"Skip to My Lou" is a popular children's song. Skip to My (The) Lou was a popular partner-stealing dance from America's frontier period.
In early America, some Puritans regarded the fiddle as a tool of the devil (since it led to dancing, which was regarded as sinful). Faced with such a religious obstacle to socializing, young people developed the “play-party,” in which the objectionable features of dancing were removed or masked. The dancers sang and the audience clapped to create rhythm for their own music. The play-party became a popular pastime for teenagers and young married couples. As people moved westward square dancing and barn dancing became acceptable, at least to some.
“Skip to My Lou” is a simple game of stealing partners (or swapping partners as in square dancing). It begins with any number of couples skipping hand in hand around in a ring. A lone boy in the center of the moving circle of couple sings, “Lost my partner, what'll I do?” as the girls whirl past him. The young man in the center hesitates while he decides which girl to choose, singing, “I'll get another one just like you.” When he grasps the hand of his chosen one, the latter's partner moves to the center of the ring and the game continues. It's an ice-breaker, providing an opportunity for the participants to get acquainted with one another and to get into a good mood.
The “lou” in the title comes from the word "loo", a Scottish word for “love.”
The song was also sung in an episode of each of the TV series: Dexter, The Virginian and Daniel Boone.
In Kidsongs' "A Day at Old MacDonald's Farm", the song was sung when the jump-ropers are dancing. This song was also heard as an instrumental underscore at the beginning of "Play Along Songs" released in 1993.
Peter Sam sings his own song from this in a Thomas and Friends episode: "Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady".