Can Anyone Help with a German Kids Rhyme that Sounds Like Bumpity Bump?

Deborah wrote to me asking for help with a beloved German kids poem.  Here’s her letter:

Hello,  my husband’s father (born 1896) and now he, both have used a poem with their children and grandchildren called "Rumpity Bump".  Unfortunately I never wrote the words down and recently my husband suffered a stroke which left him with speech aphasia.  All the children, grands and nephews and nieces want the words.  Excuse my high school German, but it goes something like this (Grandpa sits with child tummy down across Grandpa’s knees):

Rumpity bump zum Kiefers Haus,
Der Kiefer (shouts) zum lauden raus
Welche finger steht (here, grandpa points a finger on child’s back and child has to guess, is it mittler, dauman, etc.  If he guesses wrong grandpa says:)
Nein!  Nichts…   (here we can’t remember. 
If child guesses correctly, he says:)
Ja! …

The delightful play/poem goes on as the inn keeper sets glasses, cuts with knife and fork (guess: gabel oder messer; schneiden or stecken;
the wine glasses are placed on the "table"or poured into the glasses, the child has to decide while grandpa tickles and cuts and sticks all over the child’s back. 

Finally the guests leave in a sleigh "kuche fahren oder  lagen fahren "  to which the sleigh ride is "schneiden" and the farm buggy is "rumpity bump"  and the child giggles to fist rolls or hand slides on the back. 

All the grands LOVED this with their Papa, but none of us can remember it all.  Hope you can make out my lousy German and maybe help us.

Deborah Haar

If anyone can help with the original German version of this rhyme and/or with an English translation, please comment below.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Saturday, November 19th, 2011 at 7:52 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, German, German Children's Songs, German Nursery Rhymes, Germany, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Poems, Poetry, Readers Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a German Kids Rhyme that Sounds Like Bumpity Bump?”

  1. Charlie Says:

    I’m German but unfortunately I’ve never heard of this rhyme. I’ve tried googling different parts of it (with the correct German spelling) but didn’t get any results.

    I can only help you with a few of the words:

    rumpity bump = Rumpeldipump (also sometimes spelled as separate words Rumpel di pump)

    “shouts zum lauden raus” = Probably “schaut zum Laden raus” (= is looking out of the window)

    welche finger = should be “welcher”, with an r at the end (if it’s just one finger that the child is supposed to guess)

    Sorry I can’t help you with anything else :-(

    You might want to comb some German websites for rhymes and look for words like “Kinderreime”, “Fingerspiele” oder “Kniereiter” (they’re all different kinds of childrens rhymes).

    You might also try posting your question on a German Parenting Internetboard (“Elternforum”).

    Good luck :-)

  2. Ruth Says:

    Hello, I was trying to look for your rhyme. Do you know from what area in Germany your father-in-law lived? It could help to narrow down the search. I was looking for rhymes that were used in the 19th century but Germany was not united in that time so it would be easier to narrow down the possiblities.

  3. Ruth Says:

    I was looking around some more on this page and found this comment:

    Natalie Says:
    March 25th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Renee,
    As to your second song: Rumpity bumpity halter stock
    I remember it as: Rumpedi, bumpedi, Holderstock, wie viel Hoehrner streggt dr’ Bogg (how many horns does the goat hold up or show)? Child sits on floor with head in lap of the adult/singer of the song. Singer sings the song and places fingers on the back and as you rember “asked how many fingers she held up. If you were correct, the song continued:” Das hesch du sehr guet verrote ich due dir e Hienli broote. Wie wilsch du es aesse? Mit dr’ Gable (shape fingers and hand into a fork and tickle the child around the tummy), mit d’ Maesser (shape the fingers and hand into a knife and tickle/rub the child around the ribs) mit d’ Loeffel (shape the hand into a spoon and give the child a loving pad on the bottom). This is how I remember the song from when I attended my Swiss kindergarten in Basel many, many years was one of my favorite songs/verse/game. As to the spelling…I am not sure and this is my best guess!

    It seemed similar to your rhyme, is it?

  4. Christiane Schwickert Says:


    I am from Germany. It is old popular kids game, common in the middle and in the south of Germany.

    From Swabian/Bavaria
    Rumpelti, pumpelti (sometimes Hiltri Haltri Dü) Holderstock, wie viel Hörner het der Bock?
    Wie viel Finger stehn?
    Hest’s geroten, Schmeckst den Broten, Gläsl oder Win?
    Broten: Gut geroten!
    Gläsl: Ze bekommst eins uf din Näsel!
    Win: Ze bekommst äns hingen nin (sometimes Schlagen schlagt alli hindendrin!)
    Wrong answer: Nit geroten and the game starts again.

    Another version is from the middle of Germany (Hesse):

    Buffele buffele Hörnerbock
    wie viel Hörner hat der Bock
    wie viel Finger stehn?

    Wrong answer: Hättste xyz geraten wärst Du nicht gebuffelt worn
    (xyz = correct number)

    Correct answer: Hasts geraten, Schinkenbraten, da lauf hin, und wenn Du noch mal wieder kommst, kriegste noch e paar nin.

    Hope that was helpful

  5. Bob Says:


    My Mom was born in Germany near Basel Switz. in 1899. Came to the U.S. as a teenager. She used to play this game with us kids. Would tap fist on our back and say (as best I can reproduce it): “Bumbly-bumbly Holderstock, wie viele Horner hat der Bock, wie viele fingern steh’n?”, at which point she would place a number of fingers on our back.

    We were to guess how many fingers were on our back (not which fingers).

    Anybody know this version?



  6. Adam Says:

    Hi my name is adam my Oma has passed 10 yrs ago but I rember her nursery rhyme which went roughly . MIT fingular MIT fashular MIT elabow kepshla wrought wiffle shtart (sry I’m from Australia ) then she put fingers on my back and when I guessed the right amount she’d say hush-da-gorra smecta-gorra wit a glass of wine or a dict-ik-sender-dry reebely or swreebelly . I’m sry that’s how I remember it 30 yrs ago much appreciated any help thx

  7. Tanja Rust Says:

    Hello, have you found out the words to the rhyme? I am looking for the same one. My mother used to say it all the time to my kids. Now I’m trying to remember it and I can’t. We had the shorter version. It went something like this: Rumbele Boom der Käfer kommt haut das fessle rum und num, Messer oder Gabel? Then you would answer whether you wanted a fork or knife and you would get poked all over or cut on your back (with Oma’s hands) with the words Schneide Schneide or stupfe stupfe.

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