Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?
"Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?" or the Cookie Jar Song is a sing-along game of children's music. The song is an infinite-loop motif, where each verse directly feeds into the next. The game begins with the children sitting or standing, arranged in an inward-facing circle.
The song usually begins with the group leader asking who stole a cookie from an imaginary (or sometimes real) cookie jar, followed by the name of one of the children in the circle. The child questions the "accusation," answered by an affirmation from the "accuser," followed by continued denial from the "accused." The accuser asks who stole the cookie, followed by the accused's saying the name of another child in the circle. The call-and-answer is potentially infinitely recursive, limited only by the number of participants or the amount of time the participants wish to spend on it.
Sometimes, a clapping or snapping beat is used by the children in the circle. Sometimes, the other children in the group sing along with the "accuser" after the "accused" has been identified. Some variations on the theme include the use by teachers of the song as a lesson in keeping with a beat and improvisation. As with many children's songs, there can be many variations on the execution of the performance.
The song's lyrics are usually:
- Accuser: Who stole/took the cookie/cookies from the cookie jar?
- (name of a child in the circle) stole/took the cookie/cookies from the cookie jar.
- Accused: Who, me?
- Accuser/Group: Yes, you!/Yeah, you!
- Accused: Not I!/Couldn't be!/Not me!/Wasn't me!
- Accuser/Group: Then who?
This is followed by the "accused" saying the name of someone else, as "(name of a child in the circle) stole the cookie from the cookie jar," and the subsequent back-and-forth lines are repeated. The song may be repeated ad infinitum or it may end - if it is being performed as part of a game, where members of the group are eliminated by failing to keep up with the prescribed beat or eliminated as a result of being chosen as one of the accused.
The song, and game, is featured as one of the sequences in Grandpa's Magical Toys; the only accusation that is missing is that of the Dutch Girl, and she reveals that she got all the toys and the last cookie. The song was also done on three episodes of Barney & Friends. A variation of the song has been used in Smart4life commercials in the US beginning in 2009. The song was also used in the Family Guy episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein." The song was used in The Simpsons episode "Kamp Krustier" where Chief Wiggum arrests two kids after they sing it in a group activity.