Gather your group into a loose circle and assign everyone a number (starting from #1.)
Start by calling “3,2,1…JUMP” at which point everyone must jump out of the circle and remain where they land.
Explain that the first person (#1) initiates the game with one standing broad jump attempting to tag another person either while in the air or upon landing.
When the nominated ‘tagger’ jumps, the rest of the circle must jump and remain on the spot they land until the next tagger (#2) initiates their jump.
Once everyone has landed, person #2 jumps once attempting to tag someone close to them.
This process of jump and tag continues, with the role of ‘tagger’ assumed one person at a time sequentially around the circle.
Everyone who is tagged is eliminated from the game.
Game continues around the circle until all but one person is eliminated.
Play two or more five-minute rounds.
Video Transcript for Jump Tag Game
presented by Nate Folan
The first part to setting this activity up called “Jump Tag” is simply this, is I’m going to ask you to number ourselves from one all the way to whatever number of people we have. So starting with Frankie we have…
(group calling numbers as they play Jump Tag game – One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen.)
Fifteen. Great. So at this point what I’m going to do is call numbers out. Anytime you hear a number called, that’s any number, the invitation for you and the directive essentially is to jump, any direction you want.
Now you want to be aware of where other people are at, but jump any direction, any distance when any number is called, whether it’s yours or not. Got that?
So let’s practise. So if I call one, every single person including you are going to jump, any direction. And a jump technically I’ve heard is two feet, moving in different directions.
So at this point, everyone’s got this, when any number is called, wherever you are, whoever you are, you jump.
The add to this is simply this, is this time when I call a number everyone will continue to jump on any number just like you did before. The extra layer though is when it’s your number you’re simply going to try to tag someone either in the air or upon landing. Right?
So if I can tag someone in the air that’s great. And a tag is firm enough that someone feels the tag but not so firm they feel attacked. Right? So a tag should be they’re feeling that but not so hard.
It’s either in the air or upon landing. Right? So if I had happened to jump and then landed here, I still have this moment that I could tag Brent if I could reach. Right?
In this first round if you’ve been tagged simply stay where you are. You become a texture, a part of the texture or the fabric of this game. People may work around you, so they’re moving around the place that you’re standing. Does that make sense?
Alright. One. Two.
(Can we tag now?)
Yes, you’re tagging now.
So when your number is called you’re tagging. Three. Four… Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven.
This is a wonderful moment. Thanks guys. Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen.
Great. So you got the idea at the moment. Okay. Stay right where you are. We’re going to continue with this.
(Okay, so if you’re tagged you’re frozen.)
Yes. First round, you’re tagged you’re frozen. You can’t do anything. You simply become part of the fabric of the game.
(people playing Jump Tag game)
Some people as we saw can’t help themselves but tag someone else when they’re frozen, right? Just like my number’s been called, tag.
So here’s what’s going to happen, is this time when your number is called, not only can you simply tag someone from where you are, but you actually hop back into the game of movement. You’re still part of the game in that regard but you’re right back in. And what it does create is genuinely an awareness or not of where other people are.
(Do you jump back in only if you tag somebody?)
Nope. Simply once your number is called you are back in and you might get to surprise someone unless they are super aware of who you are and where you’re at based on what your number is.
(You can only tag somebody who’s still in play, right? Not somebody who’s frozen.)
Correct, because they might just look at you and say, I’m frozen. So if people are frozen as you’re saying, making sure that… Yes, you might tag them but they’re going to tell you I’m already frozen and you say ‘Already tagged.’
Okay? So we’ll spin this and just see what happens here. All set to go? And right away we’re going to tag instantly. Here we go. Ten. Two. Three. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. One. Thirteen. Fourteen. Fifteen. One.
(people playing Jump Tag game)
How To Play Narrative
To begin, gather your group into a loose circle and assign everyone a number.
Explain that the game is an elimination game and begins when the group shouts, “3,2,1…JUMP!”
Upon hearing this call, everyone jumps as strategically far backward as they can and remain where they land. This is the position to move from when attempting or avoiding a tag.
The first person (#1) starts the game by attempting to tag another person. To do so, they jump once (think standing broad jump) in any direction desired trying to tag any one person – either in the air or upon landing.
When this person jumps, everyone else must also jump setting off a burst of energy full of excitement, anticipation, and surprise!
It’s important to acknowledge that each person may only jump once. I like to provide an example of one jump as compared to multiple jumps reinforcing the latter by acting like a bunny jumping all over the place.
Also, to reiterate, individuals must remain where they land regardless of how helpful or suspect their predicament. Some people will learn to effectively place themselves with each jump. Others will find themselves in hysterically vulnerable positions, which is all part of the fun!
Once everyone has landed, the next person (#2, then #3, and so on…) attempts to tag someone by jumping, prompting everyone else to jump. The role of ‘tagger’ is passed sequentially around the circle, one person at a time.
When a person is tagged they simply step back and observe the remaining players. Careful observation is encouraged, although the game is too unpredictable and humorous not to watch.
State the goal just before starting the game, which of course, is to be the only person who has not been tagged.
Once an introductory Jump Tag game has been played, most groups intuitively initiate a new game. If they don’t, you should. Some groups will need a second game to ‘get it.’
This jump tag game is fun, invigorating, and hilarious. Used at just the right moments, it can be just enough to boost a group’s energy and prep them for whatever is coming up next.
Am I Out? So what happens after someone has been tagged? This would be an excellent question to ask your group. Let them contribute ideas. Co-creating an experience with your group can effectively increase participant engagement and investment in learning. For ideas, see the Variations tab below.
You could integrate Jump 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 across different situations.
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
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of enjoying a good dose of physical activity.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to interact and engage physically with others in a safe and respectful manner may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use the potential less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see. For example, you could invite your group to reflect on the level of safety consciousness that was demonstrated during the activity and relate this to a set of observed impacts on others.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Jump Tag could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Number Call: For clarity purposes, I have sometimes found it helpful to instruct each tagger to announce his or her number (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4…) and say “JUMP” as they initiate their tag attempt. Doing so changes the dynamics of the game a bit. It enables people who have been tagged (and thus, eliminated) to continue limited participation (calling their number and saying “JUMP”) and creates moments where people must jump but no one is tagged setting the stage for more creative, strategic, and humorous play.
Elimination Options: Here are a few variations to engage your group, even after they’ve been tagged. If a person has been tagged they remain:
– standing where they were tagged, adding texture to the playing area.
– where they were tagged and may attempt to tag the current tagger from their stationary positions.
– stationary until their number comes up. At that point, they may re-enter the game as they call out their number.
Large Groups: For groups larger than 15 people, divide your gathering into smaller groups of approximately 10-15 people and play on.
Take a look at Ninja to experience another great jumping game.
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Useful Framing Ideas
It was once thought that monkeys, such as the Gibbon and Spider Monkeys, played a game of tag that helped them to develop the skills necessary to jump from tree to tree. I’m not sure if it’s true, but imagine if it is. Imagine if you could jump like one of these monkeys…
Awareness is an important life skill. We are going to play a tag game sure to heighten your awareness. It may surprise you at times…
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 jump tag game:
What did you notice during the game? Anything that surprised you?
Did anything confuse you during the game? Why?
How would you describe the atmosphere in which the game was played? Was it ‘safe?’
What contributes to, or takes away, from a ‘safe’ playing atmosphere?
The inspiration for Jump Tag, and many more running and energetic tag games, can be found in the following publication: