Wagon Wheel Tag

It’s dumping snow in Colorado today.  I mean DUMPING snow–and yesterday it was 70 degrees and I was wearing flip flops!  Springtime weather in Colorado is always a little unpredictable, but days like today always make me think of one of my favorite tag games to play in the snow with groups.  Wagon Wheel Tag!

Imagine a wagon wheel.  It is round with a lot of spokes coming out from the center, right?!   If you are doing this activity in the snow, stomp out a giant wagon wheel with several spokes protruding from the center of the wheel.  You can stomp this out with your snow boots, or use a pair of snow shoes to make the track a little wider.  Make your wheel at least 30 feet in diameter for a small group, up to 60 feet or more in diameter for really large groups.  If you are in a gymnasium that already has lines on the floor, you can use the lines that are already in place or put tape down in the shape of a wagon wheel, up to you!

After your wheel is constructed, instruct the group to find a place on the wheel.  Ask for one volunteer to start out as ‘it’.  For large groups designate four or more people to be ‘it’.  I like to use a rubber chicken, Dr. Suess hat or other fun object to designate who is ‘it’.  It’s a great visual and it makes the tagger more obvious.  Whoever is ‘it’ starts out in the center of the wheel.  This is a basic tag game, however you must stay on the lines of the wheel.  You also may not pass anyone in front of you or behind you (which allows for some fantastic strategies to start forming).  The ‘it’ person starts out in the center and then chooses whatever spoke they want to go down to begin chasing the other players.  The idea is to stay away from the person who is ‘it’ and not get tagged.

When someone is tagged, they become ‘it’ and is given the ‘it’ object (i.e. rubber chicken, Dr. Suess hat, etc) so everyone can see who the new ‘it’ is.  I usually have the new ‘it’ do a 360 degree turn before they can start chasing anyone.  This gives the person who was just ‘it’ a chance to get away from the new ‘it’.

This is a very fun and strategic game.  It’s fun to watch who decides to stand still on the wheel and then who gets tagged because they cannot pass anyone and gets stuck behind the stationary person.  It is also very aerobic depending on the size of the wheel and how many participants you have.

I facilitated this activity in three foot snow drifts at a ski resort in Colorado one time.  I stomped out the wheel using snow shoes and had a group of about 100 people playing.  It was a HUGE wheel and we had 6 people ‘it’ at a time.  It was a little chaotic but it was a blast!

Give this game a try and send me some pictures!  Enjoy!


You could also use this in the classroom as a math activity!  Google Snow Unit Circle for more ideas.