How to Play Shadow Tag


Shadow Tag is a fun and easy outdoor game for kids of all ages. Plus, it provides learning opportunities!

The rules of Shadow Tag are straightforward – the person who is “it” tries to “tag” another player by stepping on their shadow! All the other players run around, trying to prevent their shadow from being stepped on.  From there, you can choose what the tagged person must do. Are they out? Do they freeze? Do they become “it,” too? With so many variations, Shadow Tag can keep kids occupied for a long time.

Shadow Tag is an excellent game for kids of many ages. Toddlers will find the rules easy to follow and lots of fun. But elementary, middle school, and even high school kids will enjoy themselves. The best part is, the kids are outside and moving around!

To Play

To play Shadow Tag, you will not need any equipment, but it does require bright sunlight with few tall objects nearby to block the sun or create shadows of their own. Therefore, it’s best played in an open space. You also might need to define the playing boundary, so no kids hightail it too far away!

You will need at least three players, but after that, as many kids as would like to play, can!

Teaching Opportunities

If you are a parent organizing this activity, you might want to take advantage of the opportunity for a little science lesson about sunlight and shadows. Even without parental involvement, the kids will be learning how their body placement in relation to the sun affects their shadow while attempting to prevent their shadow from being stepped on.

Shadow Tag also provides an opportunity for kids to practice good sportsmanship and honesty. The person who is “it” has to be honest about if they genuinely tagged someone by stepping on their shadow. And the players themselves must be honest about if they were tagged or not.

Alternate Versions

Kids can play Shadow Tag in two other ways. In the first alternate version, the person who is “it” tries to make their shadow touch another player. Or in other words, they try to make their shadow fall on another player. In the second, the person who is “it” tries to touch their shadow to another player’s shadow. 

Shadow Tag is a great lawn game for kids of all ages (and adults too). Give it a try!

Sarah Korhnak

A nature lover busy making her own backyard brilliant!

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