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Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

Updated on September 13, 2014

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.

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

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

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

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So helpful! Using in my class tomorrow! Thanks!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      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.

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 

      7 years ago from Here

      Did you steal the cookie? Awesome lens!

    • MisterJeremy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      8 years ago from Land of Aloha

      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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • dahlia369 profile image


      8 years ago

      Such a fun lens! :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

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

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Brings back memories from my younger years.

    • Mistl profile image


      8 years ago

      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! :)

    • profile image

      andreaberrios lm 

      8 years ago

      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!!

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      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.

    • profile image

      franstan lm 

      8 years ago

      Another wonderful lens

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      9 years ago from Ljubljana

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

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Very nicely done, this was a favorite song.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      9 years ago from East Central Florida

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

    • MisterJeremy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @chicagoheather: Glad you liked it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      9 years ago

      Cool lens. Great idea! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A really cool lens. Thank you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 

      9 years ago

      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!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      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 profile image


      9 years ago

      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 profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      9 years ago from Central Florida

      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.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

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

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

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

    • chrissuard lm profile image

      chrissuard lm 

      9 years ago

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

    • Bus Stop Toy Shop profile image

      Bus Stop Toy Shop 

      9 years ago

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

    • emmaklarkins profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for the memories!


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