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    Hand movements of Children playing 'Twenty-One'.

Clapping Game Twenty-One

Clapping Game, Counting Game and Elimination Game
Alternative Names
  • Spuds in for 21

There are a number of varieties of twenty-one and it sometimes functions as an elimination game.


At School 14

Players: 3
Age: 11-12

Twenty-one is a clapping game which also serves as an elimination game.

Players: sit is a circle, placing their right hand in front of the next player's left hand. Someone starts saying 'One' and brigning her right hand across to hit the right hand of the player on her left, who says 'two' and does the same thing to the next pplayer who says 'three'' etc. etc The count goes on until someon'es hand is clapped on 21 - that player is out, The game goes on until there is only one person remaining.

Girls say it is more fun when there are lots of people playing.

At School 09

Players: 3
Girls and Boys
Age: 8-9

Players stand in a circle. They shake their hands as they chant the words. On the last word, they extend as many fingers as they like on one or both hands. They hold their fingers out and someone counts around the fingers until they reach twenty-one. That person is 'in'.

There are two version of the chant.

1) 'Twenty-one is in, sucked in.'

2) 'Twenty-one is in, sucked in. Banana Skin, chuck it in the bin.'

At School 16

Twenty - One, a selection game, was played at School 16 Pimary school. It appears in video and on photo but there is no textual description of it. Video located at Museum Victoria. Photos at National Library of Australia

At School 02

Players: 3
Age: 12

Players: shake their hands while saying, 'Twen- ty-one!' On the final shake, they hold out any number of fingers. Someone counts around the fingers until they get to 21. The person whose finger is 21 is 'It'.

At School 04

Players: Several
Age: 8

Players: stand in a circle and say the rhyme:

TWENTY-ONE IS IT, BANANA SPLIT! (sometimes they just say 'Twenty-one is It')

while shaking both their hands in front of them. When they say the last word they bring one hand forward and hold out any number of fingers. Someone counts around the fingers until they get to 21. The person whose finger is counted 21 is 'It'.

Another version at School 04 was 'Spuds in for 21.

Players: 5
Age: 11

Counting-out rhyme - a different version of 'Twenty-one'. Players: stand in a circle and shake their hands in time with the rhythm of the rhyme. On the last word they hold out any number of fingers. The caller counts around the fingers until he gets to 21, and that person is 'It.


Spuds in for twenty-one,
Pig's bum,
Made out of bubble-gum
Yum, yum.

Played at

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