Play Glow Stick Tag

Light up an ordinary game of tag—and keep outdoor play going long after sunset—with glow stick necklaces! In this nighttime adventure, players "disappear" into the darkness, transforming into fast-moving, glowing blurs of color that float effortlessly in the air. It's as much fun to watch as it is to play.

What You'll Need

  • A flat, open outdoor space that's free of obstacles and good for running around
  • Flexible glow stick necklaces (1-2 per player, plus 6 more to define boundaries and "safety")
  • 6 empty, clear plastic water bottles or beverage bottles (labels removed, caps optional)
  • About 3 cups of sand, rice, dried beans, or gravel to weight the bottles
  • A flashlight (optional, to inspect your play space for tripping hazards)

Get Ready…

1. While it's still daylight, check your play space for obstacles or objects that might cause players to trip. (If it's already dark, that's okay. Use the flashlight to help scan the ground.) Remove any leftover playthings from earlier in the day and make sure the entire play space is clear.

2. Determine the boundaries of both your play space and the "safety" space. "Safety" is a small zone, at one end, that provides a central, friendly place where you can take a short rest or rethink your strategy during the game.

3. A few minutes before play, activate 6 glow sticks according to the package instructions. Add a small amount of sand, rice, dried beans, or gravel, plus 1 glow stick, to each of the plastic bottles.

4. Stand one bottle at each corner of your play space to mark "out of bounds." Place the other two bottles across from one another, along the boundary lines, to mark where safety begins.

Get Set…

1. Show players the glowing markers that indicate the play space boundaries and safety zone. (All players must stay in-bounds during the game.) Explain that as long as you have one foot firmly planted in the safety zone, you can't be tagged.

2. Just before you're ready to play, activate the remaining glow stick necklaces according to the package instructions. Give one to each player and have them put it on.

3. Gather everyone at safety and choose an "It" for the first round.


1. "It" yells, "Glow!" to start the game.

2. On "Glow!" everyone runs from safety and tried to avoid being tagged by "It."

3. When "It" tags another player by touching them, "It" yells, "You're tagged!" Play pauses for a moment while the tagged player takes off their necklace, hands it to "It" to put on, and moves to safety, where they'll stay until the end of the game.

4. "It" puts the necklace on and yells, "Glow!" again to restart the game. As the game goes on, "It" will be wearing more necklaces and will become easier to see.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until "It" has tagged every player.

6. The last player tagged becomes the new "It" for the next round. After collecting all the necklaces from the previous "It," the new "It" hands one necklace to each player to put on.

7. When everyone's wearing a necklace and gathered at safety, "It" yells, "Glow!" to start the next round.

8. Keep playing until everyone's had a turn to be "It."

Most glow stick necklaces will stay bright for several hours. If your players get tired before their necklaces grow dim, try storing the necklaces in the freezer. You may be able to extend the glow overnight.