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Frog in the Middle

Louis Wain postcard, 1908

Frog Jumping Day

May 13

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Hey! hey! hi!
Frog in the middle and there shall lie;
He can’t get out and he shan’t get out —
hey! hey! hi!"

~ Traditional

Hearken back to your childhood with this lively jig which gets you hopping with double triangles and setting in two froggy orientations! This dance draws its inspiration from the age-old children's game "Frog in the Middle," which traces its origins back to the 13th century. In this playful activity, one child assumes the role of the 'frog' by sitting on the ground, tucking their legs underneath. Surrounding the frog, other children form a circle. The game commences as these players gently jostle or nudge the 'frog,' who must then attempt to tag one of them without standing up. The tagged child replaces the previous 'frog,' taking up the central position. An alternative, more dynamic version of the game involves the child in the middle trying to escape a ring formed by the other children who clasp hands tightly together. "Ribbit! Ribbit!" calls are optional when setting. 💚 🐸 🐸 🐸

Frog in the Middle

In 1865, Mark Twain’s first short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” tells of a casual competition between two men betting on whose frog jumps higher, and marks the origin of Frog Jumping Day!


The ability of frogs to jump have always fascinated and surely inspired the game of "Frog in the Middle," a children's game dating back to at least to the 13th century.  



From The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by Alice Bertha Gomme, the rules are:

One child is seated on the ground with his legs under him; the other players form a ring round. They then pull or buffet the centre child or Frog, who tries to catch one of them without rising from the floor. The child who is caught takes the place of the centre child. Another method of playing the game is similar to “Bull in the Park.” The child in the centre tries to break out of the ring, those forming it keeping the Frog in the ring by any means in their power, while still keeping their hands clasped. They sometimes sing or say—

Hey! hey! hi! Frog in the middle and there shall lie;
He can’t get out and he shan’t get out—hey! hey! hi!

They dance round when saying this, all keeping a watch on the Frog, who suddenly makes a rush, and tries to break through the ring.  


The namesake dance below has several froggy elements.


For an audio recording of Mark Twain's famous short story, click the book cover!  

Frog in the Middle

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Frog in the Middle

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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