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13 Reasons Why Kids Should Be Allowed To Play Tag at School (You’re it!)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Group of children playing

Not that long ago, a few parents were raising their eyebrows. Schools were declaring a ban on Tag, and their kids were complaining that they couldn’t play their favorite game anymore. Little by little, the familiar scene of kids running and whooping “You’re it!” is vanishing from schoolyards. 

Ours is an age where lack of physical activity is plaguing the physical and mental health of youth. Never before have parents needed to put so much effort into getting kids to go outside to play. Then why did some schools take this move to ban this fun and energetic game? Does the risk of falling and scraping a knee really outweigh all the benefits of Tag?

Tag holds countless benefits that improve children’s physical, emotional, and social skills. It’s a classic chase game that has been played, refined, and passed down by children through the centuries. Tag develops athletic skills, stimulates brain function, and provides hours of fun, and that’s just, to begin with.

Some parents have ferociously slammed the ban-Tag movement by arguing that they played Tag all the time and survived. Well, here’s more good news. You don’t just survive Tag. You thrive. Do you want to know all the reasons why Tag is great for kids? Read on.

We’ve gathered 13 facts for you that prove why Tag should be allowed in the schoolyards. Learn how kids profit from playing this awesome game!

Discover 13 reasons why kids should be allowed to play Tag at school:

1. Develops Athletic Skills

When a child is playing a game of Tag, he’s not just having fun. He is developing considerable physical skills such as balance, agility, coordination, movement, and spatial awareness. Children can quickly acquire all these athletic abilities through play.

In Tag, the “it” has to chase down a player who is not “it” in an attempt to Tag them. Though played in a wide variety of ways, this is the basis of the whole game. 

Free from complexity, Tag fosters athletic development by exposing players to an array of movements. When was the last time you saw a group of kids ducking, dodging, twisting, jumping, and running for their lives in a game of Tag? When was the last time you watched a football star on the field who masterly uses these same skills? 

Tag takes physical activity to the maximum level possible and forces players to learn how to control their body movement in various situations.

2. It’s A Great Workout

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults incorporate at least 30 minutes of intense cardio exercise in a day. On the other hand, kids need 60 minutes or more. Sadly, not even half of American kids today get the 60 minutes of exercise that is so vital for their well-being.

Cardiovascular exercise is presumably one of the most valuable benefits that Tag provides. Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be in a track or gym class. A few minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity like Tag in the schoolyard can make a big difference. By getting your body moving and your blood pumping, Tag promotes a healthier heart and strong muscles in children.

3. Spontaneous and Unstructured

Tag is a heart-pumping game that can be played pretty much by anyone, anytime, and anywhere. It’s a great game that kids can easily engage in during unstructured playtime. The game doesn’t cost anything; you only need players and some space: no equipment, no nets or balls, no racquets, not even chalk.

As a fact, many kids prefer this costless prey-predator game over any other playground game. There’s something dynamic about this game that’s deep-rooted into human minds. The games often start spontaneously and fill up unstructured time with great exercise, social time, and fun.

4. Stimulates Brain Function

The benefits of Tag go far more than just the physical. Tag develops fine and gross motor skills, including coordination, balance, and precision. Children grasp these skills in play intuitively without any formal training. 

In a game of Tag, players learn how to accelerate, change directions and stop while going at high speeds. They are also required to think, decide and act at a maximum speed level. From evading and reaching to pivoting and focusing, Tag teaches children all the basics of strategy and tactics.

5. Boosts Academic Performance 

Yes, science has shown that children can perform better in school if involved in physical activity. 

Researchers from the University of Illinois gathered more than 200 students to determine how physical activity affects students’ academic performance. The research showed that kids who took part in vigorous activities like Tag and soccer showed greater amounts of executive control than those who did not. 

teacher helping school kids

Since executive control is crucial for reading and mathematics, engaging in games like Tag can play a significant role in students’ educational success.

6. Allows Creativity

Permitting children’s playtime allows kids to be creative. In a game like Tag, children can create their own rules, think up new ideas, and experiment with a lot of variations of the game. 

From freeze Tag to cops and robbers, the unique variations of Tag that kids have developed over the ages are remarkable. Tag greatly benefits children’s creativity by allowing them to flex their creative muscles.

7. Exercises Sportsmanship 

Tag is a great way children can learn to be good sportsmen and to play fair. Tag doesn’t necessarily have a winner and loser, although there is a continual chance of winning (to Tag) and losing (to be Tagged) throughout the game. This balance allows children to get accustomed to losses. 

8. Improves Focus

Science has revealed that kids are more focused and attentive after recess or any unstructured playtime. As a result, they are better behaved and also less disruptive in class. Research of US public schools showed that kids who had daily recess breaks were more focused on their schoolwork than kids who had little or no playtime. 

Considering the amount of physical and mental activity Tag calls for, it’s no wonder that children have a sharpened focus after the game.

9. Improves ADHD Related Behavior

Kids with ADHD have difficulty sitting still and focusing on one thing, which can be a real problem. Studies have shown that strenuous activity in the playground helps kids with ADHD improve their class performance. Kids who played Tag before class were less impulsive and aggressive within eight weeks.

10. Boundaries and Healthy Risk

Tag is a game that teaches kids about boundaries from the start. Each player has to agree to take part in the game or not. It also demonstrates that players can quit anytime and the rest of the players no longer Tag them. Children can opt-out when they feel like it and allow the game to continue with the rest.

Kids quickly learn to navigate through the game and become their own referees. If a player gets too rough, he soon realizes that he won’t be able to play or have to be the undesired “it.” 

Players often do fall and get scrapes. Since many kids today don’t engage in heavy work that requires force and precision, they don’t get the chance to develop these skills. As a result, they do not realize the capabilities of their muscles and body positioning. Instead of helping foster these life skills, many adults have allowed their fears to get in the way and stopped children from all types of play.

It turns out that children need some amount of risk in their play. Healthy risk in play greatly helps develop confidence, resilience, and risk management skills. 

Teaching kids the game the right way is much more profitable than banning it altogether.  

11. Universal Game

What is unique about Tag is that it is a universal, timeless game. This chasing game is one of the oldest games ever created. Gender doesn’t matter, neither does your background. It’s that prey-predator game that’s always been ingrained in human biology. 

It doesn’t matter where your family comes from or what your favorite subject is. Children can play it regardless of where they stand in their academic level or intelligence. For these reasons, students have the opportunity to develop friendships and find common ground with a diverse range of people.

12. Improves Sleep

Kid Sleeping And Waking Up

People who engage in physical activity are better sleepers. Studies have shown that about 20 minutes of playtime in the daytime promotes healthy sleep by 65%. In addition, just spending time outdoors helps humans go to bed earlier and wake up in the morning feeling fresh.

We have already seen that Tag is a form of great exercise. Children who play Tag in recess will sleep a lot better, further improving their overall health and performance.

13. It’s Keeps You Happy 

Of course, everyone wants students to be happy and to have fun. And, playing Tag is obviously fun because the kids are always seen smiling. In addition, social and physical activity such as Tag boosts mental health, curbs depression and anxiety, keeping children in a good mood.

All Things Considered

All the benefits of playing Tag demand that children be allowed to play Tag in school. Childhood and Tag have always gone together perfectly, and it will remain so. However, since we live where screens have replaced free play, it is also vital to ensure that children know how to play Tag correctly. Indeed, allowing Tag in the schoolyard will help prepare children for the real world.

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.