Parenting: Boost Executive Function with Hand Clapping Games

February 7th 2018

hand clapping imageexecutive-function image

OK so I’m taking a parenting class called Mind Matters, compliments of Harvard University and the Cambridge Public School District.  (#Blessings.)

Thanks to workshops and novice research in the past, I have come to understand Executive Functioning to be defined like:

ExecutiveFunction defined

When my six year old daughter gets herself dressed to shoes, jacket, hat, gloves, scarf, backpack, homework and a snack all ready to go… I swoon at what I consider to be her marvelous Executive Functioning.


⇒  On a personal note, the extent to which I see (always at my restaurant Kids Night jobs) parents allowing their kids to melt their brains with nonstop video devices (aka: reinforcing the amygdala, or “Reptile Brain” and undermining the growth of the prefrontal cortex, or “ABILITY TO FUNCTION”) drives me  a b s o l u t e l y  nuts… but that is a post for another day.   Or not.

Prefrontal Cortex


The researchers at Harvard define Executive Functioning as:

  • working memory
  • inhibitory control
  • flexible mindset

And there just happens to be a FUN ACTIVITY kids can do that help cultivate all three of these qualities.  And GUESS WHAT; it’s Patty Cake!  Or “Hand Clapping Games.”


Here are some rhymes for future reference:


miss mary mack.gif

Make New Friends

Children’s Song

Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver,
The other is gold. 

A circle is round,
It has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend.

A fire burns bright, 
It warms the heart.
We’ve been friends,
From the very start.

You have one hand,
I have the other.
Put them together,
We have each other.

Silver is precious, 
Gold is too.
I am precious,
And so are you.

You help me, 
And I’ll help you 
And together
We will see it through.

The sky is blue
The Earth is green
I can help
To keep it clean.

Across the land
Across the sea
Friends forever
We will always be.


And for the risque…

Miss Lucy Had a Steam Boat

Hand Clapping Song

Miss Lucy had a steam boat,
The steam boat had a bell, (Toot! Toot!) 
Miss Lucy went to heaven, 
And the steam boat went to 
Hello operator, give me # 9 and,
If you disconnect me, I will chop off your 
Behind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass, 
Miss Lucy sat upon it, and broke her big fat
Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies 
The boys are in the bathroom, pulling down their 
Flies are in the country, bees are in their hives 
Miss Lucy and her boy friend 
Are kissing in the D-A-R-K (spell out)
Dark! Dark! Dark!


About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
This entry was posted in childhood, comedy, domestic life, education, faith, health, learning, love, making art, mental health, music, parenthood, patience, school. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Parenting: Boost Executive Function with Hand Clapping Games

  1. Pingback: Parenting: Video Game Access | circuskitchen

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