English for parents – tag, tig, touch

Children all over the world come up with very similar games, hide and seek, grandma’s footsteps, and tag, or is it called tig? or touch? or it? or chase?

Tag is the game where one player is ‘it’ (decided by playing dip), they have run after the other players and try and touch them. The touched person then becomes ‘it’. There’s no equipment, teams or scores. There’s often a safe zone, where players can rest and not be touched/tagged. In the UK this is often called ‘den’. When I was a child ‘den’ would often be a tree, or sometimes a manhole cover in the playground.


A manhole cover can be a safe zone, or den, when playing touch

Often the chosen den becomes the name of the game. So if someone suggests playing ‘wood touch’ you know the den is trees or anything wooden. We played ‘off-ground touch’ – safe when you’re not touching the ground, and ‘green touch’ – safe when you’re touching something painted green.

I call this game touch, but tag and tig seem to be more common, but there’s also tap, taggy, tick, and chase. This website shows where some names are used in the UK but it can vary from town to town and even family to family.

What did you call tag? What were your dens? Let me know below



Published by Abbie

English teacher, coach and writer. Helping English learners and teachers get more confident in their skills.

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