This handbook can be used as an independent teaching resource but was designed to accompany the video of the same name. "John Kanakanaka" is a collection of 25 children's playground songs, skipping, counting and clapping games that can be used to introduce children to the basic building blocks of music, song and dance. Although traditionally found in playgrounds, the items on this video are a combination of material found in the archives of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and traditional items currently in vogue in a Hackney School playground. Pam Davies, an inspirational music teacher, uses this material to enthuse and educate her pupils about musical structures while they have fun and enjoy sharing their repertoire with her. We hope this resource will prove useful for play organisers, community leaders, school teachers, support staff and home educators who want to learn in a more traditional way: that is to watch the activity, copy it, just as children do in a playground, initially to recreate the games and then be creative by perhaps changing the words or the movement sequence to suit ones own particular needs.
This is after all what children do naturally in their own surroundings. These games encourage fitness, coordination, language practice and tolerance, negotiating skills and team work, all things that children need to grow into healthy, happy adults.