Three Excellent Flag Activities and PE Games for Elementary

Many physical education programs have some type of flags or flag belts in their storage rooms.  They are great for a variety of tag-type activities as it limits the, “I tagged you, no you didn’t” arguments that can arise at the elementary level. Keep reading to learn about a few of my favorite flag activities!

Students playing flag activitiesFlag Belt Systems

There are many types of flag belt systems available. Some are one entire piece with the flags attached to the belt.  The entire belt comes off when the flag is pulled, making it easy to see.  Other systems have separate flags that attach to the belt and come off individually when pulled. View Gopher’s selection of flag belts, all backed by an Unconditional 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!

Regardless of the type of flags, I typically see PE teachers using them for a flag football unit and then they go back into the storage closet until next year.  Well, I want to share three flag activities that keep your students engaged in meaningful movement.  Don’t have any flag belts?  No problem.  These flag activities can also be played using juggling scarves or even bandanas tucked into a student’s waistband.

Here are three of my favorite flag pe games for elementary students!

1. Steal the Tails (a.k.a. Monkeys & Gorillas)

This first flag activity is primarily used as a warmup or instant activity.

Set Up: Divide your class in half.  Have half of the students start with a flag belt or scarf, the other half starts without one.  With younger students, we use “monkeys” (with flags) and “gorillas” (no flags).

Game Play: The gorillas chase the monkeys and try to steal their tail (grab the flag).  Once a gorilla steals a tail from a monkey, he/she clips on the flag belt or attaches the flag and is now a monkey.  The object of the game is to try and have a flag in your possession at the end of each round.  Students with a flag at the end of the round give themselves a point.  Play for several rounds.

Rules: Use a “no tag backs” rule where players that just had their tail stolen must try to steal a tail from someone else other than the player that just took his/hers.  Also, if a player is in the process of putting on a flag or tucking in a scarf, a player cannot steal it before they are ready.  Wait for them to begin running before giving chase. If a tail falls on the floor, it is fair game for any gorilla to pick up.

Click here to download and view the activity sheet.

2. Flag Tag

Flag Tag is another chasing/fleeing activity that can be used as a warmup or instant activity.

Set Up: To get started, place one hoop in each of the four corners of the gym or playing area.  Next, put one flag belt or scarf in each hoop.  All students wear a flag belt and spread out in the playing area.

Game Play: On the signal, all students will move around the playing area and attempt to steal a flag from another player AND keep their flag from being taken. If a player’s flag is taken, he/she must go to one of the hoops and take another flag.  They should keep one foot in the hoop while tucking the scarf back in or putting the flag back on, and re-enter the game.

Rules: Players cannot get flags taken when a foot is in a hoop and are in the process of getting a new flag. The player that stole the flag must run and place it in any hoop.  To increase activity, have students perform a quick fitness activity to re-enter the game.

Click here to download and view the activity sheet.

3. Capture the Pins

Capture the Pins is an invasion game that can be played with two large teams or smaller groups depending on the space you have available and the number of students in your class.  An outdoor field space is preferred, but I’ve played it in the gym was well.

Set Up: To start, divide the class up into 2 teams.  All students get a flag belt.  Have one team wear one color flag and the other team wear a different color flag.  After teams are set, assign each team a side of the field to defend.

Game Play: On the signal, players from each team attempt to cross over the centerline into the other team’s territory and successfully make it past the other team’s “safety line” without getting their flag pulled.  Once a player has successfully entered the safety zone, they may take a pin from the opposing team’s pile and get free walk backs to their side.  They then add the pin to their team’s pile.

Rules: If a player is tagged inside the opposing team’s territory, they must pick up their flag, travel back to their side of the field and put the flag back on before attempting to cross over into the other team’s territory and capture another pin.

Click here to download and view the activity sheet.


I hope you enjoy these pe games for elementary students and can utilize them in your classes! Do you incorporate other flag activities or games? Share your ideas or modifications in the comments section below.

A passionate presenter and teacher, Mike Graham has taught Physical Education since 1996 and currently works at Williamsburg Elementary School in Geneva, Illinois. In addition to teaching full time, he coaches wrestling and serves on the Advisory Board for Gopher Sport. Mike uses his experience & knowledge to further his professional State organization (IAHPERD) as a member of the Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment committee, the social media committee, the technology committee, a co-moderator of the bi-monthy #iahperdchat on Twitter, and he is the current President of the Northern District of IAHPERD. You can connect with Mike and find out more about his #PhysEd program on his website,, or connect with him directly on Twitter @pe4everykid or Voxer at mikegraham.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here