Tag with a Twist – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Tag with a Twist

Everyone loves a game of tag! Develop new rules for this classic game and continually increase the challenge by changing the rules. This activity helps children practice creative thinking skills.

Materials Required

  • A variety of sports equipment (optional)
  • A flat, open space outside that is large enough for the group to run around


  1. Form a large group of about 5 or more.
  2. Choose one individual to be “it,” and play a few rounds of classic tag.
  3. After playing tag for a few minutes, sit in a circle and brainstorm as many ideas as possible to make the game more interesting. Perhaps two people are “it” or maybe individuals that are tagged must link arms with the person who is “it” and continue trying to tag others. Try to think of as many new rules as possible.
  • Remember, there are no “right” or “wrong” ideas. Consider taking advantage of your environment (i.e., hiding behind trees) or introducing some equipment into the game.
  1. After agreeing on the new rules, bring the game to life! Play the new version of tag.
  2. Work together to come up with some fun ideas to name this version of tag (e.g., Wiggle Tag, Treehugger Tag). Make a group decision to choose the overall favorite name and then write it down with the rules of play.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Create a new set of rules and keep playing!
  • Change the environment of the game. Is the group outside? Try finding a safe, indoor location. Move from an open field to a wooded area so that players can hide. If it is warm outside, maybe the game could even involve water!
  • Split into two groups and create two or three rules for a new game of tag. After agreeing on these rules, form one large group and attempt to combine both sets of rules into a truly challenging game.
  • Try adding a creative twist to another classic game. Create a new and improved version of capture the flag or hide-and-seek.

Links to Creativity

The game of tag is quite simple with its rules: (1) start with a participant who is “it”; (2) whoever is “it” chases other players and whoever is tagged, they’re now “it.” As children either become bored with, or eager to bend such rules, they are likely to develop new rules. In some ways, the desire to add or bend rules aligns with Kohlberg’s (1963) stages of moral development, such that children first become aware of social rules, but that we develop postconventional thinking that challenges the relevance of rules, or at least how they pertain to us. Furthermore, Runco (1999) suggested that rule-bending is a form of contrarianism, a helpful strategy for coming up with original ideas since contrarians push back against what is conventionally accepted.

Supporting research includes:

Kohlberg, L. (1963). The development of children's orientations toward a moral order: Sequence in the development of moral thought. Vita Humana, 6, 11-33.

Paglieri, F. (2005). Playing by and with the rules: Norms and morality in play development. Topoi, 24(2), 149-167.

Piaget, J. (1962). Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. [Originally published in 1945]

Piaget, J. (1997). The Moral Judgment of the Child. New York: Simon & Schuster. [Originally published in 1932]

Runco, M. A. (1999). Contrarianism. In M. A. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Creativity (pp. 367‑371). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Sutton-Smith, B. (Ed.) (1979). Play and Learning. New York: Gardner Press.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. For more information and resources see CenterForChildhoodCreativity.org.©2015 Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Tag with a Twist

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