Recipe for Fun!
Pat-a-Cake, Pattycake, or Patty-cake - however you spell it - this sweet song is more than a classic tune - it’s also a fun game to play with babies and toddlers. Young children love all the hand movements, one-on-one attention, and happy lyrics that go along with the Pat-a-cake song. No baby is too young to play, it can be one of your baby’s first games. They will delight in their caregiver singing the song to them and making all the funny gestures that go along with it.
Tip for How to Play Pat-a-Cake with a Baby or Toddler:
When teaching a young child the arm movements that go along with the Pat-a-cake song, it is helpful to go through the song several times hand-over-hand with your child until they get the hang of it. Some families really play up the “roll it” and “pat it” lyrics, making the “l” sound last a long time, and making a lot of patting motions for “pat it”. Feel free to add your own twist that will be special to your family - like a gentle poke in your baby’s tummy or big raised hands at the end of the song.
Pat-a-Cake Song Lyrics:
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
Roll it, Pat it
And mark it with a “B” for baby and me!
For baby and me
For baby and me!
Pat it and mark it with a “B”
Put it in the oven for baby and me!
How to Play Pat-a-Cake or Pattycake:
- For the first 2 lines of the song, each player claps their own hands together, then uses one hand to clap the other player’s alternate hand.
- The third line of the song is acted out, as though you and your child are each actively baking a cake.
- For the “roll it” portion of the third line, make fists with both hands and bicycle your arms one over the other, like you are rolling a blanket - or dough!
- For the “pat it” portion of the third line, you and your child can use a flat hand to make a patting motion - pretending to smash down a ball of cake mix.
- The fourth line is a tricky one for pre-readers. Each player draws an invisible “B” in the air with their index finger.
- While the final line is being sung, each player first acts out opening and placing an item in the oven, then brings their arms in to rock a pretend baby.
The Benefits of a Game of Pat-a-Cake:
Children’s songs with hand movements like the Pat-a-cake Song are a great way for young children to hone fine and gross motor skills. The song is also a perfect play your way to a deeper connection with your baby, toddler or pre-schooler. Older siblings can also play the role of teacher, and help their younger brother or sister master the hand movements. When older kids play with younger kids, they learn patience, empathy and leadership skills. Plus, it’s a fun game for very young children to bond over. There are also a lot of benefits to singing with children. Playing gives young children the chance to practice with pitch and stretches their vocabulary.