Picket Fences Tag
Picket Fences Tag

Games: Picket Fences Tag

Luann G. Swanson

Here's a game that kids at all elementary levels love because it keeps everyone involved and active. The game employs critical thinking in addition to dodging and feinting skills. It's a game my students ask for on Choice Days.


Any number can play, but it's best to have three taggers for 18-24 students. Place three taggers in the middle of the floor. The rest of your students—the runners—stand at one end of the gym.

How to Play
The game starts with the runners chanting in unison, “When ya gonna come?” in the same tune and beat as they say “Who ya gonna call?” in Ghostbusters. When the taggers answer, “Midnight!” the runners attempt to run from one endline to the other without being tagged.

If tagged, they immediately become a picket fence and stand with arms outstretched at center court, beside other tagged runners.  These tagged runners form a “picket fence” that cannot move or sway, and that nobody, taggers included, can run into, under or over.

Eventually, the picket fence gets so large that it's difficult to run around, and the game becomes quite interesting. For example, taggers can arrange themselves one in front and two behind the fence in preparation for chasing.

The object of the game is to be the last runner tagged. The last three runners tagged become the new taggers, and a new game can start immediately.

In the K-3rd grades, because of the size of the kids, we use only one picket fence in the middle of the gym. However, in the 4th and 5th grades, we usually run out of space with six runners still untagged.

So with this group, the picket fence starts in the middle, but we allow it to grow only five students wide. After that, the next player tagged finds any spot on the playing area and starts a new fence of five.

This really adds another dimension to the game as the students have to think quickly and perform a lot of fancy moves to get around the several small fences.

Use this game at any time of the year and change the theme for the different holidays. For example, at Halloween, we call the runners “Ghosts,” and the taggers are “Pumpkin Patch Guards.” 

Contributor: Luann G. Swanson is a teacher at Pekin Elementary School in Packwood, Iowa.

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2010, Physical Education Update.com, www.peUpdate.com

Bookmark and Share

Printer-Friendly Format