Learn To Play
Limberjacks are easy to play!
- Sit on a chair or stool. (Hard surfaces work better than padded.)
- Slip about a fourth of the paddle under your right thigh. Most of the paddle will now be sticking out over the right side of the chair. If you're left handed, reverse these directions.
- Insert the dowel firmly into the hole in the limberjack.
- Grasp the end of the dowel in your right and rest the limberjack's feet on the end of the paddle farthest from you.
- With your left hand begin tapping the middle of the paddle. The limberjack will begin to dance. Experiment with how firmly or gently you tap. Don't tap very hard and don't make the limberjack dance by trying to move it with the hand that's holding it. Just rest the limberjack on the paddle and let it dance.
Advanced Limberjack Techniques
Here are some other things to try with your limberjack:
- You can make the limberjack's arms swing. Continue dancing the limberjack and, at the same time, rapidly move the hand that is holding the dowel forward and backward. Experiment to find a rhythm that will keep the arms going round and round.
- You can dance the limberjack on his head. Simply turn him upside down and let his dangling feet continue to dance.
- The limberjack can do the "splits." When you see one of the legs of the limberjack get ahead of the other one as he's dancing, quickly lower him to the paddle. He'll continue to dance while doing the "splits."
- The limberjack can dance sitting down. Move him to the very edge of the paddle, sit him down with his feet dangling over the edge, and continue dancing.
You can paint or dress your limberjack to make him, or her, into whatever character suits you.
You can play the limberjack by itself of course, but it's more fun to dance it to music. Lively, quick music works best. Whether you're dancing to live or recorded music, simply tap the beat (or twice as fast as the beat) on the paddle. Your limberjack will dance in rhythm with the music. With a little help, even young children can make limberjacks dance. Just sit as you would if you were playing the limberjack, and have the child hold the limberjack with the dowel while you tap on the paddle. It's especially important to tell children about not making the limberjack dance. Limberjacks can break if handled roughly.
Enjoy your limberjack!