Pioneer Games: Tag

We are going to look back at a few pioneer games at various times. Some of these you may be familiar with while others are new. Try a few of them at your next family or neighborhood gathering. For this week we will look at some tag games.

Chase and catch games are always popular. The simplest is classic tag. One person is chosen to be It and tries to touch another person. When this happens the person touched is It and the game continues.

There are many variations to this simple game. One you might try is "Red Lion". A lion and keeper are chosen. The lion chooses a spot to be the den. The lion stands by the den with the keeper nearby. Everyone else walks toward the den chanting "Red lion, red lion, come out of your den. Whoever you catch will be one of your friends." When the players get close the keeper shouts "loose" and the lion chases after the players. The keeper may relax near the den. A player is caught when the lion is able to say "Red lion" three times while holding on to the player. The tagged player then becomes a lion and both lions return to the den. The games continues until all the players except the keeper are lions. 


A tag game that students enjoy when we visit schools is "Cat and Rat". One player is chosen to be the cat and one to be the rat. The remaining players hold hands in a circle with their arms stretched out. The cat and rat start on opposite sides of the circle and recite this little exchange: 

Cat: "I am the cat"

Rat: "I am the rat"

Cat: "I will catch you"

Rat: "You can't"

The cat then chases the rat. The rat can run around and through the circle of arms and the cat must follow exactly where the rat has gone. The people in the circle cannot help or hinder either one, but should make sure the cat follows the rat's path. If the cat catches the rat, then the rat becomes the cat and a new rat is chosen. If the cat makes a mistake and does not follow where the rat has gone, then the cat is out and a new cat is chosen while the rat gets another turn. 

These are just two of the many tag variations. What tag games do you enjoy?