In honor of the upcoming Appalachian Studies Association Conference, we thought we would share some fun Appalachian culture with you! The next time you’re bored, pass the time by playing Drop the Handkerchief like so many Appalachian children did. You may recognize the jingle that goes along with it:
“A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket.
I sent a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it.
A little child picked it up and put it in his pocket,
His pocket, he put it in his pocket.”
Here are the rules for the game:
1) Pick somebody to be the leader and give them a handkerchief.
2) The remaining players make a circle by linking arms. Be sure to leave the leader outside of the circle.
3) The leader skips around the outside of the circle while the players on the inside sing the jingle.
4) At some point, the leader needs to drop the handkerchief behind the feet of one of the players.
5) Once the person who gets the handkerchief dropped behind their feet realizes that they were picked, they grab the handkerchief and chase the leader around the circle.
6) If the leader gets caught before they make it around the circle, they take another turn dropping the handkerchief behind somebody’s feet. However, if they make it all the way around the circle without being caught, then the person who was selected by the original leader becomes the new leader.
Like this game? It’s featured among many others in Appalachian Toys and Games by Linda Hager Pack! Be sure to check out the rest of her book, as well as the beautiful illustrations done by A is for Appalachia illustrator, Pat Banks!