You May Also Like

Duck, Duck Goose Games and Variations

duck duck goose

Bookmark and Share

Duck, Duck Goose is a great game to play when you have a large number of kids. Its fun and active while still being organized. In addition to the traditional game of Duck, Duck, Goose, there are many different variations that use the same principle instructions. This guide shows you all of our suggestions but you can also use our game ideas to come up with a few of your own.

How to Play:

  1. Select one person to be the "Tapper," then have all of the children except for the "Tapper" sit in a circle on the floor.

  2. The "Tapper" walks around the outside of the circle and taps each seated child on the head, saying "Duck" with each tap until he or she randomly decides to tap someone and say, "Goose!"

  3. The "Goose" runs around the circle after the "Tapper," who tries to get to the "Goose's" vacated spot in the circle and sit down before the "Goose" tags him or her.

  4. If the "Goose" does not catch the "Tapper" before he or she sits in the vacated spot, then the "Goose" becomes the "Tapper" and the game begins again. If the "Goose" manages to catch and tag the "Tapper" before he or she sits down, then the "Tapper" is "it" again during the next round.

Bus, Bus, Plane

For Bus, Bus, Plane the same rules apply as in Duck, Duck Goose but this time, when the tapper says, "Plane!" both the tapper and the runner need to run around the circle with their arms out like airplane wings. Sound effects are optional. When we created this variation we had Disney's Planes theme in mind but it would be fun for any transportation or aviation themed party. You can even consider changing the wording to Car, Car, Truck or Plane, Plane, Rocket. There are lots of possibilities.

To play, you simply follow to basic rules for Duck Duck Goose by touching heads as you go around in a circle until you choose someone to be it. Look at the "How To Play" section at the top of this page.

gliders Disney Planes favor kit Disney Planes balloons
See Top of Page for How To Play.

Surf, Surf, Wipeout

Surf, Surf, Wipeout is a game best played outdoors because it involves water play. In this game, the "Surfer" is it. He or she will walk around holding a cup of water and tapping each child on the head saying, "surf" until he or she randomly decides to say, "WIPEOUT!" Simultaneously, the "Surfer" will pour the water on the tagged person's head. If the "Wipeout" tags the "Surfer" then the "Surfer" remains "it" but if the "Surfer" makes it back to the empty spot then the "Wipeout" becomes the "Surfer" and play continues with a new cup of water.

flip flop pinata surfer dude button Summer Fun lollipops

Cat, Cat Dog

All of the kids sit in a large circle. Have the birthday boy or girl by "it" first. They will go around the circle saying, "Cat" with each tap until they decide to say, "Dog!" Then, just like Duck, Duck Goose the same run around takes place. If the "It" person is tagged they remain it for another round but if they make it back to the empty "base" then the "Dog" is "It". You can add an extra element of fun to this variation but using dog and cat sound effects instead of saying "Cat" and "Dog". In this case you can call the game, "Meow, Meow, Woof"

personalized dog magnet dog balloons Kitty Cat Pinata

See Top of Page for How To Play Duck Duck Goose.

Frog Frog Princess

Since both princesses and princes play this game the "it" person will tap heads saying Frog, Frog, Frog until they randomly tag someone by saying "Prince" if it is a boy and "Princess" if it is a girl. We recommend this game for any princess or fairytale party but especially for a Princess Tiana party. When you change the wording of the Duck, Duck Goose game you can customize it to any theme. We recommend a minimum of 8-10 kids. This is best played with a large group or boys and girls. See the top of this page for detailed instructions for how to play.

personalized princess and the frog invitations princess and the frog favor kit Tiana button

See Top of Page for How To Play.

Frog Detective


You will need one index card for each guest. Write the letter D on one card, the letter F on one card and the letter X on all the remaining cards.This game works well with 6 or more players.

How to Play:

  1. Have all the children sit a circle, and pass out the index cards.
  2. Whoever gets the card with a D is the detective, and that child sits in the center of the circle.
  3. Whoever gets the card with an F is the frog.
  4. The rest of the children will have an X on their card, which means they are the flies.
  5. The frog sits in the circle with everyone else, and keeps his/her identity secret.
  6. When the game begins, the frog can "eat" the flies by sticking out his/her tongue.
  7. The frog makes sure the detective isn't looking and then sticks his/her tongue out really fast.
  8. If any of the flies sees him/her they must fall on the floor and die.
  9. The detective tries to figure out who is the frog by watching carefully.
  10. The frog can stick his/her tongue out as long and as many times as he/she wants.
  11. If the frog can eat all the flies except for one, the frog wins.
  12. If the detective can identify the frog, then the detective wins.
  13. Collect the cards, pass them out again, and start the game over.
Frolicking Frog Pull Toy lil frog costume frog personalized zipper pull

Frog Frog Tadpole

This game plays exactly like Duck, Duck Goose except you say, "Frog, Frog, Tadpole" and when the "Tadpole" is tapped both players have to hop like frogs around the circle. Make it extra entertaining for the kids by having them hop and say "ribbit-ribbit" while running around the circle. The kids will think this is fun and really silly. Amphibians are fascinating creatures and would make a birthday good party theme for boys. They'll like this variation of Duck, Duck Goose so much they'll want to play until everyone has had a turn.

personalized frog stickers frog party invitations frog placemat

See Top of Page for game play instructions.

A Traitor In Our Midst


  1. Have all of your guests form a circle and join hands.
  2. The birthday child should remain outside of the circle.
  3. Tell your guests that they are the "Knights of the Roundtable," and that the birthday child is "Merlin."
  4. After casting a special spell, Merlin has discovered that one of the Knights is a traitor and must be removed from the Round Table.
  5. When you say, "Find the traitor!" Merlin should begin walking slowly around the circle.
  6. When the Knights least expect it, Merlin should pull two players' hands apart and shout, "Traitor!"
  7. Merlin must then take one of the vacated spots while the two separated Knights run in opposite directions around the outside of the circle, racing for the remaining empty spot.
  8. The first one to make it around the circle and slap Merlin's outstretched palm will rejoin the circle.
  9. The remaining player becomes Merlin for the next round. Play multiple rounds.
Medieval knight masks dragon pinata kit inflatable sword

Lion Hunt

The object of this game is not to get caught by the hungry hyena (one of the children). This game is a spin on duck, duck, goose but a lot more fun to play!

What You'll Need:

  • A music player
  • Music from The Lion King

How to Play Lion Hunt:

  1. Stand all but one child in a circle. These players are the lion cubs.
  2. The remaining child should stand in the middle of the circle. This player is the hyena.
  3. Start playing a song from The Lion King such as "Hakuna Matata" or "I Just Can't Wait to Be King."
  4. As the song plays, the children should start walking around the circle slowly.
  5. The child in the middle should close their eyes, spin slowly, and place one arm in front of them and point (like the hand of a clock).
  6. Let the child in the middle spin a couple times as the other children march around, then pause the music.
  7. When the music pauses, the lion cub the hyena is pointing to is about to become lunch!
  8. The hyena must now chase the lion cub around the circle.
  9. If the lion cub makes it back to their spot in the circle, they are safe.
  10. If the lion cub is tagged by the hyena, they have been caught and are now out of the game.
  11. Once a child is out, they can be the next person to pause the music.
  12. The hyena now returns to the middle of the circle and continues to try to catch all the lion cubs.
  13. The last lion cub left is the winner and gets to be the next hyena!

Lion King Plates Lion Pinata personalized lion magnet

Catch a Tiger By the Toe

For this game you will need:

  • Orange construction paper or orange yarn (or a clean orange sock.)
  • Tape or a square of Velcro with an adhesive backing
  • Stereo or music player
  • A clear floor space


Create a tiger tail. Cut a tail out of construction paper and draw stripes on it with markers or braid several lengths of orange string to make a "tiger tail". You may also use a clean long, orange sock to make the tail. You might also consider making a simple belt out of elastic in case guests arrive in a skirt.

How to Play:

This game is played just like "Duck, Duck, Goose" except players must catch a "tail" of the player they chase.

  1. Have players sit in a circle, facing toward the center.
  2. Select a volunteer to be the first to be the first "tiger" picker who will walk around the circle. Attach the string to the first "tiger" picker by tucking it into his or her waistband. You may also attach it with Velcro.
  3. The tiger walks around the circle, tapping each player on the head and saying, "Lion, lion, lion... TIGER!"
  4. The child tapped as the "Tiger" must jump up and catch the "tail" on the tiger picker before he runs all the way around the circle and sits in the spot of the child that was tapped.
  5. If the tiger picker makes it to the spot and sits down without being caught, the chaser is now the new tiger picker and must wear the tail.
Tiger Magnet Tiger favor kit Tiger tail

Chugga, Chugga, Toot-Toot

Gather all of the little conductors for a game of Chugga, Chugga Toot-Toot. There are two ways you can play this game:

  1. The child who is it will be called the conduction and will be the one wearing the conductor's hat (optional). They can go around saying the words, "chugga, chugga, chugga until they choose someone to tag and say, "toot-toot". OR:
  2. The Conductor can walk around tapping heads until he taps a head while blowing a train whistle. This will signal the tapped person to get up and chase the conductor.
Birthday in a BoxConductor Costume Train Party Favors

See Top of Page for How To Play.