A great activity for everyone

Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

Transform the classic game into an action-packed group challenge with this exciting twist on rock, paper, scissors!

Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag
By Jon Zajac

What is Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag?

The Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag icebreaker is a fun and energetic game that is perfect for large groups. The purpose of this activity is to encourage teamwork, quick thinking, and physical activity. To play, participants are divided into two teams and must choose hand signals for rock, paper, or scissors. When the game master shouts “shoot,” both teams will show their signals, with the losing team running back to their base while the winning team tries to tag them. Players who are tagged join the opposing team. The game continues until all players have been tagged, and the team with the most remaining players wins. This icebreaker can be played indoors or outdoors and is suitable for anyone aged 8 and up. It’s a great way to get people moving, interacting, and having fun together.

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Rules for Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

  1. Divide the group into two teams (Team A and Team B).
  2. Each team chooses a hand signal for rock, paper, or scissors.
  3. Both teams huddle at a meter apart from the center line.
  4. Teams chant “rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” and show their chosen hand signals.
  5. The team that loses the round must swiftly run back to their base without getting tagged.
  6. The winning team tries to tag the losing team’s players before they reach their base.
  7. Players that get tagged join the winning team.
  8. If both teams show the same hand signal, all players must quickly sit down. The last player to sit down switches places with a player from the other team.
  9. The game ends when time runs out or one team has no more players left on their side.
  10. The team with the most number of players at the end of the game wins.
  11. (Optional) Instead of running, players can crawl, jump, skip, or hop on one leg to make the game more challenging and fun.

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Materials needed for Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

  • Big room or outdoor space: You’ll need enough space for two teams to compete in this game. This can be a gymnasium, park, or any other large area where players can move around freely.
  • Marker or chalk: Use these to divide the playing field into sections and mark the starting lines for each team. Make sure the marker or chalk is easily visible to all players.

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Setting up for Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

To set up for the Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag icebreaker activity, you will need a large enough space to accommodate two teams. This could be an indoor gym or outdoor area. Next, you will need to divide the group into two teams and designate a team base for each team on opposite sides of the game field. You can use a marker or chalk to draw lines on the ground to mark the bases and the center line where the teams will show their hand signals. No other materials are needed for this icebreaker activity.

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How to play Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

  1. Divide the group into two teams: I begin by dividing the class or group into two teams, team A and team B. Each team huddles together on opposite sides of the game field.
  2. Draw lines on the game field: Using a marker or chalk, I draw a line at each team’s base and another line in the center of the field.
  3. Choose hand signals for rock, paper, scissors: Each team secretly selects their hand signal for rock, paper, or scissors. Both teams face off about a meter apart from the centerline.
  4. Chant and display hand signals: When both teams are ready, they chant “rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” and simultaneously show their chosen hand signals.
  5. Determine the winning team: The winning team is determined based on the standard rules of rock, paper, scissors. The losing team must run back to their base without getting tagged, while the winning team tries to tag them.
  6. Switch players: If a player gets tagged, they switch sides and join the opposing team. If both teams display the same hand signal, all players must quickly sit down; the last person to do so switches places with their counterpart from the other team.
  7. Play until one team has no players left or time runs out: The game continues until only one team remains with active players or when the designated time for the icebreaker ends.

Feel free to add a fun variation by having players crawl, jump, skip, or hop on one leg instead of running during the game! This can make the activity more enjoyable and challenging.

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Benefits of Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

  • Develops Quick Thinking: Playing the Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag icebreaker requires players to make quick decisions, which can help improve their reaction time and decision-making skills.
  • Encourages Teamwork: This game encourages teamwork as players must work together to outsmart their opponents and win the game. This can help build stronger relationships among team members and improve collaboration.
  • Promotes Physical Activity: The Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag icebreaker is an active game that requires running, jumping, and other physical movements. This can help players stay physically fit and healthy.
  • Improves Communication Skills: Players must communicate effectively with each other to choose the right hand signals and coordinate their movements. This can help improve communication skills and build trust among team members.
  • Boosts Energy Levels: The Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag icebreaker is a high-energy game that can help boost players’ energy levels and mood. This can be especially beneficial in situations where participants may be feeling tired or lethargic.

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Skills built with Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

  • Running: The game requires players to run quickly in order to reach their team base before being tagged by the opposing team. This helps build endurance and speed.
  • Reaction time: Players must be able to react quickly when showing their hand signals, as they only have a split second to do so. This can help improve reaction time and decision-making skills.
  • Teamwork: The game encourages teamwork as players must work together to choose the best hand signal and support their teammates who are trying to reach the base.
  • Energy and Stamina: With the constant running, quick thinking, and fast movements required, this game is sure to get players’ hearts pumping and energy levels high. This can help improve overall physical fitness and stamina.
  • Communication: Players must communicate with each other to coordinate their hand signals and strategies. This can help build communication skills and promote teamwork.

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Why I like Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

I enjoy the Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag icebreaker because it is an active and engaging game that can be played in large groups. The energy and quick thinking required to play make it exciting and fun for everyone involved. I also appreciate that this icebreaker can be played by people of all ages, making it a versatile option for various settings.

One aspect I particularly like about this game is the use of hand signals for rock, paper, scissors. This adds an extra layer of strategy and teamwork to the game, as players must coordinate their choices and communicate discreetly with their teammates. The chant of “rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” also helps build anticipation and excitement before each round begins.

I also appreciate that Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag requires minimal preparation and materials, making it a convenient option for last-minute icebreakers or games on the go. Additionally, the game can be easily adapted with different movements, such as crawling or hopping, to add variety and challenge.

Overall, I find Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag to be a fun and dynamic icebreaker that encourages teamwork, quick thinking, and energy. Its versatility and ease of play make it a great option for any group looking to break the ice and have a good time.

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Tips for making Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag more inclusive

  • Tip: Provide visual aids for hand signals: To ensure that everyone understands the hand signals for rock, paper, scissors, provide visual aids such as charts or images that clearly show each signal. This will help players who may be unfamiliar with the game or have difficulty remembering hand gestures.
  • Tip: Offer alternative movements: Instead of running, allow players to choose from various movements such as walking, hopping, jumping, or skipping. This accommodation can make the game more accessible for individuals with mobility limitations or physical disabilities.
  • Tip: Use clear and simple language: When explaining the rules, use language that is easy to understand for all age groups and English proficiency levels. Avoid using jargon or complex phrases that may confuse some participants.
  • Tip: Encourage teamwork: Emphasize the importance of cooperation and teamwork during the game. Encourage players to help their teammates reach the base safely, making it easier for everyone to participate and enjoy the activity.
  • Tip: Pair up players: For younger or smaller groups, pair up players to ensure a fair match between teams. This accommodation helps prevent mismatched teams with significant age or size differences that may lead to an unfair advantage for one side.
  • Tip: Assign roles based on abilities: Consider assigning specific roles (e.g., tagger, base protector) based on each participant’s abilities and comfort level. For instance, individuals who prefer less physical activity can be designated as base protectors while more energetic players can act as taggers.

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Reflection questions for Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag

  1. What strategies did you use during the game to avoid getting tagged? Understanding the strategies used in an icebreaker game can help participants learn about teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
  2. How did you feel when you were part of the chasing team versus the running team? Exploring emotions experienced during the game can help participants understand their reactions to different situations and develop empathy for others’ perspectives.
  3. What did you learn about yourself or your group members through this activity? Reflecting on personal growth and insights gained from an icebreaker can deepen self-awareness and build stronger relationships within the group.
  4. How can the skills used in this game (running, quick thinking, and teamwork) be applied to real-life situations? Connecting the dots between the icebreaker and real-world applications can help participants understand the value of these skills beyond just a fun activity.
  5. What variations of the game did you enjoy most or least? Why? Understanding personal preferences and why they exist can foster self-awareness, empathy, and inclusivity in the group.

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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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