Cat and Mouse: Reinvention of a Traditional Game (by Marco A. Brazil)

In the US, they call it Duck Duck Goose.  In Bulgaria they call it Pesek, while in Ghana they call it Antokyire.  Children across the globe call it many different names, and in the Philippines we call it Iring-IringIring is a Bisaya (Filipino vernacular) word for cat.

In the Philippines the game is played this way; children sit down in a circle facing each other. The child who is “It” walks around the circle with a hanky in his hand, and at random drops the handkerchief behind one of the other players sitting in the circle. The player picks up the handkerchief and chases “It” around the circle to try to give the handkerchief back before the child who is “It” can occupy the vacant spot left by the player in the circle.

This is my reinvention of the game for EFL classrooms, called Cat and Mouse. Instead of a handkerchief children are to identify the picture cards (vocabulary), and be the first to occupy a vacant spot in the circle.


(Reinvention for EFL Classrooms)

Players: eight or more

Materials: picture cards

Target Language

Q: What is it?

A: It’s (a book).

Q: What do you have?

A: I have (a video game).

Q: Who’s (he)?

A: He is (Mr. Brown).

Q: What does (he) do?

A: He is (a baker).

Q: Where are you going?

A: I’m going to the (park).

How to play

Players sit in a circle facing each other. One player is the Mouse, and he walks around the circle with a picture card (vocabulary) in his hand. The sitting players (the Cats) clap their hands and say the chant:

“Cat and mouse

Cat and mouse

Run and catch me

And find your house!”

As the Mouse walks around, he tags one of the players and both run in opposite directions around the circle. When the Mouse and the Cat meet half-way, they practice a question and answer, followed by Rock Scissors Paper. The winner gets the card and both continue running  in opposite directions trying to take the vacant seat in the circle. The rule is:  if the runner who has the card is successful in taking the seat, he places the picture card at the center of the circle and the game continues with a new picture card (vocabulary). But if the runner who has the picture card remains standing, he must continue the game (as the Mouse) with the same card, until he is successful in securing a seat.

Note: This article by Marco A. Brazil originally appeared on Teaching Village, and is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial, No Derivatives 3.0 License. If you wish to share it you must re-publish it “as is”, and retain any credits, acknowledgements, and hyperlinks within it.

Marco A. Brazil

About Marco A. Brazil

Marco Brazil has been training teachers and teaching children English for over 20 years. He maintains strong a strong commitment to making English fun and easy for both teachers and learners. He occasionally writes articles and gives teaching presentations for Oxford Kid’s Club Teaching Tour mostly, on games. Marco is the director/owner of SmartKids Circle. You can find Marco on Facebook or follow him on his blog, Mabuhay Classroom.

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12 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    Thanks again, Marco! I tried this with one of my classes this afternoon, and they loved it! What a great way to practice vocabulary and speaking 🙂

    • Avatar Marco Brazil says:

      Delighted! That’s how I feel, knowing Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto is playing my game. Thank you Barb.

  2. Avatar Corazon Canda Kaneki says:

    This is very useful and students enjoyed this game very much.
    Applicable for all elementary level. Thank you very much Marco for this wonderful, educational and fun game.

  3. Avatar Corazon Canda Kaneki says:

    Excellent game!! My students enjoyed it so much.. thank you Marco!

    • Avatar Marco Brazil says:

      Thank you Corazon. Keep coming back to Teaching Village coz there will be more fun and easy games for your children to play!

  4. Avatar Bebelita Takayasu says:

    It’s very useful for the Children , even my silver age of student enjoying the Cat & Mouse games thank you very much Marco you made a good fun game to all!

    • Avatar Marco Brazil says:

      I’m glad you’re playing it in your classroom, Bebelita. And thank you for video taping the game at the Oxford Teaching Workshop in Tsukuba City!

  5. Avatar Marites Antonio-Sotto says:

    Another sure hit for the students! 5 stars, of course!

  6. Avatar Shimizu,Mary Jean says:

    Sir Marco!thanks in sharing new ideas,i will use it right away and God bless!

  1. February 24, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell and Barbara Sakamoto, David Dodgson. David Dodgson said: Cat and Mouse: Reinvention of a Traditional Game (by Marco Brazil) via @barbsaka […]