What do you like to do at recess? Play soccer? Maybe basketball? Perhaps you prefer to swing or ride the merry-go-round. Or maybe you and a group of friends enjoy playing one of the simplest and oldest games of all time. What are we talking about? Tag, of course!

Tag is a popular playground game that’s enjoyed by children all around the world. Depending upon where it’s being played, it goes by many different names other than tag, including tip, tick, tig, tiggy, dobby, it and chasey, to name just a few!

If you’ve ever played tag, you know the basics. One or more players chase the other players, trying to tag them by touching them with their fingers. When a player is tagged, he or she becomes “it” and begins to chase the other players to tag someone else.

One of the great things about tag is that it is so easy to play. It doesn’t require teams. There’s no equipment to worry about. You don’t have to keep score. All you need are a few players and enough energy to run around!

Of course, simple games can be made much more complicated by adding special rules. There are many variations of tag played around the world. For example, some games of tag feature a place — called a base — where a player can be safe from being tagged. Base can be a certain spot, or it can also be any time a player is touching a certain type of item, such as wood, iron or stone.

Some tag players choose to play by certain rules, such as no tag-backs. This means that, if you’re tagged, you can’t immediately tag the person who just tagged you. Instead, you have to tag someone else. The game can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Just make sure everyone agrees to and understands any special rules you use.

Forms of tag are even popular with teens and adults. For example, since 1984, many people have learned to love the sport of laser tag. In laser tag, players score points by tagging targets with targeting devices that emit infrared waves. These devices often look like ray guns from science fiction movies.

Laser tag developed from a system the United States Army created for combat training. Today, laser tag is played outdoors, as well as in indoor arenas that feature all sorts of interesting places to hide and explore.

Since laser tag doesn’t use any sort of physical projectiles, it’s less painful and physically demanding than another popular modern form of tag: paintball. Paintball players use devices — called paintball markers — to propel small capsules known as paintballs at other players.

Paintballs are made of a gelatin shell that surrounds a water-soluble dye inside. When it hits another player, it bursts open and marks them, so it’s easy to tell when a player has been tagged. The first paintball markers were pistols that ranchers used to mark trees and livestock.

Paintball has become very popular in both outdoor and indoor locations. It does require special equipment, including special safety equipment. Getting hit by a paintball can certainly sting, so make sure you’re up for the challenge before playing paintball!

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    • Hi there, Cole C! We are so glad to hear that this Wonder made you smile! Laser tag is very fun– and a great way to spend time with friends! What a workout! Phew!

      Thanks for sharing your comment… we’ll see you tomorrow! :)

  1. One of the games I do for a living is tag, my favorite games, including laser tag. I’ve always played tag with my friends at recess since 3 grade, I’m in 5th grade.

    • Wow, how cool Carlos A! We bet you are an expert at laser tag after two years! Thanks for sharing your comment today, Carlos! We’re glad this Wonder was right up your alley! :)

  2. One game of tag me and my friends play is Scream Tag when one or two people are Scream and all of the other people run away, if tagged you join Scream or Screams. I think the wonder of the day should be something about football such as who invented football.

    • Tag is so much fun, and a GREAT workout, too! Thanks for sharing your comment, Emily! After running for a while, we get winded, too! :)

    • Tag is loads of fun, Danielle– we certainly agree! Thanks for sharing your comment with us, and for participating in a fun game of tag once in a while! :)

  3. Hi. We like to play tag at recess all the time. It is cool how tag is played all around the world.

    I wonder why laser tag is really included as tag. It doesn’t seem like the same thing.

    • We’re glad you play tag at recess, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Stemmet’s Class! WONDERing about tag is lots of fun as well! Laser tag is a cool, technological type of tag, but it can’t be played very easily at recess! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you like to play tag?
  • When was laser tag invented?
  • How do you play paintball?

Wonder Gallery

TagVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to play tag? If you have a local facility where you can play laser tag or paintball, get a group of friends and family members together and go have a great time!

If you don’t have a laser tag or paintball facility nearby, you can always play old-fashioned tag in the backyard. You could also try one of these fun variations on the classic game:

  • Ghost in the Graveyard

This fun variation on classic tag is best played at night. One person starts out as the ghost and a home base is chosen. The other players count to 12 (midnight!) while the ghost hides. When the count of 12 is reached, the players search for the ghost and shout “ghost in the graveyard!” if and when they spot the ghost…or when the ghost jumps out of hiding to tag someone. The players then try to run back to home base before being tagged by the ghost. When someone is tagged, he or she becomes the new ghost and play is repeated.

  • Flashlight Tag

Flashlight tag is another fun game to play at night. Instead of touching someone to tag them, you simply shine a light on them when you see them. To make sure you really tagged someone, some versions of the game require the “it” player to call out the name of the person being tagged by the light.

  • Duck, Duck, Goose

A good game of Duck, Duck, Goose can get everyone in a great mood in a hurry. Just gather your friends together in a circle, facing inward. One player walks around the circle, tapping each player while saying “duck” after each tap. At some point, that player will tap a person and call out “goose!” The “goose” then has to jump up and race around the circle in the opposite direction, trying to beat the other player to the open spot in the circle.

Still Wondering

In ReadWriteThink’s Name Tag Glyphs lesson, children practice a way to communicate without words by using a glyph when they create a name card using information about themselves.

Wonder Categories/Tags

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will definitely have you asking one question: “Who?”

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