The Farmer in the Dell Game

By July 15, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments
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This is an easy no-prep singing game that young kids love to play!

farmer in the dell

“The Farmer in the Dell” is a traditional singing game that is easy to play at a child’s birthday party.

Because it requires no supplies it’s a game to keep in your back pocket if you need an extra activity to play with the kids.



Game Materials:

None…just a large space to form the circle of kids.

Before the Party:

You just want to be familiar with the song. Try YouTube or purchase the song to play during the game.

Party Time:

  1. One player, usually the birthday child, is the “farmer.
  2. The rest of the children form a circle around him, holding hands and walking or skipping while they sing “The Farmer in the Dell”.
  3. When they sing the second verse, “The farmer takes a wife,” the farmer points to someone who then joins him in the center of the circle. The rest of the kids continue singing.
  4. With each new verse of the song a player is added to the dell,
  5. When “the rat takes the cheese,” the last child joins the circle.
  6. Then all of the children form a circle around the cheese and sing the final verse,”the cheese stands alone.”
  7. Usually the cheese gets to be the farmer in the next game if you play again.

Song lyrics:

The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the farmer in the dell.

The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the farmer takes a wife.

The wife takes a child, the wife takes a child,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the wife takes a child.

The child takes a nurse, the child takes a nurse,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the child takes a nurse.

The nurse takes a cow, the nurse takes a cow,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the nurse takes a cow.

The cow takes a dog, the cow takes a dog,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the cow takes a dog.

The dog takes a cat, the dog takes a cat,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the dog takes a cat.

The cat takes a rat, the cat takes a rat,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the cat takes a rat.

The rat takes the cheese, the rat takes the cheese,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the rat takes the cheese.

The cheese stands alone, the cheese stands alone,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the cheese stands alone

Expert Party Tip:
You may have to get creative by adding verses for more players or change these words…if you feel inspired.