Tag has been an iconic childhood game for as long as most of us can remember. These days, however, there are so many different versions of the classic game. Some incorporate beloved characters from Star Wars or Pokémon while others encourage kids to act like animals or robots. There are even versions of tag that turn the players into pizza toppings and hot dogs! Some tag games are best played in P.E. class since you’ll need cones, Hula-Hoops, mats, or bean bags. Still others, like flashlight tag or water freeze tag, are perfect to play with friends in your neighborhood. Ready to play? Choose one of the tag games on our list and start running!
1. Freeze Tag
Select two players to be “it” in this fun twist on regular tag, then set them free to “freeze” all the other players.
Learn more: The Genius of Play
2. Star Wars Tag
While this game is fun for anyone, Star Wars lovers will really get into playing rebels, Stormtroopers, Luke, Leia, Yoda, or even Darth Vader himself. Bonus: Could anything be more fun than tagging your friends with your lightsaber (in this case, a pool noodle)?
3. Octopus Tag
Start with one octopus while the rest of the kids are fish. Once tagged, fish become crabs who must stay where they were tagged as they join the octopus in trying to tag the fish as they run past. Finally, the last fish tagged becomes the next octopus. Since kids love funny hats, you can make a special one to designate the octopus.
Learn more: ZiggityZoom/Octopus Tag
4. Hot Dog Tag
In this hilarious version of tag, the first student tagged becomes the hot dog who then needs to find their “buns.” Once a complete hot dog is formed by three kids lying side by side, they are allowed to rejoin the game.
5. Blob Tag
In this fun game, two kids link elbows to form the blob before chasing the other players. Once the blob reaches four players, it breaks off into two separate blobs.
Learn more: Playworks/Blob Tag
6. Spider Tag
Kids will definitely get a kick out of tagging their friends with their spider webs made from balled-up pinnies. Spiderman fans will be especially excited to play this fun twist on tag.
7. Cookie Jar
The tagger is the Cookie Monster and the rest of the students are the cookies. The cookies must ask, “Cookie Monster, Cookie Monster, are you hungry?” then wait for either a yes or a no reply. If yes, they must try to run across the field without getting eaten. If no, they must stay where they are.
Learn more: Playworks/Cookie Jar
8. Band-Aid Tag
This is a simple but unique twist on tag. When tagged, runners have to place their hand over where they were tagged as a Band-Aid. Once they have two Band-Aids, they must then wait to be freed.
9. Shadow Tag
Tag games that also incorporate science lessons are the best! Before playing this fun game, teach your students about the ways in which shadows are formed when objects block a light source.
Learn more: Peep and the Big Wide World/Shadow Tag
10. Pokemon Tag
Elementary school–age kids love Pokémon and they love running around, so this will be sure to be a hit! We especially love that it works well for big groups and provides opportunities for different types of movement.
11. Scarecrow Soccer Tag
This would be a fun game of tag to play in the fall since tagged players become scarecrows. A player must crawl through the scarecrow’s legs to free them.
12. Oonch Neech
A popular game in Pakistan, this tag game requires players to find higher ground on a tree, rock, etc., in order to be safe from the tagger.
Learn more: Active for Life/OonchNeech
13. Color Tag
Before playing, set up Hula-Hoops or bean bags to designate certain areas as specific colors. When tagged, a player must run to the designated color and do jumping jacks while spelling that particular color.
Learn more: Playworks/Color Tag
14. Everybody’s It
This is the perfect game for your class if everyone wants to be the tagger. In this game, everyone can be!
15. Robot Tag
Kids will love getting a turn to be one of the evil toy makers since they get to turn their friends into robots. This is one game where kids might not mind getting tagged since they get an opportunity to showcase their best robot walk.
Learn more: PE Central/Robot Tag
16. Pac-Man Tag
Parents and P.E. teachers who grew up playing Pac-Man will definitely get a kick out of bringing the 1980s arcade game to life. We think your students will have a lot of fun too!
17. Toilet Tag
Tag games that also include some bathroom humor are sure to be a hit with the elementary-age crowd. The tagger turns their friends into toilets and then other players flush the toilet to free them.
Learn more: Elementary P.E. Games/Toilet Tag
18. Animal Tag
Little kids like to act like animals for no reason so why not give them one? This is a fun game for P.E., home, or recess.
19. Zombie Tag
You will need Hula-Hoops, cones, and a lot of pool noodles to bring this one to life (or back from the dead, in this case). This would be the perfect game to play during spooky season.
20. Pinnie Tag
You can create a lot of variations of this one game, but the main idea remains the same. To begin, everyone places a pinnie hanging three-quarters of the way out of the back of their shorts/pants. Then, everyone must go after everyone else and attempt to pull out other players’ pinnies. Last man standing wins. You can amend this for sports like basketball or soccer by adding a ball into the equation.
Learn more: web.uvic.ca/Pinnie Tag
21. Cops and Robbers Tag
What’s better than a fun twist on a classic game? A fun twist on two classic games!
Learn more: Kid Activities/Cops and Robbers
22. Pirates and Sailors
Begin the game with three pirates. Sailors attempt to travel from ship to ship without being sent to the pirate ship, also known as prison.
23. Flashlight Tag
This is the perfect game to play during summer nights. Gather your flashlights and neighbors and then get to playing!
Learn more: WikiHow/Flashlight Tag
24. Stick It On Tag
Kids will go nuts for this game, but you will need to have the necessary vests on hand. We’ve included links below for an option for a school or for fun at home with just a few kids.
Learn more: Gopher Sport/Stick It On
Buy it: Action! Stick It Set
Buy it: Dodgeball Game for Kids
25. Pizza Tag
Before playing, pick a few kids to be the chefs and then divide the rest of the kids into pizza toppings. When your topping is called during the game, you need to run from one end of the gym to the other without the chefs getting you.
26. Dragon Tag
We especially love the cooperation required in this version of tag. Teams will link arms to form dragons and then the end player will tuck a scarf or bandanna into their clothes to act as the tail. Teams try to steal each other’s tails during the game.
Learn more: Very Well Family/Dragon Tag
27. Triangle Tag
This version of tag is so simple yet so fun. Divide kids into teams of three, then pick which one of you will be the designated player who will need to be protected from the tagger.
28. Crab Tag
Designate a smaller area than normal for this fun game. Taggers will need to tag players while walking on all fours like a crab.
Learn more: PE With Mr. G
29. Dead Ant Tag
Get your students laughing while also burning calories with this fun spin on tag. Tagged players must lie on their backs with their arms and legs in the air since they are now dead ants. A separate player must tag each of the dead ant’s limbs so they can rejoin the game.
30. Water Freeze Tag
Tag games that help to keep you cool during the summer months are the best! This game is basically just freeze tag but with water guns!
Learn more: Education.com/Water Freeze Tag