Appalachia Games

Tap Back – Tap Hand

Old game tap hand

Tap back or tap hand is a game which is described in both the Foxfire 6 book as well as the Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore. It’s very similar, or actually the same thing as, the game which is often played in lower grades of elementary school called duck duck goose.

Any number of people can play the game. The more the merrier. Everyone joins hands in a large circle. One person is chosen to be ‘it’-they walk around the outside of the circle until they tap someone on the back/hand/head. Then the it person runs quickly around the circle. The person who is tapped runs after them. Whoever wins the race back to the spot the person left gets to be part of the circle leaving the loser to be the tapper.

One variation of the game described in the Foxfire 6 book, says if the one tapped beats the person who was ‘it’ back to their spot in the circle the tapper has to go into the center of the circle which was sometimes called the soup pot. Once in the soup pot you can only get out if the person who is ‘it’ decides to reach in and tap you.


*Source Foxfire 6



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  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    April 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Duck Duck Goose I remember. Never was very good at it as I was littler than many of my classmates, but I do remember it.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2013 at 9:45 am

    This sounds like fun; I missed out on this one. I like learning about childhood games. I wonder what it would be like to play it as an adult?

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    April 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I’ve never heard of it but it sure sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    There used to be a game like the one Ed described called Crack the whip.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Seems like I remember being in
    that circle, holding hands and
    getting tagged. And folks wouldn’t
    let me loose quick enough till the
    tagger got back in line.
    Those were nice, clean games and
    didn’t leave any bad impressions
    where you’d react later, as in
    today’s world and video games of
    all that killing where its so

  • Reply
    April 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Red Rover Red Rover send Tipper right over.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    April 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    wow reminds me of days long gone.. when things were simple and kids could play for hours without any kind of electric means.. 🙂
    i think those were my favorite years
    thanks for reminding us of the simple and gentle side of life
    big ladybug hugs
    and p.s. i think spring has sprung yeeehaww

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    we played this @ MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship)years ago. Good memories.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    We did play this but I don’t remember it even having a name.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 10, 2013 at 9:25 am

    We used to play a game wherein a line of kids would hold hands and the run in a circle. The first kid would just spin around the next would run around him. The third around him and so on. The farther out in the line the faster you had to run. If the kid in the middle was strong enough and the line held, the kid on the end would be moving so fast that he would go flying off. Then the next kid until only the kid in the middle was left. I don’t remember what we called the game but it was actually fun.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 10, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I remember duck, duck, goose well

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 10, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I’m back after only a few zzzz’s!
    The “Hunter Gatherer” woke me stirrin’ around while gettin’ his gear together! I had forgot he was going to “shoot golfs” today. I told him not to bring a mess of them little white gophers, home ’cause I were’nt cookin’ them like that mess of “crappie” yesterdiddy!
    I tell you that poor old man has so much work to do with his huntin’ and gatherin’…He said, “I try to provide fer the family” and it’s hard work..humph!
    What I wanted to relay was that he remembered “tap back-touch hand” the game…I just bet he did. Thet dirty old man would do anything to touch a girls hand back then, wink, wink! ….LOL
    I just came in and told it by way of the backdoor instead of the front…
    Hava a good’in!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 10, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Never heard of this one, Tipper, at least not that I recall. To tell you the truth I never was much for games.
    It was 80 degrees here yesterday. What happened to spring. Are we going straight from cold to hot. Good grief, I’m getting so confused.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    April 10, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Sounds like Duck, Duck, Goose, where you sit, then stand when tagged and run around in a circle, etc. We did this quite a lot, often whipping out rounding the turns in the grass.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 10, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Hey there very early in the morning.
    I can’t say that I remember Tap Back or Tap Hand. Maybe a variation of the game.
    Sounds like a game I would really be good at…or not so good. Since I am always in a “stew” (soup) about something or other..
    Have a great warm SPRING DAY!
    Thanks, I think I will go back to bed, catch a couple of more zzzzz and try to remember plaing this game…

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