Issue 55: Leo the Lion

I was taught this game by a talented colleague (whose name is a palindrome, if you want to play guessing games!)

The tune is the same as every single na–na-nana–na game you ever heard in the playground. Let’s assume you are using the notes C, D, E, G and A. The children sit in a circle, and one holds a small stuffed lion.

Here are the words, colour-coded for the pitch

All: Leo the Lion, what do you say, who do you want to eat today? 

Leo: I want Lucy 

All: How do you want her?

Leo: With some bread and butter

All: Yum Yum Yum                  

Leo is thrown to Lucy and the song starts again with “Lucy” choosing a new child, and deciding how to eat them (with custard, chopped into pieces, on a pizza…). The “throwing” element adds to the popularity of the game.

If you don’t have a stuffed lion to hand, improvise! We used Dilly the Dog this week – other animals who have their a chance to eat children are Tiggy the Tiger, Billy the Bear and even Puffa the Lump. I have found the game works well with all age groups.

This is a great little pentatonic singing game; I used it this week with year 5/6 to start the lesson. If you are thinking that year 6 ought to be further ahead that working with pentatonic melodies, I should explain that they have had a year of Wider Opportunities samba. This has made them into experts at dealing with rhythmic ostinati, maintaining the pulse, reading and layering up rhythms and following signals. However they have had fewer opportunities for working with pitch and timbre, which I can make up for this year.

Anyway, they all joined in and we had a happy ten minutes improvising different ways to eat each other, before moving on to Funmje Alafia and using pitched percussion.

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