What you’ve just been doing, but we add a couple of extra lives. In fact we call this hospital tag because we’re going to apply first aid to the points that which you get tagged.
For example, Tim if you could just tag me? Let’s say I’m running past you, and you tag me. He tags me on the upper arm, so I’m now going to place one hand on the point at which I get tagged.
I then might run past over here past Nick and chooses to tag me somewhere else.
Oh man right down there, okay. Alright, so I now need to hold that point. I’m still in the game. Now from a young person point of view when you’ve already mentioned that you’ve no longer got two hands, what do you think they might consider using to tag somebody now.
Their head or their feet, exactly.
So what we invite them to do is actually use their hips. So your hips still keep you in the game, and it’s like. So if you happen to tag them with one of your hips you’re able to get them.
However, on your third tag, regardless of where that tag is, I invite you to bob down. So you now have three lives, same exercise, same boundaries, but apply first aid to the point at which you got tagged.
Got the idea? Are you ready? And GO!
(Groups begins to run after each other playing Hospital Tag)
(Laughing as they play Hospital Tag)
How To Play Narrative
This tag is a great extension of Everybody Is It in that it gives the original a little longevity, which is awesome for people like me who hate getting out too quick.
Do the normal ‘spreading’ of your group throughout a designated area. Explain that on “GO,” every person is ‘It,’ that is to say, everyone is chasing and being chased at the same time. There will be a flurry of activity as each person works frantically to tag and avoid being tagged.
Now, unlike the standard, common, garden-variety tag, in this game everyone has three lives.
So, when a person gets tagged for the first time, they get to live another day – but they are obliged to place one of their hands on the area of their body where they got tagged, ie as if applying first aid to that spot.
For example, if a person is tagged on their shoulder, they must place one of their hands on this shoulder, leaving only their other hand to continue the task of tagging others. Heaven help you if you get tagged on the knee, or even worse, your foot!
Game continues, then a second tag is applied. This person’s other hand is then placed on this spot, yet they will remain in the game; but typically not for long. Without the defence offered by one’s hands, you are left vulnerable to all other hand-enabled taggers.
However, just for the fun of it, these ‘dead-people walking’ are still entitled to tag others, but only using their hips, ie siding up to another with hip extended forward to tag another before they get tagged. It’s a gorgeous thing, until the fateful third tag is delivered and the hipster is ‘out’ and obliged to crouch down.
Generally, the game lasts long enough to have been enjoyed by all, but if sufficient energy exists, call a surprise “GO” to restart the action.
Practical Leadership Tips
For the record, it is often useful to clarify what a tag looks like, ie a compassionate contact made with one’s hand on another’s shoulder or back is quite sufficient.
A word of caution. I have found on occasions that when faced without the use of their hands, some folks (especially young people) will resort to using their feet, or put simply, kicking others in an effort to tag another. Make it quite clear, that this is not kosher.
Here’s my advice for the standard “What happens when two people tag each other at the same time?” question, which is really the same as, “I tagged him/her first, but they won’t go out” complaint! The people involved have two options. One, they can both declare themselves ‘out’ and wait for the next round, or, two, they can argue for the next minute or two and miss all the fun around them.
If you end up with two or three athletic folk at the end who appear to be resisting the urge to give up easily and get tagged, call out “TEN SECONDS TO GO…” to spur them into action. If no one can be declared a winner in this time, so be it, and move onto another round if you choose.
You could integrate Hospital 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:
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 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, and in addition to those described in the Reflection Tips tab, here are a few questions you could invite your group to reflect upon:
Describe the level of safety consciousness demonstrated by the group.
Was compassion or empathy expressed or demonstrated during the game?
In what ways were the needs of certain individuals 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 successfully tag someone?
In what ways did we cooperate with one another?
More Lives: Entitle each person to more (or less) than three lives, regardless of the number of hands they possess.
Forward Motion Only: To ramp-up the challenge, announce that if a person takes a backward step (to avoid being tagged,) they are deemed ‘out.’
Out & Tag: Once tagged three times, a crouched-down ‘out’ person may tag the passing feet and legs of those who are still in the game (note, only tags are permitted, no grabbing.) This action will cause the tagged person to go ‘out’ and entitle the tagger to return to the action. This gives the game even more longevity.
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Useful Framing Ideas
When I was in primary school, almost every lunch-time was spent playing some form of chasey or tag. It was great fun unless of course, you were like me – the smallest and least coordinated kid in the class – and you spent most of lunch doing all of the chasing, and rarely catching anyone. Not much fun, I know. So, now that I get to set the rules, I’ve decided that everybody is it…
The worst part about most tag games is that once you get tagged, that’s it. You’re out, and that’s never much fun. So, in this game, you get three lives…
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 creative, highly energetic tag game:
Was this game fun? Why or why not?
What strategies did you employ to stay in the game for as long as possible?
What does being eliminated early or late in the game say to you? Why?
Did you observe any behaviours or actions that concerned you during the game?
The inspiration for Hospital Tag, and many more creative large group tag games, can be found in the following publication: