How to Play Dragon or Sock Tag

Kids playing dragon tag
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Dragon tag is just one of the dozens of versions of tag or chase kids can play. Like most tag games, it's lots of fun for a group, requires little equipment, and will really get players running and moving. It fits perfectly with a knights-and-princesses party theme (or a straight-up Dragons theme). But it can be adapted to other themes or just played spontaneously anytime you have a group of kids gathered. And it even encourages kids to work together as a team. Plus, see below for a variation called Sock Tag—in that one, it's every man for himself!

How to Play 

  1. Split players into groups of four or more and have them form chains by linking arms or grabbing each others' waists or shoulders.
  2. Give the last player in each chain a scarf, bandanna, or long sock to act as a "tail." Have those players tuck the "tails" into the back of their waistbands. Each chain is now a Dragon.
  3. Start by having the Dragons scatter across a playing area. When you shout "Go!" the Dragons chase each other, trying to grab opponents' tails (while protecting their own tails too). Only the first player in the dragon chain can grab another team's tail.
  4. Each team's chain must stay unbroken. Decide in advance what the consequences will be if a chain comes loose. You could have the whole team perform a fitness activity (such as five squats, or a running a quick lap around the playing area). And/or, require the chain to reform with a different player at the head and tail.
  5.  Play until one player has all the tails, or for a predetermined time period.

Tips & Variations

  • No sitting on or hiding of tails!
  • Sock Tag Variation: Also called "Tails." Every player gets a tail, and they all play both offense and defense (trying to grab each other's tails while also protecting their own). As with Dragon Tag, instead of having players sit out once their tails have been grabbed, let them perform a fitness activity instead. When that's complete, they can rejoin the game and try to grab themselves a new tail from another player. Play until one player has all the tails, or for a predetermined time period.
  • Giant Dragon Variation: Another option—helpful if you have a slightly smaller group of players—is to make just one dragon. The player at the head of the line tries to steal the tail, while the players in the middle try to stop her (without breaking the chain).

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.