Tag – You’re It! 16 Varieties of an Old Favorite

February 12th, 2013 posted by Amanda Formaro

playing tag

Tag is a game that has lasted throughout the ages. We played them as a child and our children do the same. There are many different varieties of tag that have sprung up throughout the years. Try one of these fun games with your kids!

Where to Play: Anywhere you can run!


Kids ages 6 to 14 will enjoy these games.

Number of Players:

5 or more.

Equipment Needed:

Varies – please see individual game for equipment needs.

Amoeba Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: “It” chases players until someone is tagged. Once tagged, that player joins hands with “It”. They run together and chase people. The person that they catch links hands with the chain. Once 4 people are caught, they can either stay together or split into two groups. As more people are caught, they can stay together or split apart in even numbers at will. Play until all are caught.

Ankle Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Players avoid being tagged only by grabbing the ankle of another player. Only one player can touch the ankle of another player at a time. Once tagged, that player becomes the new “It”.

Backwards Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Everyone chooses someone to be “It”. It gets a five-second head start, then everyone that is NOT “It” chases after “It”. Once “It” is tagged, the person that tagged him becomes the new “It” and everyone chases after him. //

Blob Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Players must stay in a designated area. “It” chases players until someone is tagged. Once tagged, that player grabs the hand of “It”. They become a blob. The blob runs together after another player until that player gets tagged. Once tagged, that player grabs the hand of the second person and the blob grows. Play continues until everyone has become part of the blob.

Clothespin Tag

Equipment Needed: 5 clothespins for each player. How to Play: Players hook 5 clothes pins to the back of their shirts. The object of the game is pull off as many clothes pins from other people without losing your own. You can only pull off the clothes pins, without pulling clothes or pushing. (Violators forfeit a clothes pin to the victim). Once a player loses all of their pins, they are out of the game. Play continues until only one player remains.

Dragon Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Players stand in a line. Players put their hands on the hips of the player in front of them forming one long dragon. The player in the front is the head of the dragon, the player at the back is its tail. The head tries to catch the tail and the tail end tries not to be caught. If the head catches the tail, the head links onto the tail and the next person in line becomes the new head of the dragon. Play continues until all players have had a chance to be the head and the tail.

Elbow Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Players group themselves into groups of three leaving one player out as “It”. Players link arms at the elbow. “It” touches one group of three to begin play. Those three players must now break apart as “It” tries to tag one of them. In order to be safe, a player must run to another group of three players and link arms to one of the sides. The person on the opposite side of the group must unlink and run. They in turn must attempt to link with another group of three before they are tagged. If “It” successfully tags a player, they become the new “It”.

Flashlight Tag

Equipment Needed: Flashlight. How to Play: This game is played at night. “It” is chosen. “It” will count to 50 while the other players run and hide. “It” uses a flashlight to find other players. A player that can sneak past “It” and get to base will be safe. Play continues until all players are found or are safe. The first player caught with the flashlight is the new it.

Freeze Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: “It” chases the players. Once tagged, a player must remain motionless until another player can touch them in order to “unfreeze” them. Play continues until all players are frozen.

Lemonade Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Divide into two groups. One group decides on a mutual occupation, such as being, ostrich farmers, or tight-rope walkers. Then they walk toward the other group. As they move toward the other group they begin a banter with the opposite group by saying, ” Here we come.” The other group answers, “Where from?” “(Name of a city) ____ City.” “What’s your trade?” “Lemonade” ” If you’re not afraid, show me…” The first group acts out the profession. As soon as the group guesses the profession, the first team turns and sprints back toward base. The other group races after to tag them. If someone is caught, they join the guessing team to choose the next profession.

Shadow Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: This is best played late in the afternoon or early evening, when the shadows are long. “It” tags players by stepping on their shadows. If a player gets tagged, they become the new “It”.

Sting Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: “It” is the wasp. Players run around and try to avoid being stung. Wherever “It” tags you, that part of your body goes numb. For example, if you are touched on the leg, you can’t use your leg. Play continues until players can’t move. The first player that can’t move becomes the new “It”.

T. Rex Dinosaur Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Designate one area, called “home” that is “safe” for the plant-eating dinosaurs to run to in order to avoid being eaten by Tyrannesaurus Rex. “It” is T. Rex. He closes his eyes and counts to 15 while the other players run and hide. T. Rex wanders around and tries to find the plant-eating dinosaurs (the other players). If T. Rex sees a player, then he can chase after him. If the plant-eater “freezes” (doesn’t move), then the T. Rex can’t catch him (because T. Rex is drawn by movement). If the plant-eating dinosaur does move, however, then the T. Rex can try and catch him. The player is only safe if he outruns the T. Rex or gets to “home”. If the T. Rex catches the plant-eater, then the caught player becomes the new T. Rex.

Werewolf Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: “It” is a werewolf. He closes his eyes and counts to 15 while the other players run and hide. The werewolf wanders around and tries to find the other players. Players can yell “werewolf” if they see him. If someone yells “werewolf” all players can run to “base” and be safe. If the werewolf catches someone either in a hiding place, or on the way back to base, they become the new werewolf. When the werewolf tags someone, be sure to HOWL (to let other players know to come in and start a new game). This game is best played at night under a full moon!

Wizard Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: One person is chosen as the wizard. The wizard attempts to cast spells on all of the players. The wizard can only cast a spell once. There is no “safe spot” in this game. The wizard must touch a player and cast a spell. He may cast any of 10 spells: Freeze – the player must freeze in place. Snake – the player must lie down on the ground on his stomach with his arms at his sides and “slither” like a snake. Tree – the player raises his arms above his head and stands in one spot with legs together. Chicken – the player bends from the hip, places her arms at her sides, and “bobs” her head. Seal – the player gets on the ground face-first and places his legs behind him and rises onto his arms in “seal-like” fashion. Rock – the player curls into a ball and is stuck in one spot. Ball – the player curls into a ball and may roll (somersault) around. Vine – the player gets low to the ground and his feet are stuck in one spot, however, he can “grow” by stretching out his full length in any direction. House – the player stands in one place with his arms at his sides. Crab – the player must get down on the ground and walk “crab-like”. (The player sits on the ground and places his hands behind him and then lifts his rear-end up. The player can then move using his arms and legs while holding his rear-end in the air.) If a player has a spell cast upon him, he must perform the spell. If the spell indicates that he is stuck in one spot, then he must stay in one spot. However, if the spell is a spell that the player could move, he can move as long as he moves in the way the spell describes. The spell is broken only if two players that had spells cast on them, touch. If a spell is broken, then the wizard can re-use that spell until he casts it again. This game quickly becomes a game of strategy because the wizard must cast spells quickly and in such a way to keep players from being able to free themselves of the spells.

Zombie Tag

Equipment Needed: None. How to Play: Players stay within a designated area. ” It” closes their eyes and walks around moaning with their arms outstretched in front of them. When the zombie moans, everyone else must moan as well. (This is how “It” will find his victims.) Play continues until someone is caught. The person that is caught, then becomes the zombie.

Amanda Formaro
Amanda Formaro (345 Posts)

Amanda Formaro is a freelance writer, editor, craft designer, and recipe developer. She loves multi-tasking and has been writing and working on the Internet since 1997. You can find her at AmandaFormaro.com. You’ll find her craft projects at CraftsbyAmanda.com and her recipes on AmandasCookin.com.

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