Who Stole the Cookie
from the Cookie Jar?

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? is a popular and fun game among the children of North America, and around the world.

Age: 3 to 10 years

No. of players: 4 or more

Equipment: None

Time: 5+ minutes

Aim: To keep the rhythm going.

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1. To play "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?", children sit in a circle. One child is chosen to be the leader.

2. The leader starts a rhythm by first clapping her thighs, then clapping her hands, repeating this over and over again, about two beats per second. All the children join in with the rhythm. Note that words with an asterisk (*) in the rhyme below are said on the beat when the thighs are clapped.

3. When the rhythm is established, the leader begins saying the rhyme.

    Leader: "*Who stole the *cookie from the *cookie *jar?"
    Leader: "*(Name of child 1) stole the *cookie from the *cookie *jar."
    Child 1: "Who *me?"
    Everyone: "Yes *you!"
    Child 1: "Couldn't *be."
    Everyone: "Then *who?"
    Child 1: "*(Name of child 4) stole the *cookie from the *cookie *jar."
    Child 4: "Who *me?"
    Everyone: "Yes *you!"
    Child 4: "Couldn't *be."
    Everyone: "Then *who?"
    Child 4: "*(Name of child 2) stole the *cookie from the *cookie *jar."
On their turn, a player can choose to accuse any other player of stealing the cookie except the player who just accused them. However, you must name a child who has not had a turn yet before you can name any other player.

4. The game continues in this way without any breaks in the rhythm or speech pattern.

5. If you choose to play "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?" to find a winner, a child is out if he falters and breaks the rhythm or chooses a child that has already had a turn (before all the children have had their go) or chooses the player who just named them. Alternatively, you can just play the game for fun.

VARIATION: To make the game a little bit harder, children are given a number (1, 2, 3, etc.) instead of their name. You are out if you use any number belonging to a child who is out.

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