It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.

Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)

A Wizard of Earthsea, 1968

One Step Forward!

Choice Card: One Step Forward!
younger children and up
3 minutes & up
Class Size:
Small group and up
Energy Level:
Active monster game

Introduction: This is one of a family of trigger tag games. In most forms of tag it is constantly on the move. With trigger tag it only gives chase when certain conditions have been met. For language teaching purposes the best kind of trigger is a word or phrase. This example is based on "How are you?" but can easily be adjusted for other questions.

Set Up: Create a safe area at the back of the room. All the players but one line up in the safe area. The last player becomes the monster and stands at the front of the room with the flashcards.

Procedure: The players chant a question, for example, "How are you?" The monster looks at the cards in turn and shouts out accordingly. The players take the number of steps indicated by the monster:

Scary Monster "Terrible! - Take three steps, forwards!"
"So-so! - Take two steps, forwards!"
"Fine! - Take One step, forwards!
"Great! - Safe! No steps!"
"Sleepy - take one step backwards!"


  1. The monster shuffles the cards. Any player who reaches and touches the monster goes back to the safe zone and starts again.
  2. Any player tagged by the monster becomes a monster too, play until there are more monsters than players, then start again. Hungry is the signal for the monster to chase the players back to the safe area. The game then begins again.
  3. Introduce other feelings and play with the number and kind of steps taken.

Notes: When introducing this game the teacher can take the role of the monster. Initially move slowly and give children plenty of time to escape (imagine something very heavy and three metres tall charging at you!). Once the idea of the safe zone is fully clear ask the children what kind of monster you should be. Use mime if necessary. Young children, especially, should be given control and the option of watching if they prefer (I think this should go for almost any game). Finally, think about the space, if necessary divide the children into groups (eg girls and boys) and take turns. Avoid having too many children running in a confined space. Be accident beware!

getfile: How Are You Cards?

PDF File A4, 3 pages, 1.09 MB