top of page
  • Foto van schrijverPieter Derycke

While I like playing tag!

I like playing tag. It is probably one of the most popular and universal games for children, but I’d like to convince you, adults, to consider playing it again!

In my ‘natural movement’ sessions, we play quite a lot. The general atmosphere is a playful one (I think) and we often engage in games. Probably my favorite game is tag, and all of its variations.

When a new adult comes moving with us, he/she often is surprised by me announcing a game of tag. “Really, a childs game?”, I can see him/her thinking. But not even 5 minutes later, I have to stop the game because everybody is out of breath and laughing…

Evolutinary explanation of a game of tag. Great cartoon by Naser Barfarazi. Natural and/or sexual selection at work?

I like tag because of multiple reasons:

  • it is fun

  • all players move at an intense level

  • it requires interaction with the non-living environment

  • it requires interaction with the living, moving and intelligent environment (the other players)

  • it can be modified to use different skills.

These properties all ensure physical education in the old-school sense of the word. The entire organism is used in an intense way while promoting bodily intelligence through interaction with the living and non-living world.

My favorite modifications from a basic game of tag:

  • tag in a place with lots of obstacles (like a gym with mats, plinths, pommel horse, bars, balance beams, rings, ropes, … or a area around a fallen tree). This makes for lots of vaulting, crawling under, jumping, swinging, … You can choose the obstacles to practise the skills you want.

  • restrict the area, so players are obliged to use the obstacles more

  • you can’t be touched if you’re hanging from something, standing on something, …

  • if you have many obstacles, you can play a combination of tag and ‘the-floor-is-lava’.

  • tag with a ball, nice if the group is divided in two teams.

Modifications are only restricted by your creativity. And of course, if you are the group leader, coach, teacher… you have to take care of basic safety precautions.

I’ve noticed a surprising thing happening while playing tag. If there is a difference in physical fitness or agility between the players, the ‘better’ players automatically handicap themselves (e.g. using only one hand on the obstacles), or they tease the one who’s ‘it’ by deliberetaly getting closer to him/her.

These are great group dynamics, spontaneously arising through play!

It makes me happy that people coming for the second time smile when I announce the game of tag.

Cheers, and you’re ‘it’!



bottom of page