Grade level: 4-8
Equipment: Pinnies, 2 mats
Game Description: In the PE strategy game Yoshi, teams attempt to be the first to get all of their players on the opposite island. Similar strategy to that of Capture The Flag, this game requires some thinking, timing, and teamwork to get everyone over first without getting caught. It’s a tag-based game with different variables to consider. Very, very enjoyable game.

  1. Place exercise mats down on opposite ends of the gym.
  2. Create two teams, one on each half of the gym.
  3. Players will attempt to be the first team to get all of their players onto the mat on the opposite side.
  4. Players can get tagged when in the opposite teams half, so this is where they need to be careful! If tagged, players sit where tagged.
  5. Sitting players can be ‘saved’ by teammates who safely and successfully get to them without themselves getting tagged. When saved, both get a free walk back to their side.
  6. Players can leave the mat to save someone they see sitting, however, then must take the free walk back to their side.
  7. If the teacher yells, “YOSHI” then all players make a mad rush to the mat (even if they were sitting, they can get up and run to the mat).
  8. First team with all players on the mat wins. Start a new round!


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  1. What advice do you have when the students don’t try to tag the other team? Both teams just went straight for their islands. Thank you.

    • That can actually make for a fun, quick round. I often do that anyways (start the game, and just a few seconds later yell “Yoshi” and it’s a mad rush to the islands). Then start a new round!

    • I encourage them to think defensively, I mention how great of a job they are doing on the attack! But that there is more strategy and team roles in this.. we break it down…

  2. This is a very simple game. I tried it with my middle school PE classes and they thought it was the best thing we’ve played. They begged to play it again the next day. It is very fun for the kids and neat to watch them come up with strategies as a group.

  3. What happens if they do this every single round? my solution was maximum only 2-3 students run to the opposite mat per time, unless i say Yoshi, any suggestions?

  4. Are the players safe from being tagged when on their side of the field or once the whistle blows, it is a free-for-all and nowhere are they safe from being tagged (except the island of course.) Thanks!

  5. What should you do if four of the players stand at the corners of their mat so that no one
    can get to the mat…..? Just call “Yoshi”?

    • Haha yeah that could work. Or you should create a ‘no-guard’ rule where students have to be at least 10 feet from their mat (using cones or lines works great for a barrier). We call it no “puppy-guarding”.

  6. Looks like a great game and I’m going to play this with my 6th graders this morning. When a person on the mat decides to go and save a teammate who has been tagged and takes them back to their side, does the person get to automatically go back to the mat or do they have to start over?

  7. We have played this game for years with grades 1-5 and they all love it. But we have girls on one side and boys on the other so we don’t have to use pinnies. It’s the only game we ever play where it’s boys versus girls so I think that is one of the reasons they like it.
    Any way you can think of to tweek/modify it just to make it a little different. We often add twists to our games after we’ve played them for a couple of days, just to change things up.

  8. How many taggers do you have?

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