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A group of young players aged four to six run around on a grass pitch playing tag.

Play Phase session: magic tag

Looking for an activity for 4–6-year-olds? Try tag. It's a game most children know. And you can play it in lots of different ways.

This session will help players:

  • develop fundamental football movement skills
  • make decisions linked to attacking and defending skills and principles
  • become aware of their positioning and the space around them.

If you like this idea, download the session cards and give it a go. And don’t forget to share your experience on the England Football Community. We’d love to know how you got on.



"Magic tag" is a variation of a tag game where someone tries to tag someone else as they move around an area.

The 'tagger' could be one player, perhaps even a team. It could even be everyone.

The players usually tag each other by touch. But it could be by stealing a ribbon, running a circle around the player or tackling away their football.

It's easy to set up. You only need a group of players and some cones to mark out an area.

How to play?

To play "magic tag", choose one child to be the great wizard. They can have a pretend wand or use their finger.

The great wizard runs after the other players. When they get close, they tag them by touching their shoulder or back with the magic wand.

The great wizard could also shout out a spell when they tag. Like "abracadabra", "hocus hocus", "shazam", or anything the children make up.

All the children keep running until there is just one left unfrozen. The last one remaining is the champion.

You could allow the frozen players to unfreeze themselves by performing an action that you or they decide. Or, unfrozen players could free them by casting a spell.

Let the children suggest ways to freeze and unfreeze players. They're great at coming up with ideas.


More ideas for the game

Imaginative play – add a little imagination:

The great wizard might be trying to free a prince or princess locked in a tower. 


Object play – introduce equipment: 

Children have a wizard's cape (use a bib) tucked into their waistband. The tagger must take it to tag them. 


Social play – bring everyone together:

Encourage children to release as many friends as possible or tag everyone as fast as possible. 


Physical play – get more physical: 

Each child has a ball. If tagged, they pick up the ball, drop it onto one knee and catch it. 

Want to get more from the game? Use our idea generator to increase the returns for your players.