Duck, duck, goose

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Duck, duck, Gray 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
A group of people playing the game
Players 4 or more
Age range 2 and up
Setup time None
Random chance None
Skill(s) required Running; chasing; logic

Duck, duck, goose (sometimes called Duck, Duck, Gray Duck or Daisy in the Dell) is a traditional children's game often first learned in pre-school or kindergarten.[1] 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 and he or she must chase the picker to avoid becoming the next picker.

Basic concept[edit]

An animated schematic of how duck, duck, goose is played.

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" (or a "gray duck" in Minnesota). The "goose" then rises and tries to tag "it", while "it" tries to return to and sit where the "goose" had been sitting. If "it" succeeds, the "goose" becomes "it" and the process begins again. If the "goose" tags "it", the "goose" may return to sit in the previous spot and "it" resumes the process.[2]

Alternate versions[edit]

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."[3]

Duck Duck Gray Duck[edit]

"Duck, Duck, Gray Duck", is a variation played by Minnesotans.[4] The core gameplay difference is that the picker taps the heads of the other players while duck calling (ex: blue duck, red duck, purple duck, etc. or more commonly just duck) and then calls "gray duck" in place of "goose". In some regions and variations, the caller may change the direction in which they run. [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Duck, Duck' apparently has no shades of gray", Star Tribune at the Wayback Machine (archived February 26, 2007)
  2. ^ "How to Play: Duck, Duck, Goose", by Sally Worsham,
  3. ^ Burt, Emily Rose (1919). Entertaining Made Easy. New York: Edward J. Clode. p. 56. 
  4. ^ "Minnesota's kids' game can't duck controversy", by Jeff Strickler, Star Tribune
  5. ^ Thorkelson, Berit (2005). You Know You're in Minnesota When... (1st ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Insiders' Guide. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7627-3895-3. 

External links[edit]