Six times tag: different ways to play tag

Don't have a ball? Don't need one! Remember, "Tag, you're it!"? Here are 6 new variations on an old favourite

By Helaine Becker
Six times tag: different ways to play tag

Basic Tag
One player is chosen to be It. All the other players run away from It, trying not to be tagged. If they are tagged, they become the new It.

Option 1: Declare a safe zone. If the players are in this zone — touching a particular tree, for example — they cannot be tagged.

Option 2: Oonch Neech. Popular in Pakistan, the name roughly means "up and down." Players are safe from It only if they are not touching the ground — hanging from a tree branch, standing on a stump or the porch, etc.

Freeze Tag
Play freeze tag like basic tag, except if a player is tagged, he does not become It. Instead, he becomes frozen like a statue. Frozen players can become unfrozen when another player who has not been tagged yet tags them.

The game is over whenever It gets everyone else frozen. The last person frozen becomes the new It.

Option: cartoon tag. Frozen players are unfrozen when they shout out the name of a popular cartoon character. The catch? Each character can only be used once. The game ends when players cannot think of any more cartoon characters and everyone who is tagged remains frozen.

Amoeba Tag
Choose four kids to start out as the “amoeba.” These four link their arms together, forming a chain. The amoeba must remain linked at all times.

The aim of the game is for the amoeba to catch and eat as many other players as possible. The amoeba does this by forming a circle around them, with the front end of the chain and the back end linked. A captured player becomes part of the amoeba — the circle opens up and the new player grabs the hand of the player on the end. The game continues until everyone has been tagged and is part of the amoeba. The last four players tagged become the amoeba in the next round of play.
Werewolf Tag
This tag version is a lot like hide-and-seek. Decide on a safe base. The werewolf closes his eyes and counts to 15 while the other players hide. If a player sees the werewolf, she can alert others by yelling out "werewolf!" Players can then run to the base and safety.

If the werewolf catches someone, he becomes the new werewolf. Howl to let other players know about the transformation and call them back "home." Keep playing until everyone has had a chance to be the werewolf.

Colour Tag
Divide the group into teams and assign each team a different colour.The person who’s It stands in the middle of the field. The rest of the players stand at one end or the other.

It calls out a colour. All of the players on that colour team must cross the field to safety on the other side. Any player tagged becomes It.

Dragon Tail Tag
Have all the players line up with their hands on the hips of the player in front of them, like in a conga line. All the players are now part of a single dragon. The player at the front of the line is the dragon's head. The player at the back of the line is the dragon's tail.

The object of the game is for the dragon's "head" to catch and swallow the dragon's "tail." Of course the tail does not want to be eaten! The head and tail can move in any direction as they chase and avoid each other, as long as the chain does not break.

If the head catches the tail, the head links onto the tail and the next person in line becomes the new head. Play until everyone has had a chance to be both the dragon's head and tail.

This article was originally published on May 15, 2006

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