Down the River / Down the Ohio


(American folk song)

The river is up and the channel is deep,
The wind is steady and strong.
Oh won’t we have a jolly good time as we go sailing along.
Down the river, oh down the river, oh down the river we go.
Down the river, oh down the river, oh down the Ohio.

Dance / Play Party

Formation: Students stand in two lines facing each other.

  • step in four steps, out four steps, clap twice (at end of phrase)
  • cross right shoulder and change sides, clap twice (end of phrase)
  • first couple sashays down the alley, others clap on beat
  • second-couple sashays down the alley
Variation: first couple goes down the alley in the method they wish (crawl, walk backwards, skip, etc.) Second couple must copy.


  (or available for purchase here)

  • Printable & Digital Visuals
  • Song with chords, Orff arrangement, Recorder Countermelody – notes G,A,B,D’, Rhythm ostinati (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song

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4 thoughts on “Down the River / Down the Ohio”

  1. My second-graders LOVED this dance! We did it for weeks and they never seemed to get tired of it. Do you have a suggestion for something similar that they might enjoy?

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