The Game of the Week: Sharks and Minnows | Playworks

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The Game of the Week: Sharks and Minnows

How to play the tag game Sharks and Minnows.
Mon, 09/26/2011

Some of children's favorite games are tag games! Having a couple great tag games under your belt can enhance your playground and step up your rockstar status among children, especially those K-2 students. One all time favorite is today's Game of the Week... Sharks and Minnows!

Group Size:  Large group (10 or more)
Age Group:  Pre K - Grade 5
Length of Activity:  10 minutes or more
Developmental Goal:  To develop listening skills and a sense of boundaries.
Equipment:  None

Before You Start: 

  • Explain to players that the shark(s) will say Fishy, fishy come out and play, and all minnows will begin walking across the play are.
  • Be sure all players know minnows will run to the other side when the shark(s) says Shark Attack!
  • Remind all players to be aware of their surroundings so that they do not run into others.
  • Remind players that all taggers will use safe 'butterfly tags'.

Set Up: 

Set up a clearly designated rectangular play area with visible boundaries.

How To Play: 

  • Identify who will be the shark(s), either a player or the leader. Eeveryone else will be minnows.
  • The shark stands in the middle of the play area and say Fishy, fishy come out and play. The minnows slowly walk towards the sharks.
  • At any time, the shark can yell Shark Attack! At with point, the minnows must run to the opposite boundary line without being tagged.
  • If a minnow is tagged, s/he also becomes a shark.
  • When there is only one or two minnows left; they become the sharks in the next round.


  • Another option is to have minnows run back to the starting line when Shark Attack is called.
  • You can choose different predators and preys.
  • Change the consequences for getting tagged, e.g.,
    • If you get tagged on the first attempt to get to the other side, you become a shark.
    • On all following attempts, if you are you become seaweed and you cannot move your feet, but can still tag.


Find more new and exciting games in our games library!

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