What it is: A fun variation of tag that gives players more of a chance to rest between runs. The game is played using pairs, which is why we always called it missionary tag (missionaries often preach in pairs).

Best for: An even number of players in a big group (like at least 10).

What you need: Just a big, open space outdoors to play. An open grassy area is best.

How to play: First, have all your players find a partner in order to form pairs. (The pairs will switch up a lot as the game goes on, if that makes it less stressful for any of those who are afraid of commitment.)

Let’s say Rick and Tammy form a pair. Next instruct all your pairs to stand side-by-side, linking arms as shown.

Rick and Tammy are ready to go.

You should be playing with an even number of people, so everyone should have a partner. Each pair should stand spaced out from the other pairs in a circle, or just kind of a spaced-out jumble works, too.

After all your pairs are set, choose one pair to be It and the first person that It chases. We’ll say that T.J. starts out as It, and Jenny starts out as the person T.J. chases.

T.J. gives Jenny a few seconds’ lead, during which Jenny takes off running from T.J. Soon T.J. follows. If he tags Jenny, she becomes It and immediately starts chasing T.J.

But Jenny can escape from T.J. by running up to any pair in the game and linking arms with one of the partners. For example, say she runs up to Rick and Tammy and links arms with Rick’s free arm. As soon as Jenny hooks arms with Rick, that means the third player – Tammy – is T.J.’s new target to tag. So Tammy better run away ASAP, or T.J. will tag her and she’ll become It.

Any player being chased by the person who’s It can hook on to any pair at any time. The only rule: you can’t hook on to a pair right next to the pair you just left. It’s a lot of fun and a game you can play for a lot longer than normal tag since you get a chance to rest. Enjoy!

Variations: If you’re playing with a really big group, you might want to try having more than one person being It and more than one person being chased at one time. It adds to the excitement of the game and keeps things moving at a faster pace.


  1. Such an akward name. And since it is a single It and a single target if the target is faster than It the game is effectively over.

    1. Well, if the Target is faster than It and continues to run and run and run and never get caught, then yes, I suppose you could call the game over. But, unless you have a super fast player with a ton of stamina who just wants to show off, the Target is more likely to join a pair and force someone else to have a turn as the Target. And you always have the option of playing with more than one It!

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