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Tag Games for PE: 6 Engaging Activities for Elementary Physical Education

Tag games are a great way to get kids active and moving in a Physical Education class. They are also a lot of fun for students! One of the great things about tag games is that they can be played indoors or outdoors. If you have a large class, you can split students into groups and have them play in different areas. This way, everyone gets a chance to play and no one feels left out.

Physical Education Tag Games: 6 Fun Games to Keep Your Students Active and Engaged!

In this blog article, I'll look at PE tag games, discuss why they're a great way to add variety to a Phys Ed class, examine some teaching methods for incorporating them in a lesson, and provide six ideas you may utilize in your gym or learning area. These games are easy to learn and can be played by students of all ages.


Why play tag games in PE?

Tag games are a great way to get kids moving and improve their physical fitness. Not only do they provide an opportunity to run and burn off energy, but they also help to develop coordination and agility. In addition, tag games can promote social interaction and teamwork. When played in a safe and controlled environment, such as a school gym or playground, tag games can be an enjoyable and beneficial part of physical education.

Utilizing tag game experiences in PE lessons can provide a fun and exciting way to meet SHAPE America's Standard 3 which states: The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.*

SHAPE America Standard 3 Visual

How to include tag games in physical education

Tag games are a great way to get kids moving and exercising. They can be used as a warm-up activity or as the main activity. If you are using them as a warm-up, you can have students play for a few minutes before starting the main focus activity. This will help them get their heart rate up and prepare for the rest of the lesson. If you are using tag games as the focus activity, you can have students play for a longer period. You may also add different versions of the game to keep things interesting. Students might travel using different locomotor movements, or they can compete with partners or small group teams. Don't be afraid to attempt playing tag games inside or outside.


Tips for incorporating tag games into your Physical Education classes

  • Make sure everyone understands the rules and regulations before starting the game

  • Encourage students to be active, play fair and have fun

  • Make sure students have plenty of space to move around. If you have a large class, consider splitting students into groups and having them play in different areas

  • Pause the game occasionally to redirect behavior or provide rest periods

  • Try to vary the games each week so students don’t get bored

  • Be creative! There are many variations of tag games that can be played

  • Add in some PE equipment like a soccer ball to the activities for variety

Be creative when planning tag games for PE

Now that you know the importance of utilizing tag games in your physical education classes, let's look at six unique games you can play.

Tag Game #1: Everyone's It!


A variation of freeze tag in which everyone playing the game is it.

Game Instructions

  • The teacher directs students to find any spot in the room to begin but they cannot start against a wall

  • On cue (preferably music) students begin moving around the playing area performing a teacher-designated locomotor movement

  • Students attempt to tag others while avoiding being tagged themselves – EVERYONE’S IT”!!!

  • If students get tagged, they must sit in that spot (frozen player), but they are not out – They can tag others that move by from a sitting or kneeling position

  • If students tag each other at the same time – they must both go down

  • Games should be short – 1 to 2 minutes (fun game)

  • Use a variety of locomotor movements during the game

Physical Education Tag Games

Tag Game #2: Fitness Collection Agency (FCA)


Students work in pairs to collect, save, protect, and capture cones to their hula hoop (collection area).

Game Instructions

  • Group your classes in partners

  • Each partner group begins with 6 dome cones or beanbags and 1 hula hoop

  • The dome cones or bean bags are placed inside the hula hoop

  • Students decide whether they will serve as a collector or a protector

  • On a cue (preferably music), collectors try to obtain as many cones as possible and return them to their collection hoop

  • One cone at a time can be captured by a collector and the protector’s job is to stand with both feet in the hoop and tag players trying to get their cones

  • If a student is tagged, he/she must return the cone, do 5 or 10 pushups or jumping jacks off to the side, and return to the game

Physical Education Tag Games

Tag Game #3: Predator Tag


A variation on "animal tag" or "zombie tag" in which students tag their prey and avoid being tagged by their assigned predators. Flags can also be used to pull VS using hand tags.

Game Instructions

  • Students are given 1 of 3 color scrimmage vests or flags (can also use juggling scarves tucked in pants)

  • Students are scattered throughout the room

  • After students are put on 1 of 3 color teams (designated by scrimmage vests or flags), they scatter into open space and start moving using a teacher-directed locomotors movement

  • Each team tries to tag or steal flags from another team. Green tags blue, blue tags red and red tags yellow. Each is a predator or prey to the other

  • If tagged, students must sit in a designated set holding area until someone on their team goes over and gives them a high 5 to free them

  • After the high 5, they are free to tag and flee from others back in the game

Physical Education Tag Games

Tag Game #4: Safe Zone Tag


Students tag and avoid being tagged with a yarn ball. Safe zones are added for limited protection.

Game Instructions

  • Place 4 – 8 hula hoops out in a playing area to be used as safe zones

  • Students begin scattered throughout the room

  • After the teacher chooses taggers, students begin on a cue (preferably a music cue to start/stop) and begin moving around the room using a locomotor movement designated by the teacher.

  • Non-taggers try to stay clear of taggers

  • Non-taggers can use the hula hoops as safe zones as they travel around the playing area

  • Only 1 player can be in a hoop at the same time. When a new player enters a hoop, the other must leave. First in – first out

  • If anyone gets tagged, they must go outside the lines and perform a lap run or do a specific exercise

Physical Education Tag Games

Tag Game #5: Crazy Bridge Tag


Students avoid being tagged by the troll taggers while saving other players that have been tagged.

Game Instructions

  • After the teacher chooses troll taggers (about a third or a quarter should be taggers), students move through the general space with a designated locomotor movement

  • If students get tagged by a troll, they must freeze and form a bridge using their bodies

  • To become unfrozen, another student that is not a troll-tagger must crawl under the bridge

  • Once saved, players resume their locomotor movement

  • Change taggers every 2 or 3 minutes

Physical Education Tag Games

Tag Game #6: Galaxy Quest


The object of the game is for one team of space travelers to get all of their team members across the other team’s galaxy to their milky way


  • Divide the gym into 2 galaxies with a line at the back (of each) designated as “Milky Ways”

  • Students can tag each other or use football belts to pull (2 colors used)

  • 4 mats are set up as “black holes” outside the boundaries of the galaxies

  • 4 cones are set up – 2 on each side of galaxies as “time warps” to renter galaxy

  • 4 large cones placed on the outside of the back boundaries separate the galaxy and milky way

PE Tag Games- Galaxy Quest- Cap'n Pete

Game Instructions

  • The object of the game is for one team of space travelers to get all of their team across the other team’s galaxy to their milky way

  • Space Travelers are safe in their galaxy but can be summoned to the “black hole” if they enter the other team’s galaxy and get their flag pulled (or get tagged)

  • When entering the other team’s galaxy, offensive players must stay “in bounds” or they are told to go to the “black Hole” by a referee

  • If a defensive team "Space Traveler" pulls a flag, they throw it on the ground and the Traveler must pick it up, put it back on, and go to the enemy’s black hole

  • If a player can safely get to the other team’s Milky Way, without their flag being pulled, they are safe and can stay there or walk around the outside of the other team’s Galaxy and save 1 teammate at a time from the mat (black hole)

  • If a teammate is saved, both players must walk through the “Time Warp”, connected back into their Galaxy. They can do this by holding hands, grabbing arms, etc.

  • If a time Traveler saves a teammate, both players must start again to try to get through the defensive players' galaxy to their Milky Way (past the back line)

  • It is a good idea for some players to play only defense until the very end

  • When all of 1 team makes it past the back line to the other team Milky Way, the game is over, and a winner is declared

Galaxy Quest Video


In summary

Tag games are a great way to get students active and moving. They can truly add excitement and variety to Physical Education classes. Tag games are also a great way for kids to learn about collaboration, strategy, and cooperation. In the article above, I shared 5 different tag games that can be used with large groups in a Physical Education class. Each game is unique and provides its own set of challenges and opportunities for learning. I hope that you will try out some of these games with your students and enjoy watching them move, learn, and have fun while getting quality physical activity.

Which tag game do you think your students would like best? Let me know in the comments below!


Need Some FREE Fitness Activities?

Do you need some FUN fitness activities and games for your physical education program that include detailed instructions and play diagrams? Download this FREE Quick Mover Fitness Set with 12 activities to use in your PE program!

They originate from the following Cap'n Pete resources: 1. Fitness Fun, 2. Instant Activities, 3. Radical Relays, and 4. Tag Games.

FREE Quick Mover Fitness Set with 12 activities to use in your PE program

This freebie set will be sure to enhance your PE curriculum for years!


If you're looking for some GREAT fitness "Quick Movers" as a way to incorporate some fun PE games and physical activity at the beginning, middle, or end of your class, check out Cap'n Pete's PE Quick Mover Super Bundle- Fitness, Instant Activities, Relays, & Tag Games.

Cap'n Pete's PE Quick Mover Super Bundle- Fitness, Instant Activities, Relays, & Tag Games.

You can download them from either of the following platforms: Cap'n Pete's Power PE Website or Teachers Pay Teachers- Cap'n Pete's TPT Store

This super bundle includes 100 "Quick Movers" that are energizing physical education lessons. They are great for any grade level and include 25 different fitness activities in each set, all from my following products: 1. PE Fitness Fun, 2. PE Instant Activities, 3. PE Radical Relays and 4. PE Tag Games. Students will get their heart rates up and not even know they are getting a great workout because they will be having so much fun!

Cap'n Pete's PE Quick Mover Super Bundle- Fitness, Instant Activities, Relays, & Tag Games.



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