Purpose of the rhyme
A group of children often uses this rhyme before beginning a game. The rhyme helps them decide who gets a special role in the game.

How to use the rhyme
One child is the leader. This child begins the rhyme and points to a different child with each new syllable. The other children say the rhyme along with the leader. When they reach the very last syllable (IT!), the child who is being pointed to is given a special role in the game. Sometimes it is good to be given the role of it. Sometimes it is bad!

Today's version
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo,
Catch a tiger by the toe,
If he hollers, let him go,
My mother said
that YOU ARE IT!

Older racist version
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.
Catch a n-gger by the toe,
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo.

Historians guess that it was created by British children in the 1800's.
Today, children from many different English-speaking countries use variations of the rhyme.