Tag Games

Tag games are fun for all ages; and often, the sillier the better.  Make sure you define your boundaries and tell students to keep their heads up and be aware of their surroundings.  Use them as a warm-up, or mix them into class randomly for some fun.  The following tag games are usually a hit with my classes.

Playing hot dog tag with our little buddies

1. Hot Dog Tag

Begin with a few people “it”.  If someone is tagged, they lie on the ground like a wiener.  If two people (“buns”) lie down beside them – one on each side, they are unfrozen and join the game again.

2. Everyone It Tag

Everyone is “it”. If you are tagged you freeze. Become unfrozen when you tag a moving player (who then becomes frozen). Last person unfrozen wins.

3. Triangle Tag

Three people hold hands, and another person is “it”.  “It” tries to tag a chosen person in the triangle, while the group of three moves around trying to prevent the tag.

4. Clothespins Tag

Each person clips three clothespins onto their clothing (in an area where they don’t mind being touched).  Make sure that clothespins are visible and let students know that they cannot cover them/protect them.  On “Go!”, each person tries to collect as many clothespins as they can from other people.  When one is taken off of someone, the person who took it must clip it onto their clothing immediately.  See who can get the most clothespins in a minute.

Variation:  Everyone begins with three clothespins, but they are now trying to get rid of them by taking them off (one at a time) from their own clothes, and clipping them onto other people.  Be respectful of where you are clipping them.  If it does not fully clip/ falls off, it belongs to the original owner still.  Who can get rid of all of their clothespins first?

5. Dead Bug Tag

When you are tagged you lie on the ground with arms and legs in the air.  If someone touches your foot, you bend that leg.  If someone touches your hand, you put that arm down.  When all of your limbs have been tagged (by four different people) you get up and join the game again.

6. Fainting Goat Tag

Explain how fainting goats faint when they are scared as a defense mechanism.  “Its” will wear a pinny.  If you think that you are going to be tagged, you can lie down on your back, like a fainting goat.  When you are down, you cannot be tagged or puppy guarded.  You must get back up within 10 seconds.  If you are tagged or on the ground for too long, you become “it” as well – put a pinny on.

7. Colour Monster Tag

“Colour monster(s)” stand in the middle of the gym.  They will call out one colour and everyone who is wearing that colour must try to run across the gym without being tagged.  If they are tagged they become a colour monster as well.  Continue until there is one person left.

8. Cow-Tipping Tag

The “farmers” are “it”.  If someone is tagged they go on their hands and knees and moo like a cow.  They are unfrozen when another player tips them over to unfreeze them.

9. Yoga Tag

Freeze tag with a yoga twist.  You can play many variations.  Examples would be if you are tagged hold a downward dog.  If someone goes underneath you, you are unfrozen and join the game again.  You could also have students hold Warrior II, Child’s Pose (someone has to leap-frog over you), etc.


10. Fire Safety Tag

Choose two people to be firefighters – they can have a pool noodle (their fire hose), or wear a yellow pinny.  Then choose four people to be “it” – two will wear a red pinny or have a red ball (fire), and two will wear a blue pinny or have a blue ball (smoke). If a student is tagged by “fire” they have to stop, drop, and roll.  If they are tagged by smoke, they have to get as low as possible and crawl.  If they are tagged by a firefighter, they are back in the game.

11. Chain Tag 

“It(s)” join with people that they tag –  linking at the hands or elbows.  As they tag others, they join the chain as well. Last person tagged wins.

12. Tail Tag

Tuck a pinny into each side of your waistband. Try to steal other people’s pinnies without losing your own – you cannot hold/protect your pinny.  If you take someone’s pinny you must tuck it in unless you already have two pinnies tucked in.  In this case, hold extra pinnies in your hand.  Who can get the most pinnies in one minute?!

13. Foxes and Sheep

Choose a few foxes (“its”).  The rest of the students are sheep and will tuck a pinny into the back of their waistband and then go to one end of the gym.  On “Go!”, the sheep try to run across the gym without letting a fox pull their pinny – no protecting it though.  If their pinny is pulled, they put it away, and become a fox as well. Continue until there is one student left.

14. Toilet Tag

Freeze like a toilet when tagged – squat down and stretch one arm out. Someone has to “flush” you, to become unfrozen. Last person left unfrozen wins.

15. Passing Tag

Two people are “it” – they wear a pinny.  They must pass a ball and tag people with the ball as they hold it.  There is no moving when they have the ball, so pass quickly and trap people in corners.  Players that are tagged become “it” as well and put a pinny on.  Add more balls as you have more “its”.  Last person left wins.

16. Get Up And Go

Players sit in pairs around the playing area while “it” and someone who is trying to run away from them run around.  If the person that is being chased sits down by a pair the person on the far side has to stand up and run away.  If “it” tags you, you become “it” and they run away.  Have multiple “its” and runners to make it more exciting.

Variation: Noodle Tag – “It” is holding a pool noodle and tries to tag the person they are chasing with it, instead of their hand.

17. Line Tag

This is not the version of line tag that you are used to.  In this version, students will line up in a line alternating which way they are facing.  One person will be “it” and one person is trying to get away.  They will both be running around the line – so in a long oval shape.  “It” can run either way around the line, but the person running away can only run in one direction.  The person who is running away can gently push someone’s back in the line if their back is facing them.  They will then take their place in the line, and the person who was pushed will run away.  If “It” tags the runner, they switch roles.  It takes a moments for students to catch on, but it is a lot of fun when they do.

18. Streets and Alleys

Choose a “cat” and “mouse”.  All other players form an equal number of rows and columns – ex. 5 x 5.  Students must be close enough to each other that they can join hands with players in their row (we call this “alleys”) and column (we call this “streets”).  Students need to rotate 90 degrees to switch from alleys to streets – practice a few times before starting the game.  Have the cat and mouse start at opposite ends of the playing area.  On “Go!”, the cat will try to tag the mouse by traveling on the open streets or alleys – they may not go under, through, or over joined hands.  The caller will call out changes from streets to alleys, or alleys to streets.  When the mouse is tagged, switch up the cat and mouse.

19. 10 Second Tag

The runners will start in a playing area (ex. half of the gym) and the remaining 10 players form a line waiting for their shift to tag.  The teacher blows the whistle every 10 seconds for the next person in line to jump in to tag. Anyone who is tagged goes to the back of the line, to wait for their turn to be “it”.  To speed it up even more, have 2 “its” enter the playing field at a time.

10 Second Tag Video

20. Sharks and Seaweed

Shark(s) stand in the middle of the gym.  On “go!” the remaining players try to run across the gym without getting tagged.  If they are tagged, they must freeze their lower body and become seaweed – tagging other people who run by.  Continue yelling “Go!” until there is one person left.

21. Mystery Tag

Place a few mats/items that can be hid behind, near the middle of the gym.  Choose an “it”.  Everyone else goes to one end of the gym and faces the wall.  “It” counts down from 5-1, then the rest of the students turn around and attempt to run across the gym without being tagged.  If “it” pops out and tags someone, they become “it” as well on the next round.  Continue until there is one runner left.

Mystery Tag Video

22. Secret Agent Tag

Have students close their eyes and choose a few people to be “it” – tap them on the head once, and a few people to be secret agents – tap them on the head twice.  Tell everyone to open their eyes and give them a few seconds to find a space.  On “Go!”, “its” will try to tag people.  If someone gets tagged, they sit down in that spot.  If a secret agent touches them, they are up and back in the game.  Once the “its” realize who the secret agents are, they should try to tag them.  If a secret agent is tagged they must also sit down.  If another secret agent frees them, they are back in the game, but no longer a secret agent.  Play for a certain amount of time, or until one person is left.

23. Line Tag/Pac-Man Tag

Everyone must stay on a line as “it(s)” chase them.  If a student is tagged you can either have them freeze/sit down or become “it” as well.  If you choose the freezing option, they block the line and only the “it(s)” can go around them.

24. Name Tag Grab

Write each student’s name on a sticky name tag.  Place the names on students’ backs – do not give them their own name, and do not let anyone see what name is placed on each persons back.  On “Go!”, students will try to find and take their own name (by placing it on their chest), while trying not to let the name on their back be taken off.  The winner is the last person with their name tag on their chest and a name on their back.

25. Catch the Dragon’s Tail

Eight to ten people line up with their hands on the waist of the person in front of them.  The person at the back of the line puts a pinny into their back waistband.  On “Go!” the front person tries to pull the pinny from the back of their own dragon.

Variation: Team Catch the Dragon’s Tail – Make two or more teams who will each attempt to pull the tail of another dragon.

26. Slow Motion Tag

Designate a smaller area than normal and choose two or three people to be “it” – have them where a pinny.  Participants must move in slow motion – that means that one foot is always on the ground.  Think about moving through peanut butter.  If “it” tags someone, the person tagged becomes “it”.

27. Category Tag

Pick a category before the game – ex. vegetables, sports, countries, or singers.  “It(s)” will chase the other participants, but if they squat and call out something from that category – ex. “Carrots!” if the category is vegetables, they are safe.  If someone is tagged they become “it”.

28. Soccer Ball Tag

“It(s)” have a soccer ball at their feet and tag someone when they kick a ball at the feet of another player. If the ball hits somebody’s feet, that person becomes “it” as well, and gets their own ball. The last player to be tagged is the winner.

29. Blob Tag

Much like chain tag, “it(s)” join with people that they tag –  linking at the hands or elbows.  Unlike chain tag, as soon as there are four people linked, they split into two groups of two.  Last person left wins.

30. Band-Aid Tag

All players can tag and be tagged.  If someone is tagged, they must put one hand where they were tagged to make a band-aid.  If they are tagged again, they make a second bandaid with the other hand and continue to play.  If they are tagged for a third time, they visit a designated spot out-of-bounds – the “hospital” to complete ten jumping jacks and then rejoin the game.

I hope that you enjoy these tag games.  Please leave a comment or email me if you have any other tag game suggestions.  For more fun warm-up games check out Fun Warm-Ups.

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