Line tag

What it is: A simple variation of regular tag.

Best for: A big group of 10 or more players.

What you need: A basketball court, or preferably one of those combined basketball-and-volleyball-courts-in-one. (There are more lines drawn on the ground that way, and lines are the point of this game.)

Not the most accurate picture ever, but you get the idea.

How to play: Just like in regular tag, choose someone to be It. And just like in regular tag, It runs around and tries to tag the other players, making them It instead. But unlike regular tag, all players (including It) can only run on the lines of the court. So no touching the ground unless you’re on a line. (But it is way cool when you can jump from one line to another, haha!)

It’s a fun game because you kind of have to think ahead, or else you can easily get cornered by It and tagged. The game also requires more finesse and balance than regular tag. Oh yeah, finesse and balance, that’s so totally my kind of game…well, not really. But still, I have fun.

And that’s the game! Once It tags someone, that person becomes the new It and runs around trying to tag someone else. Depending on how many people you’re playing with, you might want to have more than one person as It. Also, when I played, I seem to remember a rule that you couldn’t run, only walk. But I think that was mostly because my sisters, friends, and I played at our church building. Well, just on week nights while we waited for our moms to finish chatting after their activity…except for maybe those few times on Sunday while we waited for our moms to finish chatting after church. And that’s when we defintiely tried to walk and be quiet, because if we got caught, we’d have to stop. 😉

Variations: You could play with the variation that once someone is tagged (or is caught stepping off of a line), they have to sit down in place, thus blocking other players from passing them on the line. The player who is It can pass the blocks, but not anyone else, making it a little more challenging for everyone (and making it possible for It to trap people and win more easily). If you play like this, you could make a rule that the last person (besides It) who is standing wins the round.

This is also one of those super easy adaptable games that you could easily make your own rules to. Like, if you’re tagged you actually have to run backwards or something. Anyone have any good rules or ideas to share?

The cup game

What it is: A simple clapping routine that’s fun to do with a big group of people. You learn the routine and try to do it as fast as you can. I’ve played during summer camps in cafeterias at meal times. It makes a lot of noise, and it’s fun to do with a lot of people.

Best for: A big group of at least 10 people (but you can play with less).

What you need: You need a table to sit at and enough people to sit all around the table. Then everyone who’s playing needs a cup. It’s best if all the cups are identical. They should be small enough that they’re easy to grab. Plastic Dixie cups work okay, but sometimes they’re too lightweight. Ideally, you’d have a bunch of plastic restaurant tumblers, like the kind you get at one of those all-you-can-eat pizza buffets (CiCi’s, anyone?).

How to play: To get ready, have everyone sit around a table. The bigger the table and the more people you have, the more fun it is. And to work right, everyone needs to be sitting next to each other; no empty spaces. Then everyone gets a cup and turns it upside on the table right in front of them.

Now the best way to teach this game is with a video, so three of my sisters helped me make one. Just watch!

So when you really play, you’ll be sitting in a circle and be able to pass the cups all around, making the game a loop that goes on and on. You gradually get faster and faster, until no one can keep up and everyone laughs.

Variations: You could play more competitively and eliminate anyone who messes up, making the circle smaller and smaller, but for that you’d need to modify the group size around the table. The real fun is just in trying to go as fast as you can as a group. And in making a lot of noise.


What it is: A good kids pool game, maybe not my favorite, but then again it doesn’t involve rough physical activity, either. I somehow tend to like those games better. 😉

Best for: About 4 to 8 players.

What you need: Just a swimming pool, one that you can easily swim across in one direction or another.

How to play: First, choose one player to be It – say it’s Roger. Roger gets out of the pool and stands on the edge, with his back facing the pool. All of the other players line up inside the water, holding onto the edge of the pool beneath Roger, like this:

Now Roger thinks of a category. It could really be anything, but some common categories include fruits, breakfast cereals, candy bars, car types, etc. It should be something that all players will know fairly well.

Roger announces his category out loud, and then all of the other players silently think of an object in that category. So if Roger’s category is breakfast cereals, Beth might choose Cap’n Crunch, and Sam might choose Rice Krispies Treat cereal.

Once all the players have their objects in their heads, they announce they’re ready and Roger can begin. He starts calling out breakfast cereals out loud. All of the other players wait until Roger calls out the breakfast cereal that they’ve chosen. Say Roger calls out Cap’n Crunch, Beth’s cereal. That’s her cue to begin swimming to the opposite end of the pool, away from Roger. Her goal is to make it to the opposite end without being tagged, and Roger’s goal is to tag her before she does. If he does tag her, she’s the new It. If he doesn’t, Beth gets to stay where she is and Roger gets out and continues to name items in the category.

So, because Roger’s back is turned, he won’t know to turn around unless Beth makes some noise. Being perfectly silent as you swim across a pool can be hard, but still, that’s her goal. (The best is if you can take one big breath, dip quietly under the water, and shoot across the whole pool without coming up for air.) If Roger ever hears a splash or a noise, he can turn around and check if anyone’s swimming across the pool. If anyone has left the wall, he can jump in to tag them. But if Roger turns around too often without cause, the other players can call him out on it.

Sometimes you might choose speed over silence: if you think you can get away from Roger quickly enough, forget being quiet and just go for it. Or, you might choose silence over speed, and ever-so-slowly work your way along the edge of the pool, hoping you can get far enough away without being heard.

Finally, more than one person might have chosen the same object in the category, but that’s okay; they’ll all just swim across at the same time.

The round ends either when Roger tags someone (then that person becomes It) or when all of the players make it to the other side of the pool untagged (then Roger loses and plays another round as It). For the next round, choose a new category and play again!

Variations: If you’re playing with young kids, you could play in the shallow end only, swimming (or walking) across the short end of the pool. Just be careful jumping in!