Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Playing The Hand Clap Game "Slide" (information & examples)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Revised November 6, 2019

This pancocojams post provides performance information & examples of the "hand clap game called "slide" (and similar titles).

Comments about how to play "Slide" and some similarities and differences between that hand game and other hand clap games are included in this post. Seven videos of "Slide" are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and recreational purposes.

WARNING: The web pages of some examples and comments include profanity, pejorative referents, sexually explicit content, and other content that I consider to be inappropriate for children. In keeping with pancocojams' policy, none of the examples that are featured on this page include such content.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who were quoted in this post. Thanks also to those featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"Slide" (alternative name: "Slide Baby", "Slide, Slide, Slippery Slide", "Numbers", "Slime yuck", and other similar titles.) is a widely known two partner hand clap game. I don't know when or where "Slide" was first performed in the United States, but judging by how well that game is known in among many African Americans, "Slide" is probably of African American origin.

For the record, I'm African American and I don't recall this game from my childhood [in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 1950s]. I've never learned how to play "Slide", but my daughter recalls playing this game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the early to mid 1980s.

Unlike most other hand clap games, "Slide"'s hand clap pattern is performed without the clappers chanting any rhyming verses. Often the rhymers are silent. However, in some performances of this game, both of the clappers or one of the clappers chants the name of the hand clap game and announce the consecutive number sequences that the clappers are performing. Here are three examples of that type of chanting:
Example #1:
From "re: HAND GAMES!!! yaaaa y!" By jazzy_lady
On Sun Jun 18, 2006
"Slide slide slippery slide
1-1 ONE
1-2 1-2 ONE, TWO
1-2-3 1-2-3 ONE, TWO, THREE
1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR."

Example #2
"I played this one before. I'm good at it! slide baby slide baby one, two, three!"
-north_ernlights, February 19 2009, 20:16:30 UTC, “children play... terminological question” [hereafter given as linguaphiles: Slide"]

Example #3
From "What hand-clapping and jumprope rhymes do you remember?"
"Does anyone remember "Slide"?
Baby one, baby two..."
Notice that, with the exception of the name "Numbers", the titles for this game are from the games' introductory phrase or, in the case of "Slide Baby", the words that are said in front of each sequential number in the game.

Unlike most hand clap games, Slide is often played by males as well as females from around age seven years throughout adulthood. That adults play "Slide" is documented by various YouTube videos, including the examples found below.

It's my sense that males and adults are more inclined to play hand games such as Slide & hand slapping games such as "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky", "Stella Ella Ola", & "Quack Diddley Oso" because those hand games involve moderate to high levels of hand coordination & timing skills and/or have a mildly competitive element much more than other hand clap games. "Slide" differs from the above mentioned hand slap rhymes in that it isn't an elimination group game & it isn't played by people standing or sitting in a circle.

Similar to the hand clap rhymes "Lemonade" and (versions of) "High Low Jigalow", the tempo in renditions of many versions of "Slide" increases with each sequential number. Playing the game faster increasing the difficulty of the game. As a blogger wrote about the game Slide:
"ISTR that was the most difficult clapping game to play, it was very fast."
- sparkofcreation, "straightdope: Slide", February 20 2009,
("ISTR" – "I seem to recall [or to remember”)

Persons playing "slide" compete against their partner. In a game of "slide" the person who "messes up" [performs the wrong hand motions or fails to perform any hand motion]** is considered "the loser". The remaining partner is considered the winner. In addition, persons playing Slide compete against their previous "records" of the number that they reached while playing this game. For instance, a person might say "My record [for playing "slide"] is 8" and another person might say "My record [for playing "slide"] is 12."

Status is conferred on people who are good at playing Slide, although to date at least there are no formal slide competitions that I'm aware of. Some adults recall that they were "Slide champions" in their childhood and/or youth.

From "Old School Hand Games"***
"Who remembers:
Any SLIDE champs on the block? :D :cool:"
-CrimsonTide4 12-29-2001

"does anyone remember Numbers??? i used to be so good at it."
-bluz4 12-31-2001

"my favs are
down by the river (we use to say grandma said your booty stanky. lol)
little sally walker (was walking down the street...)
sister rita (i'm going to kentucky, i'm going to the fair, to see my sister rita with the flowers in her hair...)
slide (it was always who could do it the fastest)
boogie nights (boogie night, ooohhhh, boogie night, that's alright, we gon have a party...)
ms mary mack (the extended version lol)

and some more i cant think of"

"Oh my gosh... I used to love slide...I was really good at that!!!..."

"I just played Slide with my little cousins when I was back in Illinois for Christmas. My sister and I could play Slide very fast for a long time..."
-DST Love12-31-2001, 01:21 PM

[Referring to the game of Slide]
"Yeah that game is so much fun, especially since it's supposed to get faster and faster until you reach a ridiculous amount of numbers...
-north_ernlights, “children play... terminological question” [hereafter given as "linguaphiles: Slide"], February 19 2009

..."I was and still am a slide champion but I don't suppose that's something to brag about XD"...
-north_ernlights, "linguaphiles: Slide", February 20 2009
My daughter recalls that she was "good at playing Slide" in the early to mid 1980s. She also shared with me that people who were good at this game were happy to find other people who also were good that game in part because they could have a longer game, because they had a person with whom they could really compete. Another reason why good Slide players are glad to play that game with other players who are confident about their skill level with this game is that playing this game with such players can potentially increase their own personal best [Players can reach a higher number before the game ends].

The game of Slide is mentioned as an introduction in a version of at least one other hand clap rhyme:
“I know a song that goes to the claps for "slide" but is repetitive (no escalating number of claps).
The rhymes of the second part are endless. Here is one short version:

“Slide, baby, slide
it's as easy as 1, 2, 3
my mother takes care of me
my daddy watches MTV”
- shamrockergreen, "linguaphiles: Slide", February 19 2009,
This last example continues with a “ooh ah I want a piece of pie” rhyme.

I believe the "slide baby slide" line in this example is an introductory line with the actual rhyme beginning with "It's as easy as 1, 2, 3". The "usual" introductory line for this rhyme is "A. B.C." (with the number "3" rhyming with the letter "C").

The comment that "the rhymes of the second part are endless" means that there are countless versions of the second rhyme “Ooh ah I wanna piece of pie.

"MTV" is an American television station with a beginning format of showing Pop music videos.
*There's a YouTube video of two college age Black men playing "Slide baby". Unfortunately, because that video includes profanity & other inappropriate language, I've not featured in this post.

A person may fail to perform any hand motion because over time hitting the palms of another person's hand creates a burning sensation. That sensation is evidenced in the line of another hand clap rhyme entitled "Shimmy Shimmy China" - "Don't stop till your hands get hot".

The participants in this Greek Chat internet forum were members of historically Black Greek lettered sororities. My sense is that these women's recollections of Slide and of other "Old School" games [games from the past] date from the late 1980s to the early 1990.

The following information & comments are presented with assigned numbers in no order of preference and without any editorial comments.

Explanation #1:
...To play this clapping game, you need 2 people.
Hold your hands so your palms are facing each other
Slide your hands along your partner's hands.

Slap your right hand to your partner's right hand.

Slap your left hand to your partner's left hand.

Hit the back of your hands to the back of your partner's hands.

Turn your hands around and hit each other's palms.


Now you'll do everything twice.

Slap your right hand to your partner's right hand.


Slap your right hand to your partner's right hand again.

Clap. And repeat the pattern.
"Slide" Sent in by: Francesco

Explanation #2
..."There was also "Numbers." It was a two person clapping game. It started by clapping one's hands together. Then right to right, then clap, then left to left, then clap again. Next slap the backs of the hands together, then the front, then start again. When you get to the back-front thing again do it twice. When you get to it the third time do it three times and so on. Its' kinda hard to explain without demonstrating it. Anybody know what I'm talking about?"
-Wolfian 12-28-2005, 07:28 PM, "straightdope: Slide"]

Example #3:
so you and your friend slide your hands together and say slide
then clap
then both of you hit your right hands together
then clap
then both of you hit your left hand together
then clap
then using the backside of your hands both of you slap the back of your hands
than the palm of your hands
then clap

this time you guys will
hit your right hand
hit your right hand
hit your left hand clap
hit your left hand clap
hit both of your back hands
hit both of your palms together
hit both of your back hands together
hit both of your palms together

now you'll do everything three time then four and so on
i hope i helped:) i know it's very complicated please give me a best answer:)
Hi:),, "How do you play slide the hand game?", 2008

These videos are placed in no order of preference.

Example #1: Hand Clapping game SLIDE... BAM BAM BAM BAM

andemurphey, Uploaded on Jun 11, 2009

Ande' and Gabe Knight do the slide...
Here's a comment from that video's viewer thread:

"we call this game slime yuck in new zealand lol"
-sayWotFooL, 2012

Example #2: Slide The Hand Game

monkeystar93, Uploaded on Sep 12, 2009

The T and the J from The T & J Show playing slide the hand game

Example #3: Hand Clapping Game "Slide"

ldssplash1, Uploaded on Jun 10, 2009

A fun hand clap game

Example #4: hand clapping game slide

jerkjerkjerk12, Uploaded on Aug 3, 2011

they go really fast.
Notice that the onlookers call out to the two clappers to go faster.

Example #5:
[Added: December 19, 2018 This example replaces one that is no longer available.]
How to Play the Slide Hand Game - GloZell

GloZell Green, Published on Apr 6, 2018

Fun game from our childhood!

Example #6: Hand Clapping Game "Slide"

Julio Bonilla, Feb 1, 2013
Hand Clapping Game "Slide"

This is a how to play "Slide." Be sure to listen carefully because it gets tricky, real tricky.

First we demonstrate how it's played, then we go through the steps.
The beginning comment "Forget that you are Mexican" refers to the stereotype of Mexican males being macho and therefore disinclined to touch other men. The commenter says that this isn't a sexual hand shake. While I wish those comments weren't on this video, I'm including this video because it helps explain & demonstrate how Slide is played by those men.

Here's my transcription of a comment that was made in that video: "After 1 we're going to do two of each... You keep adding on. After the 2 of each we're going to do 3 of each than 4 of each, than 5 of each." "Each" refers to the hand movement in each set of numbers.

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