Dragon Tail Tag

This is a tag exercise for smaller groups that is stimulating and lively.

 Fun Games
 Communication, Collaboration, Having Fun
6 – 15 minutes
1 – 8, 9 – 16, 17 – 30, 31+
Children, Youth, Adults

Step by Step Instructions

  • Get the group to form teams of between 8 to 15 people.
  • Let everyone put their hands on the hips or shoulders on the person directly
    ahead of them.
  • The aim is for the person at the head of the queue or line to try and tag the person at the back.
  • In order for a successful tag, the queue or line must remain intact.
  • As soon as there is a successful tag, the player tagged at the back of the queue
    must now take up their position directly in front of the player that was the tagger, who is in front of the line. They become the new tagger and the one at the back of the line is now the new player who must be tagged.
  • It is advisable to play the game in short rounds of about 30 seconds each and
    allow the group to swap positions on a regular basis.
  • As this is a very strenuous game only allow it to be played for a few minutes.


  • Challenging
  • Very energetic
  • Encourages Healthy competition
  • Best for small groups
  • No props needed

How to Play

There appears to be no lack of tag games for larger groups, but there is a shortage of these games for smaller groups, especially for 8 or fewer people. This exercise fills the gap and is the best games for smaller groups.

If the group you have gathered together is fairly large, you need to divide the group
into smaller teams of between 8 to 15 people. To have some fun dividing groups,
refer to ‘Getting into Teams’.

To start, get the group to stand in a straight line, then have everyone put their hands
onto the hips or shoulders of the individual standing directly ahead of them. It
stands to reason that the person at the front of the queue will be ‘hands-free’.

Explain to the group, the person at the front of the queue must try and tag the
person at the back. The person at the back of the queue will be doing everything in
their power to remain untagged.

Actually, it seems that the front of the queue is attempting to tag their own tail,
making the queue or line seems like the tagger and the one to be tagged, all in one.

Ensure that the group understands that the queue or line needs to remain joined all
the time. So, if one member becomes separated from the queue, and then is tagged,
it is declared null and void.

As soon as the person in the front of the queue (the tagger), is successful in tagging
the one at the back, this person must then take up their place in the front of the line,
ahead of the original tagger. The person that was second from the back in the queue,
now automatically becomes the new player to be tagged.

As this game is very strenuous and physically demanding, encourage the group to be
fully involved for a maximum of 30 seconds only. This means that the game will be
conducted and played in a number of short rounds. If you notice that there has not
been a successful tag for a while, let the group rotate their positions in the queue.

The game can continue for a couple of minutes or until all the players in the queue
have had an opportunity to be in the front, as well as in the back, i.e. be the tagger
and the one to be tagged.

Framing Ideas

Have you ever noticed how a dog tries to catch its own tail? They are not very
successful in their attempts, but the exercise is always very comical to watch. This
game is a reminder of that, which more often than not proves to be a very
unproductive exercise.

In this game of tag, everyone in the queue is trying to tag as many as they can, but
also at the same time trying to avoid being tagged. What do you think would happen
if you were to combine these two functions into one game ……?

Facilitators and Leaders Tips

It doesn’t really matter how many people you use to make up a team, what is
important is the challenge of the game. Players in line being tagged or trying to tag
others, this is what makes it exciting, no matter how long the’ dragon’s tail’ is.

Some groups may prefer to place their hands on the shoulders of those in front of
them, however, if their hands are placed on the waist of their partners, it makes a
much stronger connection.

Make sure to keep a watchful eye on those that take up their positions near the front
and the back of the line, as these people tend to be more susceptible to over-exerting

Debriefing and Reflection Strategies

Here are some questions to ask the group, which will help them to process their
experience of the game ‘Tag the Tail.’

  • Were you aware of everything that happened during this game?
  • What did you experience being the tagger and then as the player being
  • Is there some area of your life where you experience conflict?

Popular Variations

  • Front to Back: When a tag is conducted successfully, let the one in the front of
    the line takes up their position at the back of the queue.
  • Random Tagger: After a successful tag or after a no-tag round, get anyone in
    the line to take up the positions at the front or back.
  • Team Championship: Let the group form two or three lines of 8 to 15 people
    each. The aim is for the players in front of the line to tag the players at the
    back of the other lines. A successful tag can only be recorded by going around
    and not under or over the group lines.
  • To be able to play more tag games go to ‘Blob Tag’