8 Ways to Play Tag

Tag is a great game that gets kids running and their hearts pumping, but it can get boring quickly. Here are eight ways to make the classic game of tag more fun for kids and keep them playing for hours!

Classic Tag: In its basic form, the game of tag has one person who is “it”. Everyone else wants to avoid being tagged by the person who is “it”. When someone is tagged, that person becomes the new “it” and the game continues. 

1 – Shadow Tag

A low contact option that is great for little kids. In shadow tag, the person who is “it” jumps onto another player’s shadow to tag them. The tagged player becomes the new “it”.

2 – Freeze Tag

Freeze tag also starts with one person as “it”. When a player is tagged, instead of becoming the new “it”, that person stands still with their legs wide apart. Another player must crawl through the frozen player’s legs without getting tagged to unfreeze them. The game ends when all players are frozen. (To help the game go faster, consider having more than one person who is “it”.)

3 – Freeze Tag + Candle Tag

In this game of freeze tag, players who are tagged must put their hands together above their head and slowly lower their hands, like a melting candle. To be unfrozen, another player must “blow out the candle” by blowing on or tapping the frozen player’s hands. If a candle melts all the way to the ground (if the frozen player’s hands reach the ground before they can be unfrozen) that player becomes the new “it”.

4 – Freeze Tag + Robot Tag 

One player is “it” and another has the “oil can” (a spray bottle filled with water). The player with the “oil can” cannot be tagged. When a player is tagged, they must freeze and do robot movements until the player with the “oil can” unfreezes them by spraying them with water. The player who was just unfrozen takes over the “oil can”. This version doesn’t have a clear ending, so feel free to make up your own rule for when the game is over!

5 – Sharks and Minnows

This game requires a “start” and a “finish” line. One person is “it” and plays the shark. All the other players are the minnows and line up along the starting line. When the shark shouts “Go!” all the players try to run across the field to the finish line without being tagged. Anyone who is tagged stops running and becomes “seaweed”. They cannot move their feet, but they can wave their arms to try and tag more minnows in the next round. The last minnow alive wins and becomes the new shark.

6 – Blob Tag (or Link Tag)

This game is best with a large group. One person starts as “it”. When they tag someone, the tagged player joins arms with the person who is “it” to form a chain (or a blob). As people are added to the chain, they must work together to tag the remaining players. The last player to be tagged is the winner.

7 – Bandaid Tag

In band-aid tag, all players can tag and be tagged. Once a player is tagged, they must put one hand on the spot they were touched, like a bandaid. If they are tagged again, they must make another bandaid with their second hand and keep running. If someone with two bandaids is tagged a third time, they must visit the “hospital”–someplace out of bounds where they cannot be tagged again. Players in the “hospital” can either be out until only one player is left and the game restarts, or they can do an exercise (for example, 10 jumping jacks) to rejoin the game.

8 – Flag Tag

Flag tag is another great low-contact version of the game. Similar to band-aid tag, everyone can tag and be tagged. Each player gets a flag to tuck into their waistband or pocket (this could be a handkerchief, bandana, hand towel, or any other strip of fabric you have on hand). Make sure everyone leaves about the same amount of fabric hanging out to keep things fair. Instead of touching the other players to tag them, kids should grab the other players’ flags. Once their flag is taken, they are out. The player with the most flags at the end of the game is the winner.


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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)