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 song/game, sung usually with young and old children in a pre-school, pre-k, kindergarten, school, day camp, home, homeschool, corporate office orientation, or another simple setting. The song is an infinite-loop motif, each verse directly feeds into the next. It is usually performed as a fun game, with the children sitting or standing in a circle.
The song usually begins with the group leader asking who stole a cookie from an apocryphal (or, in some cases, 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 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: 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. 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."
- Example of a lesson plan used by teachers, with lyrics, and appropriate grade level.
- A variation on the performance of the piece, noting the importance of keeping to a rhythm.