Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag

The goal of this game is to capture the opposing team's flag and carry it back to home territory.


  1. Before the party, mark a playing area in the grass that's at least 50' by 50', and preferably larger.
  2. Designate a boundary line across the center of the field, as well as two "prisons" (e.g. trashcans, trees, etc.) on either end of the field.
  3. Find two rags or other items to use as the flags, and place them in the center of the field.

How to Play:
  1. Divide the children into two equal teams, and give each team a name, such as the "Sharks" and the "Minnows." Instruct the teams to stand close together on either side of the boundary line.
  2. Before the real game starts, someone from each side picks up their team's flag. They have three minutes to place it anywhere on their side that's within 100 steps of the central starting point. Each team's flag should be at least partially visible (i.e. no hiding them in holes, under piles of leaves, etc.).
  3. At the end of the placement period, an adult signals the official start of the game. Some of the players from each team have to try to cross into enemy territory, capture the flag, and carry it back across the boundary line and into home territory-all without being caught by the enemy. At the same time, other players can hang back to protect their team's flag. These "guards" must stay at least 25 steps away from their team's flag unless an enemy crosses into this area.
  4. Any player found in enemy territory can be captured and imprisoned if an enemy guard grabs them and holds on long enough to yell, "Caught, caught, caught!" The guard must then escort the captured player to the designated "prison" area.
  5. As long as they are touching the prison with a hand or foot, captured players may be rescued from prison by any teammate who makes it to the prison without getting caught by the enemy. Rescuers can only help one captured teammate at a time. Once a rescuer has successfully tagged an imprisoned teammate, both players can safely walk back to home territory without risk of getting tagged by the enemy.
  6. If a player successfully captures the enemy's flag, he or she must carry it back into home territory. If this player is captured by the enemy before making it back across the boundary line, the flag must be carried back to its original position. Play continues until either one side successfully captures the enemy's flag or the preset time limit runs out.
  7. The team that captures the flag and successfully carries it back to home territory wins. Or, if neither side captures the flag within the set time, the team with the most prisoners wins.

An Alternate Idea:

Allow each team to hide their flag somewhere out of sight, but within their side's boundaries. One player from each team is escorted by the enemy to their flag's location. These scouts must then report back to their teams with details about the location of the enemy's flag so that they'll be able to find it when the game begins.

This version is more fun in the woods or inside the house (especially if it's a rainy day) as these areas allow for more hiding places and a more exciting game. To make things even more interesting, you can divide the children into three teams rather than just two.

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