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This Little Piggy Lyrics
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.
This Little Piggy
As a dad of three rambunctious little ones and one adult daughter, I’ve sung my fair share of nursery rhymes and kids’ songs over the years. One of the classics that never gets old is “This Little Piggy.” This simple toe-wiggling rhyme has delighted children for generations with its catchy melody, silly lyrics, and opportunity for one-on-one bonding time. Though the origins are uncertain, its legacy lives on today as both a nursery rhyme and fingerplay activity loved by kids and parents alike. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the lyrics and meaning behind this classic nursery rhyme. Grab those little piggies and let’s have some fun!
Origins and Meaning
While the exact origins of “This Little Piggy” are unknown, the rhyme is thought to date back to the late 17th century England. Some sources suggest it evolved from a medieval pig market theme, with each toe representing a different market activity. The piggy who “went to market” bought food, the one who “stayed home” likely tended the house, and so on. Of course, as a rhyme passed down orally through the generations, many variations emerged over time.
The version most common today first appeared in print in 1728 in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book. Along with the market verse, it included elements of today’s rhyme like the “roast beef,” “none,” and “wee wee wee” lines. Minor changes cropped up in later printed versions, leading to the lyrics we know by heart today. While we may never know the rhyme’s exact origins, its lasting appeal is undeniable.
Beyond just a silly song, “This Little Piggy” holds deeper meaning in its themes of family, home, food and nourishment. Countless parents have bonded with their children while reciting the rhyme and wiggling toes. The familiar verses and playful piggy voices create a world of make-believe right on a tiny set of toes. The repetitive format makes it easy for even very young children to memorize. And the ticklish toe-wiggling never fails to elicit giggles. Simple, sweet, and full of imagination, it’s no wonder “This Little Piggy” has stood the test of time.
- “This Little Piggy” is thought to have evolved from a medieval pig market theme, with each toe representing a different market activity.
- The rhyme first appeared in print in 1728 in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book.
- The rhyme is called by different names around the world – “This Little Piggy” in the US, “Little Piggies” in Canada, and “The Toes” in New Zealand.
- Adult literacy programs and English Language Learner classes often use the rhyme to help teach body parts vocabulary.
- A version of the rhyme became widely known in Germany as “Zieselein, was hast du gesehen?” (Little goat, what did you see?).
In our modern world of high-tech toys and gadgets, simple nursery rhymes like “This Little Piggy” remind us of the power of imagination, silliness, and one-on-one connection with our kids. The rhyme transforms wiggly little toes into a cast of expressive piggy characters right before a child’s eyes. Its repetitive nature makes it easy to learn and perform together, creating a special bonding experience. While its exact origins may be lost to history, “This Little Piggy” remains a beloved childhood favorite after generations of playgrounds, playrooms, and parents’ laps around the world.
I hope this look at the history and meaning behind the classic lyrics sparked some nostalgia for “This Little Piggy” moments with your own kids. What memories do you have of reciting this silly rhyme? Did your family have any unique variations passed down through the generations? Share your “This Little Piggy” stories below! And don’t forget to revisit these nursery rhyme favorites to create more lasting memories with the little ones in your life today.
For a full list of 50 essential nursery rhymes, kids’ songs and lullabies to share with your children, check out my previous post here on thecornydad.com: https://thecornydad.com/50-fun-and-educational-kiddie-songs-with-lyrics