Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?


Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button is a traditional children's game that is normally played indoors on rainy days and can be played by a large number of children .

Basic concept

The children all stand (or sit) in a circle with their hands out, palms together. One child, called the leader or 'it', takes a button (usually provided by an adult) and goes around the circle, putting their hands in everybody elses's hands one by one. In one person's hands they drop the button, though continue to put their hands in the other's so that no one knows where the button is except for the giver and receiver.

The leader (or alternatively all the children in the circle depending on your preference) starts the other children guessing by saying, "Button, button, who's got the button?" before each child's guess. The child guessing replies with their choice eg: "Billy has the button!"

If you have the button, haven't been guessed yet, and it's your turn to guess, you choose someone else so that no one knows it's you.

Once the child with the button is finally guessed, that child is the one to distribute the button and start a new round.

Alternate Versions

Version 2

A second similar version has the child who is 'it' stand in the center of the circle, the button is then passed behind the backs of the children in the circle, stopping at random. 'It' tries to guess where the button is and once the button is found takes his or her place in the circle. Whoever had the button then becomes the new "it" and play begins again.

Version 3

A slight variation on the first two versions has 'it' asks questions (like in the game Twenty Questions) to determine who has the button.

Popular Culture

* In Go Ask Alice, the kids at the party play Button, Button, Who's Got the Button, where the "button" is an LSD spiked can of Soda. Alice gets the Spiked can of soda, which leads to her subsequent drug binge.

* The game is referenced by the title character in the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and by Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer season seven.

* In the Walt Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, during their first meeting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum ask Alice if they should play this game

* In the Robert Frost poem, "The Witch of Coos," the game is referenced in lines 7-8: "Summoning spirits isn't 'Button, button,/Who's got the button,' I would have them know."


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