Activity Inspiration: Cooperative Tag
Tag is a classic childhood game, no doubt. But sometimes the need to play big, run around, and burn off excess energy is balanced against worries about creating unnecessary strife or upset. Some social-emotional concerns with playing tag include:
- A particular child being tagged repeatedly, which can lead to feelings of rejection or bullying
- Excessive competition leading to aggression
- The “it” child struggling to tag or keep up with peers, leading to embarrassment or frustration
While adversity is certainly a normal part of childhood, creating circumstances for hard feelings is no one’s idea of a good time. So, what are your options when kids want to play tag or it’s a beautiful day to run and play, but you’re just not down for the drama?
Organize a game of cooperative tag. Cooperative games take the sting out of the competition by reducing aggression and increasing pro-social skills. Here are two variations of cooperative tag that are sure to help your CACFP participants blow off some steam and have a blast, without any tears.
Blob Tag starts out like classic tag, but when the “it” child tags someone, the two join hands or link arms, and must run and tag together! With each new tag the blob grows and must work as a team to move and tag. The game is over when the last child is tagged. This game is best played indoors or in a space with set boundaries. The larger the space, the more challenging it will be to tag the last few players.
Pair off your CACFP participants and choose a pair to be “it.” When either member of the team tags anyone else, both members of the tagged team swap in to become “it,” and both of the formerly “it” team members are “not it” until one of them gets tagged again. Partner Tag is great for facilitating communication skills. Team members will be obligated to communicate with each other when they get tagged or when they tag someone, and they’ll want to cheer each other on. Some teams may even choose to strategize together. Best of all, because the “it” position has two players, no one will feel like the odd-man-out or be stuck in that role for very long.
Do you play any cooperative games at your site? We want to hear about them! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us in the photos @NationalCACFP on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check in soon for more activity ideas.