Here is an animation with a duet version of the song. Enjoy! You can sing along as you watch and then do the activities below. Afterwards, you can learn to play the song by downloading the free sheet music (coming soon) for guitar and piano with lyrics, and since this is also a colouring page, you can colour in all the characters. Finally, you could learn the duet part or compose your own.
Watch all nursery rhyme videos on one continuous playlist:
Subscribe to our youtube channel:
Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of
The hill and he marched
Them down again.
And when they were up they were up.
And when they were down they were down.
And when they were only half way up,
They were neither up nor down.
* Bounce your child on your lap as though they are riding a horse. Lift your child up every time the lyrics mention the soldiers going up the hill. This is good for your arm muscles!
* With older children, get them to sit down on the floor at the beginning, stand up for the top of the hill, stand with knees bent for halfway up, and to sit down when the soldiers are down the hill.
* Miss out the word 'up' but still do the actions. See how many people it catches out! Then try missing out 'down' instead.
* Keep repeating the song, getting faster each time.
* Sing this song as you march around the room, or as you walk along the street. I find it helps my daughter to get somewhere a little faster!
The oldest printed version of the lyrics date from 1642 under the title 'Old Tarlton's song' and describe the King of France rather than the Duke of York. Tarlton was a stage clown from 1530-1588. The version we know today wasn't printed until 1913 in Arthur Rackham's Mother Goose. As a result it is unclear which Duke of York is being referred to.