Brent, we’ll start a bit like the Babylonian introduction, we’re going to start back to back with each other.
And from this position we’re going to count to three. It’s a standard common garden-variety version of one, two, three. Each of us is going to turn around really quickly and face the other person. Okay? When we get there I’ll tell you what happens next. So you got that basic concept?
One, two, three, then you turn around. There we go. One. Two. Three.
(demonstrating the start of Toe Tag game)
You’re already there. You’re very quick, or one of the other thing.
So from this position the game has now started, Brent. The object is for each of us to tag the toe of the other person first before of course you tag my toe. Notice I said the word ‘tag’ and not ‘stomp’. It’s just a simple tag. So a quick three second demonstration, let’s see what that might look like.
(Do we hang on, or we do it…)
No, it’s freestyle. Are you ready?
One. Two. Three.
(demonstration of Toe Tag game)
Okay. You got the idea. Gotcha! Alright. Give yourself a round of three. If you lose the first two go for a round of five. Go!
(people playing Toe Tag game)
Quick version that Brent was indicating a little earlier, is that you can actually, if you found that, as I was, getting away from Brent as he was chasing after me, you can actually invite the group to hold hands and play the same game. But where do you think the focus is through the course of this variation of the activity? What are you looking at?
Feet. Where do your heads go when you do that?
Bang. So be aware of that. The other version is that you can actually tag anyone else’s feet. So for the next 11.2 seconds, the object is… Start with a partner, but if you see a foot close by to you, then feel free to tag that foot. Remember it’s still tag and not a stomp. Go!
(people playing Toe Tag game)
Alright, hold it there.
How To Play Narrative
This is a perfect two-minute filler that has the power to transform your mopey group into a ball of energy.
First, you need groups made up of partners. Use a fun, random method from Getting into Pairs for some ideas.
Ask everyone to start with their backs to their partners, and on an appropriate signal like “GO,” both partners spin around 180 degrees to face one another and engage in a dance-like combat.
Explain that each person now attempts to ‘tag’ the toe of their partner gently before one of their own feet gets tagged. Before starting, be sure to remind your group that you said “tagged” and not “stomped.”
Play best of three rounds, but if you lose the first two, better make it five!
Practical Leadership Tips
Let me emphasise the ‘tag’ and not ‘stomp’ guideline again. This will make all the difference between many fun rounds, and a lot of sore feet.
A further safety note for this fun toe tag game – beware the inclination for some people to chase their partner’s feet in mid-air, as this action can often morph into kicking.
With thanks once more to Karl Rohnke for first introducing this classic tag game.
You could integrate Toe Tag as part of a well-designed SEL program to help your group make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
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 short burst of physical activity.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to interact and engage physically with others may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use these 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 Toe Tag could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Elimination Rounds: Introduce the ‘Championship’ format, whereby successive winning partners of each pair face-off in a further ‘do-or-die’ challenge until one winner is declared.
Hold Hands: If too much energy is expended chasing your partner all over the space, a less aerobic version is to start by facing your partner and holding his or her hands. While this set-up will eliminate the need to chase your partner, beware that heads may clash as all of the focus is on the feet.
Small Circles: Form a circle with four or five people. Each person attempts to tag the feet of their immediate left- and right-hand neighbours. As soon as a person has had both feet tagged, they are eliminated. The circle re-joins and the game continues until the final two people face-off in a championship duel.
Large Circle: Further to the above variation, involve everyone in the circle.