“Nan was not to be outdone in kindness, so, when they played “Button, button, who’s got the button?” and it was her turn to go round, she said, “Hold fast all I give you,” with such a friendly smile at Tommy, that he was not surprised to find the horse-hair ring in his hand instead of the button“
-Little Men, by Louisia May Alcott
The children sit in a row with hands folded. One takes a button, and holding it between both hands pretends to give it to each one of the players who open their hands as if to receive it.
As she does this, the leader says to each one, ” Keep all I give you.” When he
has finished she puts the question to each in turn, “Button, button, who’s got the button ? ” The answer is, ” Next door neighbor.” When she returns to the head of the line and asks ” Who’s got the button ? ” the player mentions the name of the one she thinks has it. The successful guesser take’s the leaders place.
Source: Plays and Games for Little Folks 1890