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Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

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The Classic Cookie Thief Sing-Along

"Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?" is a great song/game for preschoolers and primary-age children that works as an icebreaker, a mini-lesson in rhythm or attentiveness, or a mildly competitive game. The lyrics are simple and fun, and it's always sure to draw smiles and giggles, maybe even a little rush of adrenaline from kids. This song works well in a classroom circle time or at camp. We even play it in our family sometimes.

(photo by Bob Smith CC2.5)

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"Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?" Book - I highly recommend this book.

Several books are based on this popular song, but this one is my favorite. It's great fun for kids and packs in a whole lot of learning. My three-year-old received it as a gift from his grandparents recently and he has asked for it to be read read several times each day. You can even preview a video of this "Who Stole the Cookie" book from Moving Picture Books.

Here is what I've found that kids can learn.

  • Math: There are ten cookies on the first page and the number decreases by one on each subsequent page. (Counting down from ten to one)
  • Poetry: The lines of the story follow a clear rhyme and rhythm pattern.
  • Predictive Skills: Each suspected cookie thief is foreshadowed by appearing in a picture on the previous page. Also the line before ends with a word that rhymes with the upcoming suspect; "Eat a cookie? How I wish! But it must have been the. . . (turn the page) FISH!"
  • Courtroom images: Not found in many kids books, this one has a judge, court reporter, witnesses, defendants, prosecutors, print and TV media, and a confession. Of course this is all portrayed light-heartedly and the parent can choose whether to discuss these pictures or not.
  • Moral: The cookie thief realizes in the end that what he did wasn't fair so he shares the last cookie.
pig cookie jar circa. 1950s

pig cookie jar circa. 1950s

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? - Lyrics

"Who Stole the Cookie" is usually sung with the children sitting in a circle and clapping or snapping to the rythme. It works on a bus too. A variation is that a child who misses a line or misses the beat after having his/her name called goes into the cookie jar (middle of the circle) and continues to participate from there. Here are the "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar" words.

Accuser: Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

(name of a child in the circle) stole the cookie from the cookie jar.

Accused: Who, me?

Accuser/Group: Yes, you!

Accused: Couldn't be! (or "Not me!")

Accuser/Group: Then who?

The Accused then goes back to line two and says a different person's name.

(photo by Chordboard CC3.0)

Who Took the Cookie? - Teaching Tips and Activities

The good folks at Super Simple Songs have put together this classroom video of "Who Stole the Cookie." You'll notice that they've simplified the lyrics to make the song more effective for English language learners. They also have a page of "Who Stole the Cookie" activities and teaching tips, including printable cards to turn the song into a game.

More "Who Stole the Cookie" Printables, Activities, and Lesson Plans - Ready to use in your Classroom

Now we know who stole the cookies!

Now we know who stole the cookies!

Now we know who stole the cookies!

Please leave Your Comments in the Guestbook

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on May 25, 2014:

In kindergarten, I remember playing this game with the other kids. I loved it! Thanks for the fond memories!

rebekah-grelen on April 27, 2014:

So helpful! Using in my class tomorrow! Thanks!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on June 02, 2013:

What fun! I sure remember this game from working at Girl Scout Camps. The kids just loved it. I haven't thought about it in years. Thanks.

Birthday Wishes from Here on October 03, 2012:

Did you steal the cookie? Awesome lens!

Jeremy (author) from Tokyo, Japan on July 06, 2012:

@anonymous: The words are up on this page next to the picture of the pig cookie jar.

anonymous on July 06, 2012:

I want the words to it so i can write it down

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on April 06, 2012:

My best childhood girlfriend and I would spend hours on the weekend singing this song and clapping our hands together. It was so much fun to see how fast we could do it. ha

jordanmilesbask on March 16, 2012:

wow, this is the first time I heard of the song..great lens..

dahlia369 on March 06, 2012:

Such a fun lens! :)

anonymous on February 11, 2012:

It's fun to teach lessons using simple songs and books. Nice lens.

bullyingstatistics on February 09, 2012:

Brings back memories from my younger years.

Tjoedhilde on November 24, 2011:

We have this song in danish version and it was great fun to "play" the game as a child. I love how Squidoo lenses can poke your memories like this! :)

andreaberrios lm on September 14, 2011:

I love this song. i remember singing this as a child and now my kids are singing it too!! Thanks for bringing such nice memories!!

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on August 23, 2011:

I had never realized the teaching possibilities of this chant. I say chant because we never had a tune for it. We just chanted it. And I learned it during recess at junior high school.

franstan lm on August 10, 2011:

Another wonderful lens

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on August 01, 2011:

I have to admit, I stole the cookie:) Nice lens!

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on June 14, 2011:

Very nicely done, this was a favorite song.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on June 11, 2011:

Looks like a great fun activity that children would really love.

Jeremy (author) from Tokyo, Japan on June 06, 2011:

@chicagoheather: Glad you liked it.

chicagoheather on May 28, 2011:

What a great reminder of a fun song from my childhood. Thanks!

Senora M on May 25, 2011:

Cool lens. Great idea! :)

anonymous on May 25, 2011:

A really cool lens. Thank you.

JoshK47 on May 20, 2011:

I grew up with this song - awesome, old-school fun. :)

lemonsqueezy lm on May 19, 2011:

Very cool. This is a great icebreaker game for kids. It seems like they could play it f-o-r-e-v-e-r too!

OrganicMom247 on May 01, 2011:

The sons is just adorable. I am having fun listening to it! I would love to teach this kids to children because I'm pretty sure they'll enjoy it. A Great and Fun lens!

cinstress on March 10, 2011:

OK my kids are in 4th and 5th, but I reminded them of this song just yesterday. We all started laughing and singing it. But someone other words got substituted. LOL

hsschulte on March 05, 2011:

Did someone say cookies? I'm sure it would have been me if I'd have gotten there faster.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on November 22, 2010:

We used to have great fun singing this. Actually I was pretty inept at sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar. The lid would always clink.

I've lensrolled this to Cookie Jar Memories.

malloryjane on November 20, 2010:

Nice idea for an icebreaker with my junior students! I like the lens layout, great job!

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on November 20, 2010:

Neat idea for a lens ~ well done and presented! :)

chrissuard lm on November 19, 2010:

I remember the song quite well, thanks for making this lens.

Bus Stop Toy Shop on November 19, 2010:

This is a new one on me - looks fun though!

emmaklarkins on November 19, 2010:

Thanks for the memories!

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