One Two Buckle My Shoe: Learn to Count Lyrics

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One Two Buckle My Shoe Lyrics

One two buckle my shoe
Three four knock at the door
Five six pick up sticks
Seven eight lay them straight
Nine ten a big fat hen
Eleven twelve dig and delve
Thirteen fourteen maids a-courting
Fifteen sixteen maids in the kitchen
Seventeen eighteen maids a-waiting
Nineteen twenty my plate’s empty


As a father of four, I know a thing or two about nursery rhymes. They’re like music to a dad’s ears! Especially good ol’ classics like “One Two Buckle My Shoe“. Just reading those catchy lyrics takes me back to my oldest daughters’ preschool days when we would recite rhymes while I helped her get dressed in the morning. In this post, we’ll take a nostalgic stroll down memory lane as we explore the lyrics, origins, and meaning behind this delightful childhood ditty. Grab your thinking cap and let’s buckle down!


Origins and Meaning of One Two Buckle My Shoe

Now I may just be a simple country bumpkin, but I’ve done a bit of research on this classic nursery rhyme. And you know what I discovered? No one seems to know exactly where “One Two Buckle My Shoe” came from! Ain’t that just the darnedest thing? Some folks trace its origins back to 18th century England, while others say it’s been recited by little tikes since the 15th century. Ancient nursery rhymes – it’s enough to make your head spin like a top!

Here’s what we do know. “One Two Buckle My Shoe” first appeared in print back in 1744, in a little book called Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book. But the lyrics were slightly different back then:

One – two – buckle my shoe;
Three – four – shut the door;
Five – six – pick up sticks;
Seven – eight – lay them straight:
Nine – ten – a good fat hen;
Eleven – twelve – dig and delve;
Thirteen – fourteen – maids a-courting;
Fifteen – sixteen – maids in the kitchen;
Seventeen – eighteen – maids in waiting;
Nineteen – twenty – my stomach’s empty.

As you can see, the last line was originally “my stomach’s empty” instead of “my plate’s empty”. I guess they hadn’t invented plates back then! Dad joke knee slap

In terms of meaning, most folks agree this catchy rhyme is simply designed to help youngsters learn their numbers. The lyrical repetition helps cement those digits in little noggins as they continue counting higher and higher. Of course, leave it to overthinkers like myself to search for hidden meanings! I can’t help but wonder: who are those mysterious maids a-courting and waiting in the kitchen? Sounds fishy if you ask me! But in all honesty, this little ditty likely has no secret symbolism. Just simple, clever wordplay to engage the kiddos. Works like a charm!

Fun Facts

Well dip me in honey and flick me with a rubber band, it’s time for some fun facts about “One Two Buckle My Shoe”! Here are a few tidbits I’ve learned:

  • The rhyme is sometimes sung as a cumulative song, adding a new stanza each time it’s repeated. The lyrics expand up to “Nineteen ninety my sister’s dirty” or even higher numbers! Though I can’t say I approve of calling my sister dirty…
  • World records have been set for the longest single recitation of the rhyme. In 2007, a young man in China reportedly recited it perfectly up to number 10,000! Meanwhile, the best I can do is number 20 before messing it up.
  • It’s been translated into several different languages and is popular with children around the globe. We’re all united by our love of numbers, buckles, and hens!


Golly gee willikers, that sure was an informative jaunt down nursery rhyme lane! In many ways, “One Two Buckle My Shoe” represents the universal joys and challenges of parenting. As parents, we want to nurture our children and teach them life skills like counting. But we also know nothing brings a smile to our faces faster than our kiddos delighting in simple rhyming fun. Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll read these playful lyrics and reminisce about rocking my babies to sleep while reciting the rhyme in my best silly dad voice.

These traditional nursery rhymes have incredible staying power for good reason – they speak to the childlike wonder in all of us. I hope you’ll take a moment to recite “One Two Buckle My Shoe” out loud and reconnect with the playful kid inside. And don’t forget to share it with the special little ones in your life. Sing it while helping them get dressed or as a fun bedtime ritual. Make those bucks tight and watch their faces light up! It’s the simple joys.

Let me know down below – what are your favorite memories related to “One Two Buckle My Shoe”? And stay tuned for more nursery rhyme fun on the blog soon. As I discussed in my previous post on popular kids’ songs, music is an integral part of childhood. For the full list of classic ditties, visit

Hey there! I'm Allen, but you can call me "The Corny Dad" from Canada. I have a wife and four kiddos. Yep, one's full grown, but they'll always be my babies. When I'm not doing something with my family or playing video games, I'm here, jotting down my bits of wisdom on this blog. From the fun stuff to the parenting chaos, I cover it all. Believe me, with the right attitude, parenting's a smoother ride and I'm here to help.

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