Farmers Shepherding Sheep

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise moving around the playing area while tagging others and avoiding being tagged.

  • Junior (Ages 10-12)


  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • Pinnies for half of the participants
  • 10 pylons


Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides sufficient traction. Set boundaries for the activity a safe distance from walls and obstacles. Emphasize that a tag is a touch, not a push or a grab. Define areas of the body that can be touched (e.g., arms, back).

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide participants into two groups, sheep and farmers, and have one group wear pinnies.
  • Set up two lines of five pylons approximately five metres from each end of the playing area, one line of pylons to indicate the farmers’ barn and the other line to indicate the sheep pasture.
  • Have all farmers start in the barn and all sheep start in the pasture.

Activity Instructions

  • At the start of the game, participants leave the barn or pasture moving into the field and farmers try to tag sheep.
  • Sheep avoid being tagged by evading the farmers or moving from the field into the pasture. Once tagged, sheep are brought to the barn. Sheep can escape the barn by joining hands or linking arms to form a chain reaching across their field toward their pasture. The chain of sheep is freed when a free sheep touches the hand of the sheep at the end of the chain.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: As a sheep, what strategy can you apply to avoid getting tagged by the farmers? As a farmer, what strategy can you apply to tag the greatest number of sheep? How did your group of sheep or farmers work together to be successful in the game? What was one challenge your group had as the sheep or the farmers during the game? To address that challenge, what ideas do you have that you could try next time?
Farmers Shepherding Sheep


To maximize the challenge and the fun, participants could identify their own ways to increase or decrease the challenge.

To decrease the challenge, participants could:

  • Decrease the number of farmers/sheep.
  • Use an implement (e.g., pool noodle) to tag the sheep.
  • Increase the number of sheep allowed in the pasture.
  • Increase the size of the playing area.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Set a time limit for the game, and work as a group to catch the greatest number of sheep or have the greatest number of sheep free when the time runs out.
  • Decrease the size of the playing area.

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies for avoiding being tagged or trying to tag others. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and further learning opportunities may arise during the task.

Movement Skills and Concepts

  • Locomotion and relationship – travelling safely in the playing area (e.g., avoiding collisions with other participants) while trying to avoid getting tagged by an opponent and/or trying to tag an opponent
  • Spatial awareness – moving appropriately in different directions and pathways in order to be successful in the territorial game (e.g., moving into open space to avoid getting tagged; using speed to move toward other participants in order to tag one)
  • Effort awareness – adjusting speed of movement based on proximity to a tagger (e.g., moving faster as a tagger approaches or slower if a tagger is farther away)

Movement Strategies

  • Applying skills and strategies to avoid getting tagged or to tag other participants (e.g., working as a group to cover or defend the space and free group members or tag individuals from the other group)