How to Play Zoo Madness – A Tag Game For Kids

Tag is a game as old as time. We played it, our parents played it as children, and we hope our kids will enjoy the adrenaline rush of tag when it’s their time. Its simplicity is what makes it timeless, but also what can make it boring sometimes.

So, if you’re looking for a fun icebreaker game that requires a little more than just running around, why not try this animal tag game for kids! 

Features of the Zoo Madness Game

 ★  Game Name Zoo Madness
 ★  Group size any
 ★  Age any (5+)
 ★  Type active
 ★  Skill acting / running 
 ★  Place indoor (gym) and outdoor
 ★  Time up to 5 – 15 min
 ★  Preparation no
 ★  Materials any

Aim of the Game

The premise is this. Someone is a zookeeper and everyone else is split into 4 animal factions (For example, Cheetahs, Frogs, Horses, and Giraffes). It’s the zookeeper’s job to get all the animals back in their cages by tagging them.

Ideal Age and Group Sizes

This is the perfect game for children and adults starting from ages 5 or 6.

It is suitable for any group size; you might just have to adjust the number of factions. If there are fewer people playing, why not just have two or three types of animals. If you’re playing with a larger group, go ahead and add a few more animal factions and maybe two or three zookeepers.

Word of caution: the more people you play with, the more hectic and fun the zoo gets!

Preparations and Needed Materials

You don’t really need anything for this game except something to mark off the four “enclosures” for the four factions. This can be done with tape, cones, shoes, chalk, hula hoops, or anything you have lying around, to show the kids where they need to go when they have been tagged.

How to Play Zoo Madness Game

Let’s break this down! 

Set up boundaries of the play area.

Step 1: Someone is appointed the zookeeper. They will be the one doing all the tagging.

Step 2: Next, someone is appointed the monkey (we will get back to this later, but they will be the resident mischief maker).

Step 3: Everyone else will be divided into the animal factions. If you’re a cheetah, you’ll be running around at top speed. If you’re a horse, you’ll need to gallop out of the way. Frogs will be hopping about, and giraffes will skip. Every animal faction should have its own enclosure (cage). 

Step 4: It is the zookeeper’s job to control this mess by sending these animals back to their enclosures by tagging them. Here’s where it gets a little crazier.

Whoever was elected monkey has the job of breaking animals back out of their enclosure. Essentially, the monkey can un-tag people and set them back out into the wild, making the job a lot harder for the poor old zookeeper! However, once the monkey is tagged, that’s it for the other animals, he won’t be able to set them free anymore!

Another rule is that monkey cannot tag two animals from the same faction at the same time.

Alternative versions

Even though this is already an alternative version to tag, the theme is still fairly simple, which means you can add your own creative flair to this game. For example:

1) Change the factions

Instead of running cheetahs have crawling lizards, instead of skipping giraffes have one-legged hopping flamingos. You are only as limited as your imagination.

2) Change the setting

Bored of a zoo? Switch the location to a farm and use farm animals, or maybe a safari. The options are endless.