Distribute four to eight clothes-pegs to each person in your group.
Ask everyone to pin all of their pegs anywhere accessible on their upper torso clothing.
On “GO,” everyone aims to pin all of their clothes-pegs onto other people, one at a time.
All other pegs must remain on a person’s clothing while they are trying to attach a peg.
When the time expires, the person with the least number of pegs on their clothing wins.
Video Transcript for Clothes-Peg Tag
presented by Nate Folan
So welcome back. I just want to invite… we’re going to do a quick warm-up but before we start invite each person to grab five clothes pins or clothes pegs depending on what part of the world you’re from.
So at this point I’m just going to invite you to take your clothes pin or clothes peg and simply place it somewhere in your clothes, somewhere up in your upper torso, something within the upper body. So anywhere you want, it might be the sleeve, and kind of clipping it on there in a way that it would hold, and I’ll explain what we’re going to do with that.
So the one thing I would invite you to think about is in a moment someone may be trying to take that clothes peg or clothes pin off of you, so think about where you’re placing it. Would you want someone grabbing where it is, who knows?
(Are we trying to make it hard for them to get it off our body?)
You’ll have an opportunity to learn an answer to that question. We’ll play a couple of rounds of this as we go. How’s that? Good?
Could you place that on my… somewhere on the back shoulder? That’ll be great. Thank you. A little bit of support sometime can help go a long way, you might see some ideas as we go.
So at this point everyone has their clothes pegs or clothes pins on their upper torso, on their clothes in some way. Right? Good? When I say go, simple task, is you’re going to try to collect as many clothes pins or clothes pegs as you can in about two-minute’s time.
When you collect them it’s actually taking them off one person and then putting them on you. So that’s a clean take in that regard. So it needs to go back on you, same location, so hopefully you’re scattered with tons of these clothes pins or clothes pegs on you.
And at the same time people are trying to retrieve them from you, your body as well, right? And we’ll think about how that goes. There might be a point of contention here where someone might grab the clothes pin or clothes peg and drop it on the floor. If it goes on the floor it’s going to go back to the person that it came from. So if you don’t get it cleanly back to you it automatically goes back to this person and you can accommodate that.
If for some reason there’s a clothes pin or clothes peg that someone just left behind feel free to be a good community citizen here and pick it up and either put it on someone else or put it on you, just so that it’s being accounted for in the game. Does that make sense?
Last piece here is when I say “Go”, if we can move at about three quarters speed just given the space, it’s a little bit smaller in this room, to make sure that we’re moving in a way that will allow us to continue playing throughout the rest of today yet still keep it where there’s some fun.
(people playing Clothes-Peg Tag)
Of course there’s moments where some groups, maybe yourself, want to know who has the most clothes pins so if you want to count it up go for it. For some groups that’s important, other groups it doesn’t matter, right? As you look around do you have a sense who has the most clothes pins?
It’s an alternative variation. It’s a little more challenging, and rather than taking clothes pins or clothes pegs from people, it’s actually trying to place them on. Again, a little more challenging.
Personally I find this moment where it’s like you’re trying to do that but you’re holding someone, so if you choose to invite that type of behaviour and would want to process it or reflect on it then you might go there.
Otherwise this is the quicker alternative, pulling the clothes pins or clothes pegs off and so on. So at this point now we’re a bit warmed up, right?
(people playing Clothes-Peg Tag)
How To Play Narrative
Collect as many pegs as would supply four to eight pegs per person in your group.
Then distribute this same number of pegs to everyone, and ask them to pin them all onto their clothing somewhere.
The pegs need to be accessible, that is, somewhere on the upper torso, preferably on the back, front or arms of clothing.
I doubt you will need boundaries for this activity, because the fun is always in the centre, but go ahead and set them if necessary.
On “GO,” everyone aims to remove all of the pegs attached to their own clothing (one at a time,) and pin them onto other people’s clothing. To be clear, all other pegs must remain on a person’s clothing until the one they are trying to attach to someone else is pinned.
Naturally, it’s not a one-way street – often when a person is not looking, they don’t suspect that someone is slyly pinning a peg on their back.
Run the game for as long as you feel there is energy, then stop and count each person’s stash of pegs.
Naturally, the person with the least pegs, wins.
Practical Leadership Tips
The spring-loaded clothes-peg works best, wooden or plastic.
While this observation is very obvious, ensure that folks only aim to pin a peg on someone’s clothing, not their body. Invariably, this may occur and will provide an opportunity for you to process what is safe or not. Unlike most other tags, this version involves a prop that, if pinned in the wrong places, could hurt people.
Often, in an attempt to pin a peg on someone, the peg may drop to the ground. On these occasions, the peg still belongs to the person who was trying to attach it.
You could integrate Clothes-Peg Tag as part of a well-designed SEL program to develop your group’s ability to make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Setting Personal & Group Goals
Demonstrating Empathy & Compassion
Build Positive Relationships
Making Reasoned Judgements
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits of enjoying a short burst of rigorous physical activity and a good laugh.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully (and safely) play Clothes-Peg Tag speaks to the presence of healthy and respectful behavioural norms. For example, you could invite your group to reflect on the level of safety consciousness that is exhibited during the game, or the ways in which compassion and empathy are felt and expressed. Even the process of setting goals (ie distributing all of one’s pegs) could be explored in regards to the SMART goal-setting guidelines.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Clothes-Peg Tag could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Team Event: Assign teams, and count the number of pegs each team as a whole is holding at the end of the game to declare a winner.
Steal & Collect: Try it in reverse. Everyone aims to steal as many pegs from others in their group and attach them to their clothing.
There are no shortage of tag games for your group, take a look here for dozens more.
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Back in the days before automatic clothes-dryers, you had to use pegs to pin your wet clothes to a washing line. And it wasn’t uncommon to find within your freshly laundered and folded clothing an errant clothes-peg, perhaps even still attached to the corner of a garment. Well, you’re all about to look like you’ve been pulled from the laundry basket…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this unique tag game:
What was the most difficult part of this game?
What strategies did you observe from others in their attempts to pin a peg or avoid being pinned?
How did you manage safety during the exercise? What types of safety were you focused on?
If we were to play again, how could we become more safety conscious as a group?
The inspiration for Clothes-Peg Tag, and many more innovative tag games, was sourced from the following publication: