5 Great Variations of Tag

Here are 5 fun, fun variations of the game of tag. You've gotta check them out1Summer will soon be here. Yay!

If you’re like me, you will have many opportunities to gather as a family — for picnics, Memorial Day, 4th of July, family reunions, birthdays, and even Labor Day. Which means you’ll need activities for your grandkids, right? Right!

The best kind of activities are those that do not require any preparation nor lots of ‘props.’ Tag fills the bill perfectly. Let me share with you 5 variations that you and your grandkids will enjoy!

Amoeba Tag

Select two grandchildren to be it. Have them hold hands and start chasing the other players.

When one of them touches another player, that player then joins hands with one of them. They then chase after the others.

When another person is tagged, the players holding hands can all stay together (making a long amoeba) or they can split off in pairs.

If a pair splits off, they start chasing and tagging other players. The round ends when nobody is left by herself and everybody is part of an amoeba chain.

Start play again with a new pair being the amoeba.

Elbow Tag

Pick one person to be It and one person to be the runner. Pair up your grandchildren and have them link elbows. If you don’t have an even number of players, you can have three people link elbows together.

Gather everyone in a circle and have It start chasing the other person.

While being chased, the runner can go up to someone in a pair and link elbows with one of them. The person linked to the other side now becomes the runner and It chases after the new runner.

If It touches the runner, the runner now becomes It and It becomes the runner. The new It starts chasing the new runner.

To make this really wild (if you have enough players), have two Its and two runners!

Ball Tag

Select one person to be It. Give It a soft ball — the kind that you see a lot in grocery stores. They tend to be made of soft plastic. You don’t want your grandkids to get hurt when hit with a ball!

It throws the ball trying to hit another player. When she does, that person becomes It. The new It takes the ball and tries to hit others.

Freeze Tag

Have you, Dear Readers, played freeze tag? I bet you have! It’s a favorite with kids.

To play choose a person to be It.  It chases the other players. When she touches someone, that person freezes — stops running and stands still.

Other players can un-freeze someone by touching someone who is frozen. Then, that person can start running again.

When everyone is frozen, select a new It and play resumes.

Mosquito Tag

Select a grandchild to be It. Give her a pool noodle. She holds the pool noodle to her forehead as she chases the others.

When she tags someone with the pool noodle, that person becomes It and takes the pool noodle, puts it up to her forehead, and chases after the others.


I’ve also written about three other variations to tag:

Glitter Tag
Clothespin Tag
Fox and Geese (sans snow).

Check them out. They are great fun, too!

While I was writing about these tag games, I thought about Kick the Can. When I was little, we played this with our cousins at a family reunion. I loved the game! So, for old times sake, I thought I would explain how to play it.

Kick the Can

Select someone to be It. Put a can (washed out of course!) in the middle of an open space.

The other players run and hide. It closes her eyes and counts to 20. Then she opens her eyes and tries to find the other players.

If she sees someone, she calls out that person’s name and runs and to kick the can.

The person that was found runs and tries to kick the can before It does. It’s a race to see who can kick the can first.

If It kicks the can first, the person that was found is sent to ‘jail’ which is simply an designated area where the found players go.

Players can choose to leave their hiding place and run to kick the can. If It sees the player, she races to kick the can first.

If the player kicks the can before It does, she is safe and then all of the players in ‘jail’ are set free.


What other variations of tag have you played?

I hope you have loads of fun playing these games with your grandchildren this summer!

12 thoughts on “5 Great Variations of Tag

  • Nina Lewis Post author


    Yes, freeze tag is a great version, too! I also played it in my younger years. Thanks so much for dropping by.


  • Nina Lewis Post author


    You could play these when your kids have friends over or at family gatherings, too! Thanks so much for dropping by.


  • Carol Cook

    I thought of you while we were walking on the beach today. I spotted a rectangle rock next to a triangular shaped rock and thought how much fun it will be when I have grandchildren to do a geometry scavenger hunt where they will look for shapes in nature.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend and thanks for sharing at SYC.

  • Jennifer

    I have not heard of several of these tag options. So fun for summer. You could play these at church or at a child’s birthday party. Thanks so much for sharing these GREAT ideas at Waiting on…Wednesday!

  • Lauren

    I’m not familiar with all of these, but freeze tag was definitely a favorite. What you described as Amoeba tag we used to cal Link Tag. I have also seen line tag, which is played in a gym and you have to stay “on the lines” only making it more challenging – of course most peoples don’t have a gymanisum in their yard, but you could always use sidewalk chalk to draw a “course” in the driveway. A variation of line tag is construction tag, where kids who get tagged sit down on the line and become “road blocks” adding to the challenge of the game as you can’t go through them.

  • Pamela Shank

    What great tag ideas. We are having a big get together this weekend and there will be a lot of little ones. I better borrow some of your tag ideas! I do remember Kick the Can.

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