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You can’t clap with one hand only.

Hand-clapping games have ruled the school play ground for centuries,  but who knew they were such a wonderful inter-generational facilitator in care homes, as well as tried and tested social bonding activities between friends in the playground?

During the first Parlours of Wonder sessions held in our partner care settings between residents and local school pupils, it was the hand-clapping games that provoked the most memories, conversation and physical interaction between residents and pupils! …Just like the proverb informs us,  “you can’t clap with one hand only.”

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I was amazed at how enthusiastically the Year 5 pupils responded to older residents recalling the songs that accompanied their hand-clapping games when they were young, such as,  ‘A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea’ and ‘My Mother Told Me (Rubber Dolly)’ .  The older residents were also entertained by some contemporary versions that pupils confidently gave renditions of, however, whilst the lyrics might have changed across generations, the basic hand-clapping sequences had not.

Hand-clapping accompanied by singing, was an activity that facilitated interaction between the school pupils and older residents, because it is an activity shared across the generations strongly associated with childhood and school, as well as being valuable because it is a physical, multisensory activity that does not exclude those with restricted mobility, hearing or vision impairment, nor those with dementia. To that we say, put your hands together and applaud (loudly!)