The world of children’s games turned upside down this week in the U.S. when it was discovered that the national game of duck-duck-goose is not played the same across the entire country. According to an article in BuzzFeed.com, one location, the north-central state of Minnesota, has been saying “Duck, duck...gray duck!” with their children.
For those viewers who are not familiar, duck-duck-goose is a long-standing school game where all participants sit on the ground facing into a circle, and a lone person—designated as “it”—stands outside of the circle. This person walks counter-clockwise around the circle tapping each sitting person on the head or back. As the “tapper” touches each person, he or she says “duck.” One or two children may be tapped with “duck,” or perhaps many in a row. At one point, the tapper taps one person and says “goose!” The tapped person who is the goose must jump up and chase the tapper around the circle and try to catch him/her before he/she reaches the empty spot just vacated.
For American children, the game is great exercise and filled with suspense about who will get chosen for the chase.
So now, back to the story. One Minnesotan named Christopher Pollard heard that the rest of the country was saying his state wasn’t playing this game “right,” so he posted to his blog a defense of Minnesota’s playgrounds. Christopher is trying to show the rest of the country how their version of the game is actually better. Instead of saying just duck-duck-duck, etc., Minnesota kids have to name different colors, for example, “red duck, brown duck, yellow duck, green duck” etc. before shouting “gray duck” and starting the wild chase around the circle.
So, now, if you’re trying to teach your kids a classic American game, you might want to introduce this new twist to their playtime. While they’re running around, they’ll also be practicing their colors! And that’s what’s up this week!