Wolf catching the marmots | Mongolia

Name in Original Language

Чоно тарвагацах

Area Where Played



Mongolian traditional games are unique in that they clearly reflect the lives of the people and do not require specific places or equipment to play. Therefore, they are a great fit for nomadic lifestyles. Traditional oral Mongolian games not only have a beginning and ending, but they also have regular rhetoric and actions, as well as specific words and speeches that are allocated for certain roles. Therefore, traditional oral Mongolian games have the dual features of both a play and a game.

The dialogues within the oral games are important in that it helps to develop the mental agility, eloquence and memorization skills of children. Other skills that are developed are summarization and analytical skills. The oral games will train and educate children to cognize their surrounding environment, gather numerical understanding and spatial awareness, and learn about different plants and animals. By learning how to play the folk oral games that have been inherited from past generations, Mongolian children will accumulate knowledge on native places of the country, and the traditions, customs, and livelihoods of the people.

Since ancient times, the motor game “Wolf catching the marmots” is widely spread among Mongolian children, played among kindergarten and junior school students. In the game, the children take on the roles of wolf and marmots. The game is an important avenue for children to gain an understanding of animal species, learning how to live with nature, and how to have a healthy early childhood development.

Detailed Description

In this game, the wolf chases after the marmots. One child plays the role of the wolf and several children play the role of the marmots.


The roles of the game are determined by using the drawing words as follows:

A big




A friend?

A custom?

A girdle?


A heart?

A Ministry?

A bone?


The table



The person who said the final word will play the role of the wolf. The players who are the marmots would then come to the wolf den and say the following series of phrases:

  • Sir Wolf, Sir Wolf, give us your lighter, please!
  • What are you going to do with the lighter?
  • We are going to ignite a fire.
  • What are you going to do by igniting a fire?
  • We want to soak glue.
  • What are you going to do by soaking glue?
  • We will glue down the bow and arrow.
  • What are you going to do with bow and arrow?
  • We want to shoot your head until it cuts and marmots run away and the wolf should catch all of the marmots one by one until it catches the last one and then, the game ends.