – so glad I found this site. We grew up in Newmarket and my version went – Yoki and the Kaiser, Yoki addy aye, San Francisco U S A It was wonderful growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.

  105. Patsy Morris Says:

    While searching for ancestry I came acrosss the word “kaiser” and I immediately thought of Yoki, a childhood game that I played at recess – Cameron Ave. P.S. In Willowdale in the late 50s.
    So many times I’ve asked others if they ever heard of Yoki and was met with frowns and comments like ” You played a game with the Kaiser’s name in it”? The lyrics I remember were:
    Yoki in the Kaiser
    Yoka dodi day,
    ______in th sobo
    The boys played marbles or alleys. The girls skipped with ropes.
    All this when the long dreary months of winter were over and the warmth spring was felt . The schoolyard was alive with activity.
    This site gave me a walk down “memory lane”

  106. Elsa Says:

    I caught myself singing “Yogi in the Kaiser” this morning….

    “Yogi alley ay
    Tank in the syllabus
    Ali ally allay”

    And thought: what is this ridiculous song I have known for 60 years that no one around me has ever heard?

    So I googled it! What a laugh reading all these comments! I played at Oriole Park (Avenue Rd & Eglinton) in the late 50’s, early 60’s. I attribute my quick ambidextrous hands to Ordinary Movings!! And I hadn’t thought of the ball in the stocking for so long! This is a precious site to have found😆.

  107. Cathie Says:

    It was called Yogi in Winnipeg in the early 1970’s. I’ve just made a ball in stocking and I’m now teaching these to my 10 year old daughter. Thanks for the memories!

  108. Lyn McCauley Says:

    Hilarious. The words at Meadowlands Public School in what is now called Nepean (west of Ottawa) were:

    Yogi on Kaiser
    Yogi on a yay
    Tank in a soda boat
    Sadu Saday.

    …and yes, when mentioned anywhere else in the world, eyebrows are raised.

  109. Jan Mayall Says:

    Played Yoki on a kaiser at Thisletown Public School in the early 50’s . Remembering the fun with elastics strung together, two people, one at each end of the 3 meter length and one person jumping up and down to the tune putting one foot over, then back for the first two lines. Then for Sadu …jumping all the way over and for saday, jumping all the way back. It started at the ankle which was easy and as it went up to the knee, then hip, then waist, it got harder. One girl Gail someone from Woodbridge area cartwheeled over at the end. It was fabulous! So happy to share these memories!!!!

  110. Yinney Says:

    Love all this!
    My childhood revisited!
    What about “Lady-in-the-tight-skirt” ..played with a tennis ball in a stocking.

  111. Lynne P Alexander Hollingsworth Says:

    Oh I remember this so well! It is amazing that I could sing it into my iPad and Google and find this post for me! We played it all the time in Toronto at armour Heights public school in the 50s. It is so need to find other people knew this rhyme, or remembered it, and to learn what it was originally meant to be.

  112. Wendy Kemp Says:

    I went to Westacres PS in Cooksville Ontario (now Mississauga) in the 1960s.
    We too played “Yogi on a kaiser, yogi on eeyay, tax in the syllable, sadoo, saday (alternate sooey ooey ay”.).
    Also played on the playground was a game with chestnuts that had a hole drilled through them and then attach a one foot string. After digging a small hole in the ground, the object was to take turns flinging your chestnut onto the opponents chestnut which was resting in the hole. The winner was the chestnut that didn’t bust off its string. That’s about all I remember about that game.
    Those years were carefree and we learned to make our own fun or how to handle being bored. ❤

  113. Lindy Moran Says:

    Played so many games like all of these at Hollywood Public school in the 50’s. Yoki, double dutch (skipped for a whole recess once), marbles (made our own game with cardboard), the sock (nylon) game against the wall. So many wonderful memories. All of them fun.

  114. Georgina Black Says:

    I remember playing Yoki in the late 50’s in the schoolyard in Toronto but the words we used were M I SS I PP I as we threw a leg over the double rope of elastics which was held by one girl and a second girl had it going around her legs. It was done really fast and your leg was going in and out and over the elastics. I never knew till now where the name originated. I was looking up the name because my grandson (in Ireland) is doing a project on school in my day and what games I played there. Of course I remembered double-dutch, hopscotch, dodge ball and chasing/tag of course – often with burrs – lol. All good fun.

  115. Lisa Says:

    Hi Georgina – I’m curious what you did with burrs?! -Mama Lisa

  116. Brian Mossop Says:

    I remember girls on my street in East York chanting this ditty in the 1950s. At first, I thought they were saying ‘yogi in the kaiser’. Something to do with Yogi Bear, I thought? Later, when I learned about WWI, I thought it must have originated back then as “yoking in the Kaiser” (that is, keeping him locked in), and the words had got distorted with the passage of time.

  117. Nancy Pasz Says:

    It was wonderful to find this blog and relive memories. I grew up in Newtonbrook (Willowdale) and went to Lillian Street P.S. in the 50’s & early 60’s. I remember singing Yoki or Yogi in the Kaiser, but the rest of the words are hazy. Maybe because they didn’t make any sense? The girls played lots of skipping. It was an accomplishment to learn how to skip double dutch! The boys played Red Rover. We used to buy hand size red, white & blue balls & throw them against the school walls. Not sure why! We collected marbles and big cat’s eyes were the best ones! We rode “coaster bikes” to school. I went to Northmount Junior High for one year in Grade 7 and learnt to play the flute in band. So much fun!! The high school for the area was Newtonbrook Secondary, but I was sent to an all girls school for Gr.8-12 & went to Lawrence Park C.I. for Gr.12 & 13. Our son teaches at Newtonbrook & lives in North York, so history has come full circle. Serendipity or just coincidence? Hm…

  118. Tina Davies Says:

    Wow! I am blown away by all these fabulous memories. Never imagined that yoki, Ordinary Movings, the ball in the stocking may have been regional Toronto games. I went to Bannockburn Public School in Toronto, near Avenue Rd & south of Wilson in the late 50’s, early 60’s. (And as an aside to the previous Christine Robert’s, I was Christine Robert’s too in those days, before I married, but didn’t come from England at 2!). We played all these games for hours & hours. Loved yoki and was really good at it, and remember cartwheeling over the arms-lengths stage. We played with a double rope sometimes too. Played ‘Ordinary Moving’ at home alone & with my friends with the red, blue & white ball, ending the song (as previously mentioned) with away-she-goes as you spin around and catch the ball as you complete the circle. Same with ball in the nylon stocking, and gradually the stocking would fray on the brick wall and the ball would fly out. Sang all those songs!! I have tried to tell people about these games over the years, and they never played them! One more thing though, and this isn’t a nice game…it is bullying. I remember bigger girls, usually in a group of 3, surrounding a smaller girl with arms linked so she couldn’t escape, and chanting…”hair, dress, or shoe, or nothing”. If the child picked ‘hair’, each big girl would pull her hair, ‘dress’…pull up her dress, shoe…step on her shoe, and if she picked ‘nothing’, then she would get all 3 while the girls laughed ferociously. Anyone remember that?

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