A Sailor Went to Sea


This popular children’s song is part of our fall music collection for 2016, entitled “Clouds and Puddles”. Here is a fun video that I hope you’ll enjoy watching and listening to.

There are several versions of this song, and it is also popular in Spanish as a rhyme without music, “Marinero que se fue a la mar”. It can be sung with no movements, or played as a hand-clapping game in partners with varying levels of difficulty. The simplest version involves two partners facing one another and clapping first one, then the other, and then both hands together, and repeating that pattern over and over. In another version, the word “sea” or “see” is accompanied by a salute. In this version, when the verse is sung a second time, the word “chop” is substituted for “sea” at the end of each line, accompanied by a “chopping” movement; a third verse then substitutes the word “knee” accompanied by a knee slap, and a fourth verse includes all three words and movements, thus: “A sailor went to sea, chop, knee … “. The Spanish version has three different movements as well, but instead of the “chop”, each partner slaps his or her arms to her chest in a criss-cross motion, and the words don’t change, only the movements.

Hand clapping games are popular with children of all cultures around the world, and help to develop rhythm, co-ordination and social and musical intelligence.

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