Protect the Pinnie

Activity Overview

Participants learn about and practise how to invade another group’s territory through a group tag game.

  • Primary (Ages 6-9)
  • Junior (Ages 10-12)


  • Gymnasium
  • Outdoors

Materials and Equipment

  • A pinnie or similar marker (e.g., flag, scarf, bandana) for each group


Inspect the activity area and eliminate potential hazards. Check that the activity surface provides safe footing and traction. Set boundaries for the activity a safe distance from walls, fences, and obstacles (e.g., trees, playground equipment). Pinnies must release easily when pulled.

Activity Information

Activity Set-up

  • Divide participants into small groups (e.g., three to four).
  • Each small group plays with another small group.
  • Groups form a single file line and hold onto the shoulders of the participant in front of them.
  • Participants can also form a single file line and all hold onto a skipping rope or pool noodle if they are not comfortable touching one another.
  • The last group member tucks a pinnie into the side of his or her waistband so that most of the pinnie is still visible.

Activity Instructions

  • To play, groups move around the space while the participant at the front of each line attempts to take the pinnie from the other group while maintaining possession of their own pinnie.
  • The game starts again if a pinnie is removed, if a group becomes unlinked, or if the pinnie has not been caught after a set period of time (e.g., 30 seconds). Before starting a new game, participants switch places within their group’s line.
  • The leader asks open-ended questions to help participants refine their movement strategies and tactical solutions during the activity. Examples include: When at the front of your group’s line, what strategy did you apply to be successful in retrieving another group’s pinnie? What do you and your group have to do when you are trying to prevent another group from taking your pinnie? Describe how communication is important when playing this game.
Protect the Pinnie


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:

  • Have groups consist of only two participants.
  • Use an implement such as a pool noodle to tag another group rather than removing the pinnie.
  • Have the last group member tuck more than one pinnie into his or her waistband.
  • Collect another pinnie from a designated space in the activity area when their group’s pinnie is taken.
  • Relink without beginning a new game again.

To increase the challenge, participants could:

  • Increase the number of participants on each team.
  • Change the type of locomotion used within the game.
  • Chase all groups in the activity area.

Pause for Learning

Throughout the activity, consider highlighting the following skills, concepts, and strategies for effectively invading another group’s space. 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 within the playing area in a group (e.g., staying connected and moving together with the group, while trying to avoid getting tagged by an opponent and/or trying to tag an opponent by taking their group’s pinnie)
  • Spatial awareness: knowing where and how to move in a territory game while moving together with a group of other participants

Movement Strategies

  • Tactical awareness: developing an understanding of how to move into another group’s territory by taking their pinnie, while preventing others from moving into your own territory
  • Decision making: learning how to make decisions as a group about what to do (e.g., communicating within the group about how to move while being connected to increase chances of taking another group’s pinnie)