Tag games are a fun way to keep kids active while helping to burn off some of their excess energy. Tag is a game where the more players the merrier is definitely the rule. A fun part of tag is that kids can incorporate stories over the rules. Maybe Blob Tag becomes about a horde of zombies or Tunnel Tag becomes Prairie Dog City.
Players should be evenly matched in these types of games. It is frustrating and boring for players if “It” is a young child who can’t catch older, faster kids. Five-to-ten minutes is more than enough for preschool and kindergarten age kids, while fifteen-to-twenty minutes is perfect for elementary school age kids.
Need an active game for a lot of players? Have a large playing field? Octopus is a great game; I’ve seen kids request this one day after day. The octopus (“it”) stands at the center of the playing field. All of the other players, the fish, stand together at one end of the field.
The octopus calls out, “Fishies, fishies in the sea, fishies, fishies, come to me.” The fish-players run across the field to the opposite side. If tagged by the octopus, those players become seaweed. Seaweed must keep one foot in place but they can move their arms and tag players who run by them in future rounds.
True and False Tag
This is a fun way to review any subject your kids have been learning about or to test kids’ knowledge about a favorite book or series. An adult, or a child who isn’t playing the game should come up with approximately ten true or false questions about a particular topic.
Divide the group into two teams, the True team and the False team, and have them face one another about two feet apart. Mark off home bases approximately fifteen feet behind each team. The questioner makes a true or false statement. If the statement it true, the True team chases the other team to their base. And, if the statement is false, the False team then chases the other team to their base.
If a player is caught, they join the tagging team. Since the players can end up moving between the two teams, the level of competition drops.
This is a great tag game for a dozen or more kids. You start with one person as “It.” As each player is tagged, she must join hands with “It.” Only the person at the end of the blog (the most recently tagged) can tag new players.
Large blobs can split into smaller blobs of three or more. If the blob accidentally splits anywhere along the chain, the blob dissolves and the most recently tagged player is “It.”
Tea for Two Tag
All players pair up with a partner and decide which of them will be the first “It.” Have players move around the play area for fifteen seconds, moving away from their partner. Call out “go” and each player tries to tag only one person, his or her partner. When a person tags her partner, they switch roles.
Players go back and forth as long as the game lasts, five-to-ten minutes. This game is more fun when the playing area is small so all the pairs have to move between one another.
One player starts as “It.” When “It” tags another player, that player bends over so their hands and feet are touching the ground. This player is freed when another player crawls through the hoop formed by the player’s body.
Since this tag and chase game doesn’t have a natural turnover to make another player “It,” every couple of minutes a new player should be named “It.” (If all of the players are bent over, the last player becomes the new “It.”)
If you need to speed up a game, perhaps not enough players are getting tagged, you can always add in a second player to be “It” in any of these tag games for kids. If the day is warm, pause in between rounds for water breaks so kids stay hydrated.
When kids start complaining of unfairness, it is usually a sign that they are getting tired or overexcited. Have that child act as a judge, watching for fair play, during a round. Oftentimes, that helps the child’s heart rate to slow and they can return to the game. Plan something slow after a game of tag so kids can unwind.