Sharks and Minnows

  1. Recess Games
  2. Tag Games
  • Large Group (10 and up)

  • Grades 1-2

  • None

  • 10 minutes or more

Development Goal

To develop listening skills and a sense of boundaries.

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 area.
  • Be sure all players know minnows will run to the other side when the shark(s) say(s), “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, light-touch tags, or 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. Everyone else will be minnows.
  • The shark stands in the middle of the play area and says,”Fishy, fishy, come out and play.” The minnows slowly walk towards the sharks.
  • At any time, the shark can yell, “Shark attack!” At which 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:
    • If you get tagged on the first attempt to get to the other side, you become a shark.
    • On all following attempts, you become seaweed and you cannot move your feet, but can still tag.