What is Duck Duck Goose?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Duck Duck Goose! is an easy game that even very young children can play. Duck Duck Goose! is played both as a playground game in elementary schools and as a party game. It is a chasing game that requires room for running. The goal of Duck Duck Goose! is for the goose to escape from the player who is It and, from It’s point of view, to catch the goose.

Two young boys
Two young boys

How to Play the Game Duck Duck Goose!

The game of Duck Duck Goose! is usually played with at least four players, but more players make the game more fun. All players except one sit in a circle on the floor or the ground, facing inwards. These players are the ducks and the goose, but no one knows yet who will be the goose. The other player is It.

The player who is It walks around the outer edge of the circle counterclockwise, tapping each player on the head or shoulder, one at a time, and saying loudly as he or she taps, “duck.” At some point that It decides, he or she substitutes the word goose for the word duck, and things change.

First, the player who is It — as soon as he or she has cried out “goose” — runs around the circle counterclockwise, trying to get all the way around and sit in the goose’s place before the goose returns. At the same time, the goose leaps to his or her feet and chases after It, also going counterclockwise, trying to tag the player who is It before her or she is seated in the goose’s spot.

If the player who is It gets to the goose’s spot and is seated before the goose catches him or her, the goose becomes the new It. If the goose catches the player who is It, It must try again. In some versions of the game, the player who is It calls out “gray duck,” instead of “goose.”

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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