Each person places their hands on the person (hips or shoulders) in front of them.
The person at the front of the line is tasked with tagging the person at the back of the line.
The line must remain connected at all times to accomplish a successful tag.
When a successful tag is made, invite the newly tagged person to move to the front of the line, directly in front of the original tagger.
If a tag is not made within 20 to 30 seconds, swap roles and resume.
Continue playing for several minutes.
How To Play Narrative
There is no shortage of tags games suitable for large groups, but very few for small groups, of say, only 8 people. This is one of the best.
If you happen to have a large group, simply ask them to break into smaller teams of 8 to 15 people. Take a look at Getting into Teams for some fun, random ways to achieve this division.
Instruct your team(s) of 8 or so people to form one straight line, with each person placing their hands on the hips (or shoulders) of the person directly in front of them. Clearly, the person at the front of the line is hands-free.
Next, explain that the sole aim of the person at the front of the line is to tag the person at the end of the line. Clearly, the person at the back of the line is working hard to avoid being tagged.
Effectively, the front of the line is trying to tag its own tail. Each line is both the tagger and tagee.
Furthermore, explain that the line must remain connected at all times, lest, if a tag is made, it will be ruled invalid.
When the front person successfully tags the person at the back, invite the newly tagged person to move to the front of the line to become the new tagger (in front of the original tagger). Naturally, having moved positions, a new person (who was second from the back of the line) becomes the new target.
Note, the physical exertion and challenge of this exercise are very high and intense, so it’s a good idea to encourage your groups to engage in short rounds of no more than 20 to 30 seconds. In the absence of a successful tag, ask your group rotate positions before starting a new round.
Continue playing for several minutes, allowing sufficient time for all those interested to assume the front and/or back positions to have a go.
Practical Leadership Tips
Generally speaking, the precise number of people in each team does not matter – the challenge to tag or be tagged is just as difficult no matter the length of the dragon’s tail.
If your group prefers, each person may place their hands on the shoulders of their partners, but hands on hips tends be a stronger link.
Keep an eye on the few people who are connected to those positioned at the very front and back of the line. They can sometimes struggle to maintain their connection to keep up with their partners, and may be at risk of over-exerting themselves.
You could integrate Dragon Tail 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
Use Planning & Organisational Skills
Demonstrating Empathy & Compassion
Recognising Strengths In Others
Seeking and/or Offering Support
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
The manner in which the individual group members participate in this fun tag game may open opportunities for your group to reflect on certain behavioural norms, not to mention social and interpersonal skills. For example, here are a few areas you could explore:
How well did the small teams work together to avoid their tail from being tagged?
Describe the level of safety consciousness demonstrated by the group.
Were any needs expressed to the group? In what ways were these needs accommodated, if at all?
Did you observe any behaviours that concerned you? How?
Can you reconcile these behaviours with your group’s full value agreement?
How important was it to achieve your goal (tag the tail?)
Front to Back: Upon a successful tag, ask the person at the front of the line to become the person at the back of the line.
Random Tagger: Upon a successful tag, or the end of an unsuccessful round, invite any person to swap into the front and back positions.
Dragon Tail Tag Championship: Form at least two teams of 8 to 15 people. Pit each team against the other, where the front of each line attempts to tag the back of any other line. Successful tags can only be made by going around (and not under, over or through) a line of people.
You Might Also Like...
Very energetic, ever-expanding, co-operative tag game.
Engaging & highly energetic tag game for all groups.
Have you ever seen a dog chase its tail? Rarely does the dog achieve its aim, but it is amusing to watch it try. This next game reminds me of this often, fruitless exercise…
In a tag game where everyone is “It” every person has a dual role to not only tag as many people as possible, but also, avoid being tagged. Imagine if we took this concept one step further, and combined both roles into one entity. Let’s see what this looks like…
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 very energetic tag game:
What did you notice during the tagging experience?
How did it feel to be both the tagger and tagee in the same entity?
Where else in your life do you feel you have a conflicted role?
The inspiration for Dragon Tail Tag, is difficult for me to recall. I learned it in a training workshop, presented by a fellow practitioner, many years ago.