Fox and Geese

Fox and geese is a game of tag played in the wintertime. Kids absolutely love it!It snowed at our house over the weekend — much to my delight.

The snow laden pine trees in our yard now look like a Christmas card scene. Forest green limbs dressed in glittering white.

This snowfall called to me like snow sirens. But instead of luring me to treacherous rocky shorelines like mythological sirens, the snow enticed me out into the invigorating crispness of gently falling white flakes.

Our yard is now a perfect game board for playing fox and geese. (All I need now are some willing participants . . . .) To play Fox and Geese, gather as many people for this game of tag in the snow.

To play this wintry game, make paths through the snow in the shape of a wagon wheel. Stamp down a four foot circle in the center of the wagon wheel. This is home — a safe zone for the geese. Select one person to be the fox (it). The rest of the players are the geese.

The fox chases the geese along the trails in the snow. All players must stay on the trails at all times. Players cannot jump from one trail to a different one. Geese may run into ‘home’ for a momentary rest where they will be safe. The fox cannot tag them if the geese are in the ‘home’ circle. However, the geese cannot stay there very long. After a minute or two, they must leave the home circle. The fox cannot enter the home circle nor can he tag any geese that are in the ‘safe’ home circle. He may run through the circle in pursuit of a goose if the goose keeps running through the circle and doesn’t stop inside it.

When the fox tags a goose, their rolls are reversed. The goose now becomes the fox and the fox becomes a goose. The new fox begins chasing the geese trying to tag one of them. Play continues until a). everybody gets too tired b). everybody gets soggy, wet, and cold c). the fox gets frustrated because he can’t tag anybody and he is it all of the time d). all of the above!

You can play variations of Fox and Geese. Instead of making a wagon wheel shape in the snow, make paths that go every which way. Paths that zig. Paths that zag. Paths that curve all over the place. This adds challenge to the chase. Have more than one fox if there is a large group of players. Have more than one safe ‘home’ for the geese. And, Grandma is always allowed to have 1-2 (or more) helpers if she so chooses when she is the fox!

During the summer, you can make fox and geese paths by spraying white spray paint (or any color of paint) on the lawn. Fox and geese have to run on the painted lines.

This is a simple activity that you can play in the snow with your grandchildren — one that can strengthen your relationship with them and create lots of fun memories.

Happy playing!

6 thoughts on “Fox and Geese

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    What a serendipitous event to be reading about playing fox and geese and then you reading the directions here! I hope your kids enjoy it as much as I did when I played it as a child — and when I play it with the grandkids!

  • Jen

    Thanks for these great directions. I am reading the book “Three Names” to my children as part of homeschool this week. The children in the book play fox and geese. I had never heard of it before and my kids really want to play it! Now we can!

  • DigiGram Post author


    You definitely would wait a long time for snow where you are currently living! What would it be like to use florescent spray paint and play with flashlights in the dark. Might put an interesting twist to the game.

    By the way, I love Florida — especially down around the Keys… and especially when it’s winter here in Utah and I’m in Florida!

  • Brian McCown

    Thanks for the idea of spraying a course on the grass. We would be waiting for a long time to play this in NW Florida.

    This is a trip down memory lane. We played it at recess when it snowed in southern OH.

  • DigiGram Post author

    Hi Laura,

    Glad I was of help with Fox and Geese. I loved to play that as a child.

    I never heard of 7 steps around the house. If you ever find out how to play it, I would love it if you shared it with me.

  • Laura L Soly

    I was so happy to find this description of Fox and Geese. I remember playing it in the snow in the field beside our house with my brothers and kids from the neighborhood. I wanted to share it with my grandchildren but couldn’t quite remember how it was played.

    Did you ever play one called 7 Steps around the House? I’d love to know how it was played 🙂

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