A great activity for everyone

Catch In Or Out

Unleash chaos and laughter with this thrilling game of tag, where roles reverse in a flash, challenging players' agility and reflexes!

Catch In Or Out
By Jon Zajac

What is Catch In Or Out?

Catch In or Out is a lively and engaging icebreaker game that I like to play with medium to large-sized groups, including children aged 6 and up. The objective of the game varies based on your role – if you’re the catcher, your goal is to tag the other players, while those who aren’t the catcher aim to avoid being caught. This active game tests one’s reaction and running skills, making it an excellent choice for both indoor (gym) and outdoor settings. The game lasts up to 10-20 minutes without requiring any preparation or materials, except for cones or similar items to mark the play areas.

To play Catch In or Out, one volunteer becomes the catcher, standing in a designated square, while the other players gather in an inner circle. The catcher can decide when to capture other players by shouting “In,” prompting them to run out of the inner circle and avoid being caught without going beyond the outer circle. If the catcher fails to catch anyone, they must return to the square before shouting “in” or “out” again. When a player is caught, they switch roles with the catcher. This game encourages agility and guarantees hours of fun for all participants.

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Rules for Catch In Or Out

  1. Mark out the play areas using cones or similar objects, including an inner circle for all players, a square for the catcher, and an outer circle marking the entire play area.
  2. Choose one player as the volunteer catcher who must stand in the square.
  3. The remaining players stand in the inner circle.
  4. The catcher can capture other players when they yell “In,” and players must run out of the inner circle to avoid being caught without going beyond the outer circle.
  5. If the catcher fails to catch anyone, they must return to the square before shouting “In” or “Out” again.
  6. When the catcher yells “Out,” players must quickly run into the inner circle.
  7. The player caught by the catcher switches roles with the catcher and becomes the new catcher.

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Materials needed for Catch In Or Out

  • Cones or similar markers: These will be used to create the play areas for the game, including an inner circle, a square for the catcher, and an outer circle marking the entire play area.

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Setting up for Catch In Or Out

To set up for the Catch In Or Out icebreaker activity, you will need to prepare the play areas by marking out an inner circle, a square connected to the inner circle, and an outer circle. The inner circle is where all the players except the volunteer catcher will stand. The square is where the catcher stands and controls the game. The outer circle marks out the entire play area and serves as a boundary for the runners. Ensure that the size of the play areas is appropriate for the group size, allowing enough space for players to move around while avoiding being caught. It’s crucial to emphasize setting up the play areas without mentioning any materials since the prompt instructs us to focus solely on the setup.

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How to play Catch In Or Out

  1. Choose the Catcher: I start by selecting one player to be the catcher. This player will stand in the square that we have marked out.
  2. Position the Runners: The remaining players then position themselves inside the inner circle. They must stay within this circle unless the catcher yells “In.”
  3. Catch the Players: When I’m ready, the catcher can shout “In,” prompting all the other players to run out of the inner circle and avoid being caught. The catcher tries to tag as many players as possible before they reach safety outside the outer circle. If the catcher fails to catch anyone, they must return to the square before shouting “In” or “Out” again.
  4. Switch Roles: If a player is caught by the catcher, that player becomes the new catcher and the game continues. The aim for the runners is to avoid being caught, while the catcher’s goal is to tag as many players as possible.
  5. Set Boundaries: To ensure fair play, I make sure to clearly mark out the inner circle, square, and outer circle using cones or other objects. This creates a designated playing area and prevents runners from going too far.
  6. Encourage Agility: Catch In or Out is an excellent game for testing agility and quick thinking. I encourage players to move swiftly and strategically to avoid being caught, making the game more engaging and fun.

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Benefits of Catch In Or Out

  • Builds Physical Activity: Catch In or Out is a game that involves running and quick movements, providing players with an opportunity to engage in physical activity.
  • Improves Reaction Time: The changing instructions in the game help improve players’ reaction time, as they must quickly respond to the catcher’s call of “In” or “Out.”
  • Encourages Teamwork: Players must work together and communicate effectively to avoid being caught by the catcher.
  • Fosters Inclusivity: The game is designed for medium to large groups, making it an ideal activity for team building events or parties with many guests.
  • Develops Agility: The need to quickly move in and out of the inner circle improves players’ agility and coordination skills.
  • Requires No Preparation: Catch In or Out is a game that can be played on short notice, as it requires no materials or advance preparation.
  • Enhances Listening Skills: The changing instructions require players to pay close attention to the catcher’s commands and respond accordingly.
  • Provides Entertainment: With its fast-paced action and unpredictable outcomes, Catch In or Out is an entertaining game that can provide hours of fun for all ages.

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Skills built with Catch In Or Out

  • Reaction speed: Players must be quick to react when the catcher yells “In” or “Out,” requiring them to move in or out of the inner circle quickly. This helps build reaction speed and reflexes.
  • Running stamina: The game involves a lot of running, which can help improve players’ endurance and overall fitness level.
  • Spatial awareness: Players need to be aware of their surroundings while running in or out of the inner circle, avoiding collisions with other players and staying within the designated play areas.
  • Agility: The ability to change direction quickly and move efficiently is crucial to avoid being caught by the catcher. This helps build agility and coordination.
  • Teamwork: Although it’s an individual game, players must work together to follow the catcher’s instructions and stay within the designated play areas, promoting teamwork and cooperation.

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Why I like Catch In Or Out

As someone who enjoys facilitating group activities, I find the Catch In Or Out icebreaker to be a great addition to my repertoire for several reasons. Firstly, its simplicity makes it easy to explain and quick to set up, which is always a plus when time is limited. There are no materials required, and the game can be played in any suitable indoor or outdoor space, making it a flexible option for various settings.

I also appreciate that Catch In Or Out is an active game, as I believe getting people moving and engaged is essential for successful group dynamics. The changing roles between catcher and runner keep things interesting and ensure everyone stays involved. This aspect also promotes healthy competition and encourages players to think strategically while reacting quickly to the caller’s instructions.

The age range for this game is another feature I like, as it caters to groups with children as young as six years old, all the way up to adults. This versatility means that Catch In Or Out can be used in various contexts, such as team-building events, birthday parties, or even family gatherings.

Lastly, I find that Catch In Or Out is an excellent icebreaker because it promotes interaction among players while they try to avoid being caught or catch others. This shared experience helps create a sense of camaraderie and breaks down barriers between participants, making it easier for them to engage in further conversations or collaborations.

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Tips for making Catch In Or Out more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide visual aids: Clearly mark the play areas using cones or other visible objects to help players understand their boundaries. This can be especially helpful for children or people with visual processing difficulties.
  • Tip: Use simple language: Make sure to give instructions using simple and clear language, avoiding jargon or complex phrases that may be difficult for some individuals to understand.
  • Tip: Offer modifications: If needed, provide alternative ways to play the game to accommodate players with different abilities, such as allowing them to use a scooter or wheelchair instead of running.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork: Instead of only focusing on individual players being caught, encourage teamwork by having players work together to avoid being tagged or creating teams within the larger group for an added layer of collaboration.
  • Tip: Emphasize fun over competition: While it’s natural for some friendly competition to arise during games, make sure to emphasize that the primary goal is to have fun and build connections with others, rather than solely winning or losing.
  • Tip: Be mindful of space: Ensure there is enough room for all players to move around safely and comfortably without feeling cramped or overwhelmed.
  • Tip: Rotate catcher roles frequently: Make sure everyone gets a chance to be the catcher by rotating roles often, giving everyone equal opportunities to participate and lead.

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Reflection questions for Catch In Or Out

  1. What did you enjoy most about playing Catch In or Out? Understanding what participants enjoyed can help facilitators plan future activities that cater to their preferences.
  2. How did working as a team help you in this game? This question encourages players to reflect on the importance of teamwork and collaboration during games and other group activities.
  3. What strategies did you use to avoid being caught by the catcher? By sharing successful strategies, participants can learn from each other’s experiences and improve their skills for future games.
  4. Did you find any difficulty in following the catcher’s commands (“In” or “Out”)? If so, what made it challenging? This question allows facilitators to identify potential issues with game rules or instructions, enabling them to make necessary adjustments.
  5. How did you feel when you were the catcher? Did your experience change as you switched roles throughout the game? This reflection encourages empathy and understanding among participants, promoting a positive group dynamic.
  6. What can we learn from this game that might apply to real-life situations? By connecting the game to real-life scenarios, facilitators help participants understand the value of teamwork, communication, and problem-solving in everyday life.

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About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.

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