Looking for a Polish Finger Play about Five Baby Chicks

Melissa wrote me…

My grandmother is turning 90 and I am putting together a scrapbook. I saw your website and thought maybe you could help me. I am looking for the Polish writing of a hand play my grandmother taught me. It is about a mama chicken who has five baby chicks that she is feeding. She only has enough food for four chicks (four fingers on hand) so she has to throw out (or maybe worse – chop off the head of the fifth?)

It sounds something like this:

Jub a wha cork a sca jep jelk yik pully cha wha screen ya sa thima dowel thima dowel thima dowel thima dowel a pully cok a ja two pierce two cousa (4X) a pulley jus jus a wha (tickle under arm).

Would you know of anyone who might be able to help?

Thanks so much,

Melissa Soule

If anyone can help with these lyrics, please comment below or email me.



This article was posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2007 at 1:04 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Finger Plays, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Poland, Polish, Questions, 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.

31 Responses to “Looking for a Polish Finger Play about Five Baby Chicks”

  1. Ilona Says:

    I’m Polish and I know that hand play. It’s very popular one. But I can write that only in the Polish language, I don’t know how to translate that in english.

    It goes like this:

    Sroczka kaszke warzyla, warzyla, warzyla.
    Temu dala, temu dala, temu dala,
    temu dala a temu nie dala i FYRRRRRRRR odleciala.


  2. Lisa Says:

    Christine wrote…

    I know that some of the words say that “this one got” temu dala and one did not get any – temi nei dala. But I will send this one to my Aunt and see if she can help out. Will let you know.

  3. sis Says:

    It goes like this:
    Tu sroczka kaszke warzyla:
    temu dala na miseczke
    temu dala na lyzeczke
    temu dala do kubeczka
    temu dala do dziobeczka
    a temu malemu nic nie dala tylko mu lepek urwala i frrrrr.. prosto do *** poleciala.

    *** – you put the name of the baby you’re doing it for :)

  4. Lisa Says:

    Thanks everyone! I’m wondering if anyone could translate it into English?

  5. Emily Says:

    Here Magpie measured her porridge:
    this one* she gave some in the bowl
    this one* she gave some on the spoon
    this one* she gave some in the cup
    this one* she gave some in the beak
    and this one* she gave nothing but ripped off his head and frrrr…. straight to *** she flew

    Honestly……. I know this little story since I was a kid and nobody ever mentioned to me the whole head rip off part.
    My grandma just ended with:
    this one she gave nothing and straight to *** she flew

    *pointing at fingers

  6. Frances Says:

    My mother used to play this hand game with us… passed on to her by her parents born and raised in Poland . She did mention that the fifth chicken had his head taken(to put it lightly) off and that he ran from the stump to the barrel, from the stump to the barrel, and into the cold, cold water( tu pien, to kwoda, tu pien, tu kwoda , tu zhimno,zhimno voda is how it sounded to me) Of course, when the chicks are pecking at the corn, you lightly tap the palm of the child’s hand. I believe that a farmer was feeding some to this one, some to this one,etc. (te mu dowa, temu dowa, etc ).

    Here are the phonetis of how it sounde to me:(as I remember it)

    jobowa cocoshsca yagiokee znalaswatch tidi a godi,
    te mu dowa, te mu dowa, te mu dowa, te mu dowa, te mu wopeh curvah wah,…. frrrobel achowa!
    tu pien, tu kwoda, tu pien, tu kwoda, tu pien ,tu kwoda, tu zhimno,zhimno voda!

    I hope this helps!

  7. Melissa Soule Says:

    Thanks to all who replied I’m going to try and piece everything together
    and post the results if I think it seems ok…

  8. John Andrew Says:

    Will try putting things together also.

    Good luck, Melissa.

    Perhaps we can pull together.

  9. Barbara Says:

    This is a version my Mother sang to us–Tu, tu, tu-
    kokoszka dzobala Jagielki, Temu dala, temu dala, temu dala, temu dala i temu
    lepek urwala—i Frrrrr do nieba poleciala.

    Here, here here-
    a hen was digging for millet-She gave some to this one (4x)
    and this one’s head she tore off(ugh!)
    and Frrrrr to heaven she flew off.

  10. Hilel Salomon Says:

    When I was a child, my Mom sang one to me, and I was trying to duplicate it for my youngest granddaughter. I couldn’t finish it though and would love some help with this:
    Vrona Zhoshu, temu dowa kashke. Temu dowa, temu dowa, temu dowa, … na otiem zaponiawa. Proshe do ? I figured out that the temu dowa means gave one to him/her… and the otiem zaponiawa, means she forgot or didn’t have, at which point she goes to ? I sure would like to finish it and would appreciate any help.

  11. Mr. Jagielski Says:

    My father used to play a game similar to these as well but going a bit differently in which he would sing something like Kash ka marishka boom boom boom. temu dala, temu dala, temu dala, temu dala, temu dala nosoko provono and grap my nose. anybody heard of this one?

  12. Irving Says:

    I remember a polish didty my mother would do. In the palm of the hand she would say these words, and I don’t think it is complete. This is what it sounded like.
    In the palm tu,tu,tu,babaloo,knepst,stuvyala, etc. then it was keezla,meezala (tickle) up the arm.
    It would mean alot to me if anyone could complete this.
    I just saw this in a movie Casino Jack , Maury Chaykin turns a guys palm up and said tu,tu,tu, thats all. He died, and so has the director.

  13. Michele Says:

    My family is trying to remember a Polish rhyme our grandma did about a chick pecking grain up the arm and all the way to heaven at which point she would tickle under the chin or arm. I never heard about the head..how disillusioning! Our rhyme sounded like “tu peen tu kuska” while moving up the arm. Is there a different rhyme??

  14. casey Says:

    if anyone can help:

    looking for a nursery rhyme about “vaji mamishka kashka, vaji mamishka kashka, tema dowa, tema dowa…” we can’t remember how the ending goes. the hand motions are doing a circle in the childs hand, and then touching each finger as you say the “tema dowa”, but we can’t remember the ending.


  15. Kristen K. Says:

    Casey- I was looking for the same thing….
    (did it ever involve spitting on your hand?Not gross…just making the noise) And it always ended with “Tema dowa, Tema dowa, OUT THE WINDOW!”- We were the ones saying “Out the window”…. but I have no idea what it meant!

    I’m also looking for a poem about a chipmunk or squirrel that sort of goes :Choochick, Choochick, Nya Nya Nya….
    The rest of it is mixed up in my head… I wish I had paid better attention to my Bupchi.

  16. MariLynn Steiman Says:

    My Mom’s family played the same game with me when I was three; but the words were in Russian/Polish/Yiddish? ,While tracing with fingers on my palm, the words ‘Kezzela Mazella’( If I knew how to spell this, the problem would be solved) Their fingers would then travel up to my neck or ears as they said the last word.(which I do not remember.) Last evening I watched a movie called Cassino Jack. During a scene in which a mobster(Tony…played by Maury Chaykin) was talking with a shipping magnate,Tony takes the shipping magnate’s hand, draws the circles on his palm and recites the words ‘Keezela Mazella’ two times. When his fingers reach the magnate’s neck; he says ‘Bang’ or ‘Boo’.In a later scene, he indeed shoots the magnate.Does anyone have some information to help with spelling and translation?Thanks so much….it would mean so much to me.

  17. Agnieszka Says:

    May be this translation will help:

    A magpie cooked her porridge, scalded her tail.
    This one has received because he was tiny.
    This one has received because he was short.
    This one has received because he carried water.
    This one has received because he asked.
    This one has received nothing and she frrrr… flew away…
    … She fell down here (touch the palm)
    … She sat here (touch the elbow)
    … And she hid here! (tickle under the arm)

  18. Lisa Says:

    I asked Agnieszka Magnucka who’s from Poland about this rhyme and she wrote:

    It sounds like “Tu sroczka kaszke wazyla” – you’ve got it on your website. The idea is very similar to “Round, round the garden”…

    There’re a few versions of this rhyme. I know another one:

    Sroczka kaszke wazyla, ogonek sparzyla
    Temu dala bo malutki.
    Temu dala bo krociutki.
    Temu dala bo wode nosil.
    Temu dala bo sie prosil.
    A temu nic nie dala tylko fruuu, poleciala…
    Tu padla, tu siadla, a tu sie schowala!

    Thanks Agnieszka!

  19. Beth Says:

    I learned something similar from my grandmother who grew up in Poland and spoke Yiddish. She was born about 1894. She originally knew what the Polish meant, but by the time she taught it to my mother she no longer remembered any of the Polish she knew as a child, but we understood it was something about chickens getting their heads cut off and the thunb was the mother hen. It had hand movements as well. Here is how we learned it.
    (hold the child’s palm face up) make spitting noise 3 times into palm
    (tap on palm while saying something like) tu, tu, tu, polishna, -a few more words ending in “na” djiboki, navoki..SHTERIGOOKI
    ( now you start pulling gently and wiggling each of the 4 fingers and saying this at each finger) tima dalla
    (now close the habd into a fist and say) tima lechalee avalle
    (making chopping motions with you hand , one for each word as you chop from the wrist up towards the armpit) ain, pain, kloda vloda
    (yikle in the armpit while saying) jimnavoda, jimnavoda, jimnavoda, jimnavoda

    Does anyone remember anything like that. Some of the ones cited above seem to have parts of it. Remember this is the 3rd generation that didn’t know Polish, and its been about 24 years since I have played this with my children

  20. Steve Says:

    I see my dad do this with my nephew and he loves it. My dad says he learned it from his mom in Poland. His version goes like this:

    First he does a raspberry on his palm
    Temo dalla

  21. Mark Koczela Says:

    My dad used to play finger game that went something like this:

    Tu katzka wopa jewa ingno swiaka.
    Timu dawa
    Timu dawa
    Timu dawa
    Timu wai….I am not sure about the rest.

    Does anyone recognize it?

  22. tamara Says:

    My great grandmother used to do this rhyme. My grandmother translated it a bit different…maybe she didn’t want to tell me about heads being ripped off. She said it was a duck who couldn’t feed her babies she boiled a pot of water. She would draw circles on my hand for that part. It ends with her sacrificing herself to make duck soup. She flies to heaven for a piece of bread. It was the frrrr di neiba part I always remembered. She would pull my thumb up into the air.

  23. Cheryl Says:

    My grandmother – who was from Poland – did this with me when I was a child. The only part I could remember was Timu Dawa… Looked it up and found this – I love the Internet! Wish I could find a recording of it on You Tube! If anyone knows of one, please let me know! She died last year and I don’t want to forget it.

  24. Cheryl Says:

    Please let me know if any of you have a recording of how this goes!

  25. Dianne Says:

    This was from a ‘play’ performed by young children, at St. Florian in Hamtramck, MI also at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Wyandotte, in the 1950’s. Children were dressed as chickens, one child portrayed the farmer’s wife, throwing chicken feed to the little chicks…who sang the following

    “cip cip cip kureczki bardzo was prosze czubate koguty…”

    I’m looking for the rest of the song.

    Many thanks

  26. Jeffrey Goodis Says:

    I have an accurate Polish version and the english translation also. Just email me and I will send it to you.

  27. Eli Says:

    Jeffrey – would you send your version?

  28. Andrew Sucheski Says:

    I’m looking for a Polish finger play that my grandfather used to do with us, and the more I look, the more it seems like “Tu sroczka kaszke warzyla” I found on this site. His version was a little different, and I’ll try to spell out what I can remember:
    First line, he pokes inside my palm with his fingertip, and it started with, “Tu, tu, tu…” The rest I’m fuzzy on, but it could easily be “sroczka kaszke warzyla.”
    Next, he counted off on each finger, starting with the thumb:
    Temu dala,
    Temu viet sawa,
    En vijio,
    En swisho,
    A te FRRR a dlatska!
    That last one was emphatic, with a big motion like pulling off the pinky, and it would make sense for it to be the bit about ripping off a head, or maybe just the bird flying away. I did ask him to translate it once, but all I remember is the “Tu, tu, tu” meaning “Here, here, here.” I’d love it if anyone can clarify this version for me; I want to use it on my own baby boy. Thanks!

  29. Eileen Carmody Says:

    My dad’s Polish colleague used to do this finger play with me when I was about 3 or 4, so I am very fuzzy on the exact words, but will write them the way they sounded to me, and many of the words have been forgotten so I’ll just keep them blank and the spellings will obviously be wrong, but if anyone knows about this version please let me know. This is how it sounded.

    Tu tu sarochka,
    Ogonux spesheba
    Frrrrrr lachi lachi lachi ……………… (then he would take my name at the end).

    This is all I remember of the words.

  30. Lisa Says:

    Sue Davis wrote looking for a nursery rhyme that “Sounded like:

    Pepta kasha goot tavala nach a pesta ishka-2 pen 2 clone 2-pen 2-clone Tim a dollar Tim a dolla

    Tickles up the arm? Grandma was from Poland Lithuania. Born in 1888.”

  31. Brad Says:

    My grandmother’s version was something like:



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