Let's Play British Bulldogs!

Play a wonderful, easy-to-set up, outdoor PE game that causes kids to get a daily dose of exercise!

By Greg Harrison


Students running outside

This is the second in my series of articles on PE games that I play with my elementary school students. The first article describes the Frisbee Game. If you like to play Frisbee, please check out this article. The next game I'd like to introduce is the game of British Bulldogs. This game is always a favorite for the kids, and it's really easy to set up and play. Basically, it's a game of tag - with a twist!

How to Set Up British Bulldogs

  1. Get a bunch of small orange cones and use them to delineate the field of play. The field of play is like a football field; it has two sidelines and two goal lines. Place six cones (spaced out equally) along each sideline. The last cone on each side shows the location of the goal line. If you're playing on a grassy field, it helps to have two long pieces of rope that serve as the goal lines. They stretch across the field of play from cone to cone. If you're playing on the blacktop, you may be able to use the painted lines on the blacktop as your goal lines. The field is about fifty yards long and twenty-five yards wide.
  2. Have the entire class line up along one of the goal lines. It doesn't matter which one.
  3. Choose two Bulldogs. They are the designated taggers, and they stand at the midpoint of the field of play as each round begins.
  4. Get yourself an old-fashioned megaphone. It really helps!

How to Play British Bulldogs

Face the students and call out, "Run!" Their goal is to make it all the way across the opposite goal line without being tagged, and without running out of bounds (which means going outside of the sidelines, which are marked by the cones). If a player is tagged, he has to freeze in the place where he was tagged. If someone runs out of bounds, he must freeze in the spot along the sideline where he strayed out of bounds. All of the other runners who made it across the opposite goal line get to stay in the game for another round. They then line up along the goal line they just crossed in preparation for another round.

For the next round, everyone who was tagged in the previous round, is still standing (frozen) where they were tagged. They each now become a Tagger. The only catch is, they aren't allowed to take more than one step in either direction from where they are standing when they are attempting to tag a runner. It's kind of like the basketball rule of traveling; players must keep one pivot foot down. The only people who can run all over the field in an attempt to tag the runners are the original two Bulldogs. Have the remaining students run again. With each round, it gets more and more difficult to make it to the other goal line without being tagged. In each round, players who are tagged must freeze, and they become taggers for the next round.

It's really fun to get creative with your instructions regarding who gets to run. You can give instructions like:

  • Everybody run!
  • All the boys run!
  • All the girls run!
  • People wearing red run!
  • People wearing shorts run!
  • People with blonde hair run!

The game continues on until everyone has been tagged, or until there are one or two winners; those who have managed to avoid all of the Taggers and the Bulldogs while making their way from goal line to goal line. When beginning a new game, choose two new Bulldogs. This fun and simple game provides great exercise, and it is really fun to see how excited the kids get when it is their turn to run. Here are some other PE games I hope you will consider trying.

How to Implement More PE Games:

Balls & Hoops: Pass-It-Back Relay Races

Here is an easy-to-lead outdoor game for Pre-K and Kindergarten pupils. Not only are they moving their bodies and having fun, but they also develop teamwork and utilize creative thinking. They engage in a series of relay races, and are asked to invent their own relay race games which can be used during a future outdoor play time.

Dr. Seuss Comes to the Gym 

Here is a wonderful PE lesson plan designed for K-2 children that combines literature and physical activity. This plan is meant to be carried out in a gymnasium or out on the blacktop. Each station has a theme from the Dr. Seuss books, and an activity that matches up with that theme. For example, Station four is the "Hop on Pop" Station. Participants must bounce on a mini trampoline for a pre-determined amount of time. A fun, cross-curricular PE lesson!