Fit 4 Fun Fitness

Fit 4 Fun Fitness

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Tag and Group Fun



 The game of tag is a popular activity for children.  Tag teaches many important basic physical and mental skills.  Tag shows a participant to be observant of their surroundings, play fair,  follow rules, learn to work cooperatively in a group, be imaginative and creative, develop speed, strength and agility, and to use  hand and eye coordination. In the colonial period children learned skills through games that they would need later in life as pioneers in the frontier Today these skills are still important for kids to master. My next section will consist of  helpful ideas a group instructor may use when teaching tag to her students.

  • To maintain safety, it is important to teach a freeze signal that means "Stop immediately" as well as a command that will gather the children together.  Calling 5, 4,3,2,1, quickly brings children together.
  • It is important to teach about safe tagging—a light touch on the shoulder, arm, or back is always appropriate.
  • A player is out if they argues with the "tagger."
  •  It is important to talk about safety issues that are specific to the game, such as boundaries and unsafe sections in the playing area . 
  • Make sure boundaries are clearly marked and communicated to the group.
  • Have students quiet and sitting down as you explain the directions to the game.
  • Model any unusual or tricky movements.
  • Join in the game, if you wish, but also keep an active watch on the proceedings. 
  • Talking about tag games after they are played maximizes the learning.  Take a few minutes after playing to reflect by asking questions such as, "What made this game work?”  "Were there any problems with this game?”  "What could we do better next time?"
  • Have children cool off by having them get a drink of water at the conclusion of the tag session.
  • Try a stretch/cool down and tell a related story to calm and relax the children. In this next section there are some ideas for encouraging fitness and health with children using tag.

Kick the Can

Materials:  Three cans and a piece of chalk for the center. 

Draw a circle and stack three cans in the center.  Everyone stands on the circle.  “It” chooses a kicker, who starts the game by kicking the cans.  Everyone runs to hide while “It” stacks the cans back in the center.  Then “It” looks for players, saying the name and place (“I see Katie behind the fence”).  Katie is now in jail (inside the circle) unless she can get back to the circle before “It” does.  Other players can free those in jail by kicking the cans before “It” can get back to the circle.  Then “It” must stack up the cans and begin the search again.  The game ends when “It” finds all the players and puts them in jail.



This indoor/outdoor game is Hide and Seek in reverse.  “It” gets a  twenty second head start to hide, then everyone goes to look for “It.”  When a player finds “It,” he tries to join “It” in the hiding spot without being seen by the others.  As more and more players find “It,” they pack into the hiding spot “like sardines”!  The last one to find “It” becomes “It” for the next round.


Freeze Tag

“It” chases players within a certain area.  Tagged players are “frozen” but can be unfrozen if tagged by a free player.  The game ends when all players are frozen.  The last one frozen becomes “It” for the next round.


Marco Polo

Materials:  Blindfold or hat to fit over eyes.

 Students may also close their eyes.  Choose boundaries in an open area (inside or outside).  Blindfold “It” and spin “It” around five times.  Everyone runs from “It” and must freeze when “It” finishes spinning and yells, “Stop!”  Then “It” shouts “Marco!”  The players may move, but they must freeze before replying “Polo!”  (A disguised voice for “Polo” is fun!)  Keep up the “Marco … Polo … Marco … Polo …” as “It” tries to track a voice and tag a player.  Whoever is tagged becomes “It” for the next round.  This game is also fun in the pool.   Be sure to assign someone to walk with Marco to help him avoid crashing into anything.


Capture the Flag

Materials: Two scarves or two bandannas

Choose boundaries for two teams with a middle line.  Each team hides its “flag” somewhere on its side of the field; the flag must be visible when you approach it, not concealed.  Each team also chooses an area for its jail.  The object of the game is to find the other team’s flag and bring it back to the middle line.  When a player crosses over to the opponent’s side to search for the flag, he can be tagged and put in jail.  Players are freed from jail when tagged by a teammate.  The game ends when one team captures the other’s flag.  Make sure that boundaries and jails are clearly marked and understood by the players.

Sunny Day Tag

You will need a sunny day for this game.  "It" chases free players and when "It" steps on their shadow, the free player becomes "It."

Elephant Stampede

Materials: Pool noodle (18 inches long) or paper towel roll

Start with one person being “It”. The person who is “It” holds one piece of the noodle/roll and chases people within the boundaries.  He will then hit people below the knees.  The person who is hit must lock arms with the tagger.  The two of the “taggers” must chase other people hitting them below the knees and locking arms with them.  The game ends when all the players have joined a team.  Be sure to remind players to lightly tap their opponents.  For a large group you may have more than more one “tagger.”

Bunny, Bunny Rabbit

 Student sits on the floor in a circle.  One person then goes around the group and taps each person’s head lightly saying Bunny or Rabbit.  If the person says Rabbit, then both students run around the group and attempt to be the first back at the empty space where they began.  The last person back repeats the process.  You can vary the game using Duck, Duck, Goose or Hare, Hare, Tortoise. .                                                               

Tag games are fun.  They encourage students to burn off physical energy, and teach the physical, cognitive, and social skills.  Teaching children cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control are important lessons for life.

ABC Teach Tag Games

Colonial Games History


Easter/Spring Tag Games for children to play


Focus on the Family

History of Tag Introduction


Games Children love to play


Huges, Sarah, Let’s Play Tag, Rosen Book Works, 2000


 Games from Long Ago


Recently I had the opportunity as a teacher and a group fitness instructor to take my 21st century students  for some 19th  and 20th century-style games.  The games mentioned here are timeless, fun and easy to use for students of any century. 


Materials: (Many of these items can be purchased from the dollar or discount store.)

  • Two large spoons
  • Two oranges or similar sized objects
  • Two handkerchiefs
  • Twelve beanbags/Frisbees or similar sized objects
  • Two to four light-weight or whiffle balls
  • Two clean, empty, chicken buckets




Hunt the Ring


The players form a circle on the floor and one person is chosen to be “IT.” “IT” is in the middle of the circle and closes his eyes until the game begins.  The other players pass a ring or another small object back and forth in the circle behind their backs.  The object of the game is to have “IT” find out who has the ring.  If the guess is right, the person with the ring becomes “IT.”  This game teaches children to be quick, agile, and aware of their surroundings.


Cat Meowing


One person is blindfolded or closes their eyes.  The others move around the player in a circle.  The person who is “IT” tries to catch the other players.  The person caught must meow like a cat.  If the guess is correct then that person becomes the cat.  If the guess is wrong, play continues until the cat correctly identifies the meow of the other player.  This game teaches skills similar to Hunt the Ring, but also involves the hearing skills.



Feather, Feather in the Air


Players may sit in a circle or be in a designated area.  A feather or lightweight object is tossed into the air and the other players see how long they can keep the object afloat without it dropping to the floor.  Plastic packing peanuts work well for this purpose also.  Direction, speed and cooperation make this game a great success among kids.


Anytime Games

Red Light, Green Light

Two lines are established at opposite ends of the playing area.  One line is the goal line; the other is the starting line.  One player is "“IT”" and stands on the goal line and closes his eyes.  When he calls “green light,” players move toward him.  When he calls "red light," he opens his eyes and all of the players must stop moving.  Any player who is caught in motion must return to the starting line.  Players can continue moving if any color other than "red light" is called.  The suspense of the game occurs as the players wonder what color will be called and if they are free to move.  The first player to reach the goal wins.  The last one to reach the goal is “IT” for the next game.  Relays about automobiles are a great thematic follow-up after this game.  Types of automobiles in the early 20th  century can be named.   This game emphasizes following directions and listening.

Captain, May I?

This is similar to Red Light.  There is a goal line and a starting line, and the player who is "Captain" stands at the goal line.  The "Captain" addresses one player at a time to "Take one giant step" or "Take 5 baby steps" or "Skip three steps,” etc.  That player must remember to say, "Captain, May I?" and wait for permission before he can advance.  If the player forgets to ask permission first, he must return to the starting line.  The Captain then addresses another player on the line and continues until one player finally reaches the goal line.  That player then becomes the "Captain.”  Listening and following directions is important in this game. 

Drop the Handkerchief

This is played with at least eight players and a handkerchief or small piece of folded paper.  One player is designated “IT” and gets the handkerchief.  The other players form a circle by holding hands.  “IT” walks slowly around the outside of the circle and puts the handkerchief behind one person.  The person must chase “IT” and try to tag him before “IT” runs around the circle once and gets back to the person’s place.  Alertness and using direction are great skills taught in this game.

Active Games

Farmer and the Crow

Divide the children into teams of equal number, each team behind a starting line, facing a wall or finish line about twenty feet away.  The first player on each team is a farmer, the second player is a crow, the third is a farmer, the fourth is a crow, and so on.  At a signal, the first farmer on each team takes the seeds (six beanbags or another similar sized object) and places them at equal intervals from the starting line to the finish line.  He runs back and touches the second player, a crow.  The crow must hop over each of the beanbags, touch the finish line, change to the other foot, hop back, and pick up each seed as he comes to it.  He hands the seeds to player number three, a farmer, who goes out to plant them again, and so on.  The team finishing first wins.  Play again letting each crow be a farmer and vice versa.  Having a practice round for this game is helpful for students to know what to do in each round of the relay.  This game teaches sequencing and following directions.

Shepherd and the Wolf

This game also is played in a large open area.  One player is designated the Shepherd, another as the Wolf.  The rest of the players are  sheep.  The sheep are stationed at one end of the open area and the Shepherd at the other.  The Wolf is in between.  The sheep must try to get to the Shepherd without being nabbed by the Wolf.  The Wolf takes captured sheep to his den.  The Shepherd takes safe sheep to his fold.  The Shepherd can rescue captured sheep by tagging them in the Wolf's den when the Wolf is not there.  The Wolf can do the same with the sheep in the Shepherd's fold.  The game is over when the last stray sheep makes a run.  The winner is the Shepherd or the Wolf with the most captured sheep.  This game teaches skill and agility.

The Ribbons Game


A few ribbons are needed to play this game of opposites.  The players sit in a circle and a player is selected to be the leader.  The leader hands out a ribbon to each player.  If the leader tells them to hold on to the ribbons, the players do the opposite thing and let go.  If the leader tells them to let go of the ribbons the players continue to hang on to the ribbons.  This game teaches teamwork and cooperation.



Frog in the Middle


A student is chosen to play the frog.  He sits on a stool.  The other players move around the frog and tell him he cannot catch them.  The frog tries to catch them without leaving his stool.  The first one tagged is the next frog.  This game also teaches alertness, agility, and self-control. 


Simon Says

One player is the leader and orders the other players to make motions such as "Simon says, thumbs up" or "Simon says, hands on your head.”  The leader also makes all of these motions.  If he omits "Simon says," however, and just orders "Thumbs up," the players must not make the motion.  Anyone who does so is out of the game.  The winner is the player who remains in the game the longest.  This game shows the importance of following and listening to specific directions.


Cool down


Post office


Everyone chooses a major city like Chicago, New York City, etc.  They are mail.  If the postmaster calls out their city, they are to exchange places with another player before the postmaster can take their seat.  This is another game that teaches listening and following directions.


Blow-ball or Tuff Ball

A large dining room or picnic table is perfect for this game.  You will need a ping-pong ball or small whiffle ball.  The ball is placed at the center of the table.  Students blow the ball with all their might, trying to blow it off the table at the end belonging to the opposing team.  Teams must work together to keep the ball from going off their side of the table.

So get the kids off the couch and out in the open air.  Before you know it, you will be playing right along with them and burning excess calories and stress. 


Suggested References:

Free Games




Kalman, Bobbie Games from Long Ago, New York:NY: Crabtree Publishing Company, 1995.


Old Fashioned Kid’s Games


Pack 11four’s Library of Games


Stewart, Georgiana All-Time-Favorite Children’s Game: Long Branch, NJ.Kimbo Educational, 1979





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