Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tag, you're IT

One of the first outdoor games children learn to master is TAG.  It can be played by two or two hundred children!  Okay, so 200 is streching it a there a World Record for the most people playing one game of tag?  Hmmm, something to research with the children!  Anywho....Tag seems to be one of those universal games, that no matter where you go, some variation of it is being played.   The very basic version is when the child(ren) run around being chased by "it" who then taps someone with their hand and yells "you're it", indicating that the title of "it" has been passed on.  Often the next step is declaring a spot or landmark as "T" (or time out), where a player can not be tagged by "it".  From there it's only a matter of time before this simplist of games becomes increasingly elaborate!  When this begins to happen, I create a folder or binder with lots of lined paper for the children to write out the rules of the game so we can all refer back to and discuss playing fair or add newly learned versions.   I am going to ask permission from one of the children to post the rules for his tag game called "Bulldozer", but until then try one of these with your group.

Freeze Tag
Best played with 5 or more people.  When "it" tags someone, they must "freeze" onto that spot and not move.  The last player to be frozen is 'it" next.  Variations: 1) a frozen player may be thawed when another player touches them.  2) a tagged player must freeze into a statue-like position.

Shadow Tag
Play this game on a sunny day.  "It" must tag players by stepping on their shadows.  The person who's shadow gets tagged is then "it" or is out of the game.

Ship to Shore
 Spots in the playground or field are designated as the ship and shore (ex - picnic table is the ship and tuft of grass is shore.)  "It" stands in between ship and shore and all the players stand on shore.  "It" then yells "ship" and everyone must run to the ship without being tagged.  If you get tagged you're out.  "It"stands back in the middle and calls out ship or shore until he/she has tagged all the players.  The last player left is now "it".   The person who is it may try and trick the other players by calling out an area they're already standing on.  Variations of this game are almost endless, so i'll only add three or four: 1) "it" can be a pirate, a shark, a giant squid, etc. 2) players who are tagged can become helpers of "it" and tag people as well. 3) if playing on asphault or concrete, use chalk to create your areas. 4) change up the, "cave to lake" or "mars to jupiter" or add another area "ship to shore to sky".

As an end note:   I always come across the one child who really wants to be a part of the game, UNTIL, it is his/her turn to be "it" or gets tagged early on in the game, then pouting or disappointment ensues.   My take on it is to remind them that this is how the game is played, it's okay for them to feel that particular rules are unfair and they can choose to count themselves out of that game. Making a whole group change the rules for one child that does not want to be "it" may cause quite a bit of tension and exclusion the next time the "one" child joins in.  Winning and losing are part of a child's way to learn about how rules are made up, how to face and cope with disappointment and, how to problem solve.  We can teach them resilience by helping them look at the positive, "you're "it", so now you get to tag someone and decide who's "it" next." or "today you got tagged first, but yesterday you didn't get tagged until the end." 

Do your children have a game of Tag they like to play?  How is played?  Let's see how many tag games we know!
Until You Read Again....

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