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1001 Stories Collection

Round and Round the Garden

1001 Teddy Bear Teddy Bear
Added on 06th October 2020

Oral tradition Nursery rhyme


A great action rhyme for very young children.


Round and round the garden (trace circles on a child’s palm)

Like a teddy bear

One step (walk fingers to the wrist)

Two steps (walk fingers to the elbow)

And tickle you under there! (tickle child under the arm)

Why we chose it

A popular action rhyme played with babies and very small children.

Where it came from

A similar rhyme existed in Ireland featuring a hare: ‘Round and round the racecourse, catch a little hare, one step, two steps, tickly under there!’

In 1902 President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt went on a hunting trip during which he ordered that an injured bear be killed mercifully. This led to political cartoons of the president with the bear in the Washington Post. Shortly after this, the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company produced a stuffed toy bear, which they named Teddy after the president. The rhyme in its current form is therefore likely to be a twentieth century invention. It came to Britain in the late 1940s.

Where it went next

The rhyme has been collected into many anthologies including Round and Round the Garden illustrated by Ian Beck and The Oxford Treasury of Nursery Rhymes.

Associated stories

In 2007 Tony Ross produced a Round and Round the Garden book in his Little Princess series in which the Little Princess spends the day playing in the garden.

Added on 06th October 2020

Oral tradition Nursery rhyme