Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Polly Put the Kettle On

share icon
share icon

Introduction to the Song

Stories are engaging components for children that help them to be joyful, think, understand, and engage in activities, among other things. “Polly Put the Kettle on” is one of these, and reading it to the kids is engaging and entertaining. "Polly Put the Kettle On" is a classic nursery rhyme in the English language. The Roud Folk Song Index number for this song is 7899.

Let us sing the song and understand the meaning of it from this article.

History of the Poem

This is an old English folk song that has been passed down through the generations, and it has even been cited by Charles Dickens. Someone interested in learning more about classic nursery rhymes should keep in mind that this one is a simple rhyme about tea, but Polly Put The Kettle On has made it such that you can learn some English history as well. Someone making tea would sing this to their children, who would subsequently sing it on their own.

Other variations of names used in this rhyme are noteworthy because we no longer use them, providing chances for you to study with your children. Apart from performing the song or repeating the rhyme together, this is a fantastic technique to promote literacy. It also allows you to be creative by changing the song lyrics to include the names of children in your family or circle of acquaintances. They will be delighted to sing this song simply because they want to feel like they are a part of it, and it is simple to teach young children.

The song itself has a long-standing melody, which suggests that it is already well-known and will be taught to others. It may come as a surprise to learn that people still remember these songs, but they have been around for so long that people remember them simply because they heard them from someone much older.

Origin of the Song

Joseph Dale published a song called "Molly Put the Kettle On or Jenny's Baubie" in London in 1803. It was also printed in Dublin about 1790–1810 and New York around 1803–07] with "Polly" instead of "Molly." The nursery rhyme is first stated in the present form in Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (1841).

In mid-eighteenth-century middle-class families, "Sukey" was a pet-form of "Susan," and Polly was a pet-form of Mary.

Jenny's Baubie, the rhyme connected with this poem, has been around since the 1770s. The tune is slightly similar to "Oh du Lieber Augustin," a 1788–89 Mainz publication.

The Song

A nursery rhyme from England is "Polly Put the Kettle On." Although the tune is known to have been used earlier, in the 1770s, it was originally published in 1797, according to all sources. Early versions of the song were banned in Ireland and the United States.

There are many different versions of the lyrics, but here's one of the most popular:

“Polly Put the Kettle On” Lyrics.

The Common version of the Song

The common version of the song can be given as follows:

Polly put the kettle on,

Polly put the kettle on,

Polly put the kettle on,

We’ll all have tea.

Sukey take it off again,

Sukey take it off again,

Sukey take it off again,

They’ve all gone away.

Polly put the kettle on

Polly put the kettle on

Meaning of the Poem

In 1797, "Polly put the kettle on" was published. "Polly put the kettle on" got its start since the author had five children, two boys and three females. The boys wanted to play military and the girls wanted to play house, so there were continual fights! When the girls wished to play without their brothers, they claimed to start a game of tea party called "Polly put the kettle on," in which the daughter, Polly, would put the toy kettle on. 

Sukey (or Susan) would take it off as soon as the brothers left! This ruse amused their father so much that he put it to words and added music, which was later published.

Do It Yourself

1. What rhymes with the kettle?

2. When was the poem “Polly put the Kettle on” first published?

  1. 1700

  2. 1797

  3. 1789

  4. None

Sample Questions

1. Who is Suki in the poem?

Ans: In middle-class households in the middle of the eighteenth century, "Sukey" was a pet version of Mary while "Polly" was Susan. It is known that the song "Jenny's Baubie" that goes along with this rhyme dates back to the 1770s.

2. Who sings Polly Put the Kettle On?

Ans: Farmees perform the song "Polly Put the Kettle On."


The melody of the song itself is rather old, so it is already out there where many people would know it and be able to teach it to others. The fact that people can still recall these songs may come as a shock, but since they have been popular for such a long period, individuals may recall them only by hearing them a few times from an older person. Singing to children is the finest thing you can do to make them happy and help them learn. They will get to enjoy some tea time with a song (you could even have a tea party! ), and you can sing it to your children to soothe or rock them to sleep.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?
Courses for kids
English Superstar
Grade LKG - 2
Maths Classes
Grade 1 - 2
Spoken English
Grade 3 - 5

FAQs on Polly Put the Kettle On

1. What was in the kettle?

“Polly, turn the kettle on, we'll all have tea”: therefore there would have been water in the kettle, according to the rhyme.

2. Why had Polly started the kettle?

Suki couldn't take the kettle off if it wasn't turned on, so Polly started it.

3. When Polly started the kettle, what did Sukey do?

In order to make it appear as though they were having tea together, Polly, one of the females, started the kettle. The girls were allowed to play house as soon as their brothers left because Sukey, who used to go by Susan, removed the kettle.

4. Why did Polly put the kettle on?

When the girls wanted to play alone, they would pretend to have a tea party and say, "Polly put the kettle on," with the daughter going ahead and turning the toy kettle on! Sukey (or Susan) would take it off once the brothers departed.

5. What was in the kettle, to start?

There would have been water in the kettle if Polly had said, "Polly, turn the kettle on, we'll all have tea."