Duck, duck, goose

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Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
US Navy 101206-N-8721D-222 Sonar Technician Seaman Joy Chase plays duck-duck-goose with local school children during a community service project wi.jpg
People playing the game
Skill(s) requiredRunning, chasing, logic

Duck, Duck, Goose (also called Duck, Duck, Grey Duck or Daisy in the Dell) is a traditional children's game often first learned in pre-school or kindergarten. The game may be later adapted on the playground for early elementary students. The object of this game is to walk in a circle, tapping on each player's head until one is finally chosen; the chosen player must then chase the picker to avoid becoming the next picker.

Basic concept[edit]

An animated schematic of the game

A group of players sit in a circle, facing inward, while another player, who is "it", walks around tapping or pointing to each player in turn, calling each a "duck" until finally calling one a "goose". The "goose" then rises and tries to tag the "it", while the "it" tries to return to and sit where the "goose" had been sitting before. If "it" succeeds, the "goose" becomes the "it" and the process begins again. If the "goose" tags the "it", the "goose" may return to their previous spot and the original "it" restarts the process.[1]


Daisy in the Dell[edit]

A variation described in the 1919 book, Entertaining Made Easy by Emily Rose Burt, has children standing in a circle, joining hands. The daisy picker goes around the outside, saying "Daisy in the dell, I don't pick you … I do pick you."[2]

Duck, Duck, Gray Duck[edit]

"Duck, Duck, Gray Duck" is a variation, consistent with the original Swedish translation, only played by Minnesotans.[3][4] The core gameplay difference is that the picker taps the heads of the other players while duck calling "duck, duck,..." and then calls "gray duck!" to signal which player must chase the picker. The picker can make the game trickier, by calling various colors or adjectives that might sound like "gray duck," such as saying "Duck, duck, green duck, gross duck, grape duck, GREY DUCK!" The caller can also add various other colors, just for fun: "Duck, duck, green duck, purple duck, yellow duck, orange duck, green duck, grape duck, GREY DUCK!" In some regions and variations, the caller may change the direction in which they run.[5]

Drip, Drip, Drop[edit]

"Drip, Drip, Drop" is another version played by children mostly in warmer climates. One player who is "it" goes around the circle with a container of water and "drips" a small amount on each person's head. They will then select someone in the circle to "drop" the entire container on top of them. This player will then try to tag the "it" before the "it" sits in the spot of the person who got "dropped" on. If "it" is tagged then they will remain "it" for another round.[6]


A similar, common Afrikaner game is called "vroteier", meaning rotten egg. Instead of saying anything or pointing at anybody a token of some kind (usually a handkerchief) is carried by the one who is "on" going around the circle of sitting players. The token is then dropped behind one of the sitting players who are not allowed to look behind themselves, but can feel with their hands on the ground behind them. If the one behind whom the token has been dropped, discover it, they jumps up and chase the one who dropped the token. If the player who was "on" is caught and tagged, they will go sit in the center of the circle and become a rotten egg (vroteier) and the player who did the chasing becomes the next one to be "on". If the player who was "on" was chased all the way around the circle, they go and sit in the place of the player behind whom the token was dropped and that player is then the next one to be "on". If the player behind whom the token has been dropped does not become aware of it and the "on" player went all the way around the circle and catch the player on the ground with the token still behind them, the player so caught becomes another rotten egg to sit in the center. The "on" player remains "on", pick up the token again and repeat the process. The game can continue until there is only one person left who is not a rotten egg or more usually when the "rotten eggs" get tired of sitting in the center and demand to play another game.

Rumaal Chor[edit]

A similar game to vroteier is known as "Rumaal Chor" in Hindi speaking regions of India and by other names in rest of India. A "rumaal" or handkerchief is thrown by the picker and the players have to constantly search behind them using their hands to search for the handkerchief.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How to Play: Duck, Duck, Goose", by Sally Worsham,
  2. ^ Burt, Emily Rose (1919). Entertaining Made Easy. New York: Edward J. Clode. p. 56.
  3. ^ Lileks, James (February 19, 1999). "'Duck, Duck' apparently has no shades of gray". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on February 26, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Strickler, Jeff. ""Minnesota's kids' game can't duck controversy". Star Tribune. March 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Thorkelson, Berit (2005). You Know You're in Minnesota When...: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the North Star State. (1st ed.). Guilford, Connecticut: Insiders' Guide. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7627-3895-3.
  6. ^ Julianna Rose; Darell Hammond (2012). Go Out and Play!. Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763655309.

External links[edit]