Duck Duck Goose is a popular children’s game that has been played for generations. The “Duck Duck Goose” game is a great way to engage kids and promotes critical social skills such as turn-taking, sportsmanship, and leadership.
It’s a game that can be played by large or small groups, making it perfect for classroom settings, parties, or even just a fun afternoon with friends.
The “How” and “Why” of “Duck, Duck Goose”
How to play Duck, Duck Goose
The game is generally played with a group of children facing each other in a circle. One child is chosen to be the “goose,” and they stand in the center of the circular ring. The other children are “ducks” sitting in a circle.
The goose then walks around the circle tapping each child on the head and saying “duck” each time they tap a child. Eventually, the goose taps a child on the head and says “goose” instead of “duck.” That child must then get up and chase the goose around the circle.
If the goose is caught, they become the next goose, and the game starts over. If the goose is not caught, they continue to be the goose, and the game continues.
Why do we need Duck, Duck Goose?
So, what is the point of playing Duck Duck Goose? At its core, the game is a simple way for children to have fun and interact with each other. It allows children to learn how to take turns, be patient, and work together.
The game also helps children develop their motor skills and coordination as they run around the circle, trying to catch the goose.
Opportunity to grow
Beyond the simple fun and physical benefits, Duck Duck Goose also allows children to develop social skills. During the game, children must communicate with each other, paying attention to the cues given by the goose and the other players.
They also learn to be aware of their surroundings and use their observation skills to predict who the goose will choose next.
Developing Positive emotions
In addition, Duck Duck Goose can be used as a tool to teach essential life skills such as fairness, respect, and sportsmanship.
By following the game’s rules and treating each other respectfully, children learn how to interact with their peers positively. They also learn to lose gracefully and congratulate others when they win.
Duck Duck Goose Variations
“Duck, Duck, Turkey”
As the theme suggests, this game variation is played during Thanksgiving. The player about to pick walks around the circle, tapping the other players on the head and saying “duck” until they choose a player and say “turkey.”
In the game, the selected player stands up and runs around the circle while the picker attempts to catch them. If the selector successfully tags the player, the player becomes the new selector.
On the other hand, if the player returns to their spot without being tagged, they remain a player, and the game continues.
Duck Duck Goose- Giant keys variation
This game shares many similarities with Duck Duck Goose, such as chasing around a circle. This is the one children enjoy of all the games on the list. To play:
- Form a circle of children with one child sitting in the center as the “giant,” who is pretending to sleep with their eyes closed.
- Place a noisy object behind the giant, like a tambourine or a set of large keys.
- Pick one player to sneak over to the giant and shake the noisy object, which will wake up the giant.
The player who shook the thing then runs back to their spot in the circle goes around the outside, returns through the original space, and sits back down in the center of the circle. While the player runs, the giant chases them and tries tagging them on the back.
If the player gets caught, they become the new giant, and the previous giant takes their place in the circle. Whether the player gets caught or not, the game continues with the new giant.
Duck Duck Goose Shadow Tag
Duck Duck Goose Shadow Tag is a twist on the classic children’s game where players avoid being tagged by a shadow instead of a goose.
The rules to play are a child is chosen to be the shadow and tries to tag others by stepping on their shadows while they say “duck.”
When the shadow selects a player and says “goose,” that player runs around the circle and tries not to be tagged, they become the new shadow if they are tagged, and the game continues.
“Duck, Duck, Dinosaur”
This variation of the game “Duck Duck Goose” is played with a dinosaur theme. The style of this game resembles the popular game, but instead of saying “goose,” the player who picks says “dinosaur.”
The player who is chosen to run around the circle must make a dinosaur noise as they do so. After the player makes a move to start running, the other players must also make the same noise.
If the chosen player can return to their spot without being tagged, they become the game’s new picker.
Duck Duck Goose – Fruit Salad
Like Duck Duck Goose, this game involves running around a circle and is a great listening game for younger players. To play, the children shall sit in a circle, and the game leader selects about four fruit names, such as banana, apple, strawberry, and mango.
The leader goes around the circle, pointing to each player and assigning them one of the four fruits. For example, one child might be designated a banana, while another is assigned an apple.
The leader continues until all the children have been assigned a fruit, resulting in a few bananas, apples, strawberries, and mangoes.
Next, the leader calls out a fruit name, such as “banana,” and all the children assigned as bananas stand up and run one complete circuit of the circle before sitting back down in their place. The goal is to tag the kids that are running before they can sit down in the child’s spot in the circle.
“Duck, Duck, Monster”
This specific variation of the game is played around the time of Halloween with the inclusion of a Halloween theme. The technicalities of this ‘Monster’ themed game are the same as the traditional game inspired by it.
So for this game, you replace the word ‘Goose’ with ‘Monster.’ The most fun thing about this game is when the chosen player gets up and runs around the circle, they have to make a monster noise. Upon hearing this, the other players must imitate the same noise.
If the chosen player makes it back to their spot without getting tagged, they will be the new player who picks the next.
Duck Duck Gray Duck”
In Minnesota, a unique variation of the popular children’s game is played called “Duck Duck Gray Duck.” The way of the game is similar to the traditional game, but instead of saying “goose,” the player who picks says “gray duck.”
This version of the game is believed to have originated from Scandinavian immigrants who settled in Minnesota in the 1800s.
What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?” is a children’s game that is played outdoors. One child is chosen as “Mr. Wolf” and stands at one end of the playing area with their back turned to the other players.
The other players call out, “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?” and “Mr. Wolf” responds with a time. The players then take the same number of steps toward “Mr. Wolf” as the time that was called out.
This process is repeated until “Mr. Wolf” decides to reply with “It’s dinner time!” or “It’s midnight!” and chases the other players. If a player is caught, they become “Mr. Wolf” for the next round. The game is a fun way to develop coordination and social skills and to get children moving and active.
“Duck Duck Splash”
In California, the summers gave birth to a summertime variation of the popular game “Duck, Duck, Goose.” The game is known as “Duck Duck Splash.” It was a welcome change in the form of a fun summertime activity.
The way it is played is similar to the traditional game, but instead of tagging the chosen player on the head, the “Goose” splashes other players with water. This version of the game is perfect for hot summer days and is an excellent way for kids to cool off while having fun.
“Duck, Duck, 123”
In New York, a game variation is played called “Duck, Duck, 123.” In order to play the game, one child is chosen to be “it” and walks around outside the circle, tapping each child on the head and saying “duck” each time.
Instead of saying “goose,” the “it” says “123,” and the child tapped must quickly say the following number in the sequence (i.e., “4”) before the “it” can run around the circle and tag them.
If the “it” successfully tags the child before they can say the following number in sequence, the child becomes the new “it,” and the game continues.
“Drip, Drip, Drop”
Another popular summertime variation of the game in the United States is called “Drip, Drip, Drop.” This game version is similar to “Duck, Duck, Splash” but without the water.
The game is identical to the game it is inspired by, but instead of tagging the chosen player on the head, the player who picks drips water onto their head from a cup or a sponge.
This version of the game is perfect for kids who want to have fun but need access to a pool or sprinkler.
Benefits of playing Duck Duck Goose
One of the most significant benefits of playing Duck Duck Goose is that it helps children develop confidence and self-esteem.
As children run around the circle and chase the goose, they build their physical strength and agility, which can improve their self-image and boost their confidence.
Additionally, social interactions during the game can help children feel more comfortable in social situations, which can lead to improved self-esteem and a more positive self-image.
Another benefit of playing Duck Duck Goose is that it allows children to learn how to manage their emotions. As children play the game, they may experience a range of emotions, such as excitement, frustration, or disappointment.
Children can develop necessary emotional regulation skills that will benefit them throughout their lives by learning to manage these emotions healthily and productively.
Furthermore, playing Duck Duck Goose can be a great way for children to improve their cognitive skills. As children try to predict who the goose will choose next, they engage in critical thinking and problem-solving.
They also use their memory and observation skills to track who has already been chosen and who is still in the game. These cognitive skills can help children succeed academically and in other areas of their lives.
While Duck Duck Goose may seem like a simple game, it offers children a wide range of benefits. From physical development to social and emotional learning, this game is an excellent way for children to build essential life skills while having fun and enjoying time with their peers.
Whether playing at a party, during recess, or just for fun, Duck Duck Goose is a classic game that will continue to provide value to children.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.