‘Ready, steady,… steal the bacon!’
When kids hear this, everything breaks loose. ‘Steal the bacon’ is one of their favorite games, so feel free to use it whenever you have the chance! Other great options would be ‘Toilet tag’ or ‘Run, rabbit, run’. All these activities are meant to run off their energy.
But don’t take us the wrong way! This is not only a great game for youth and teens but also a fun activity for adults as well.
You might have heard of the ‘Steal the bacon’ game under different names:
- ‘Steal the handkerchief’
- ‘Steal the flingsock’
That is because the stolen item can be whatever you want. But enough chatter. Let’s see what this game is really about.
Materials and equipment
For ‘Steal the bacon’ you need nothing more than an object that can be grabbed. It can be a piece of tape, a bottle, a bag, a shoe – pretty much whatever you have at hand. Place the object in the center of the playing area, and assign each team one goal line at either end of the playing area.
- This is a great outdoor activity, especially if there are more than 12 players involved because it can get a bit too noisy. A large field or a sports ground would fit this game best.
- However, the ‘Steal the bacon’ game can be played indoors as well. Just make sure to organize your teams and designate clear boundary lines.
Skills and abilities
To master this game, you will be needing a few skills:
- Listening skills
- Focus – to recognize your number
- Team building – cheering on your team
- Spatial awareness
- Locomotor skills, such as running, dodging, fleeing, and balancing
- Competitive spirit
Players and purposes
- The ‘Steal the bacon’ game is designed for medium groups of people; that is minimum 10, maximum 19 players.
- Since this is a classic tag game, you will need 2 equal teams. If the teams are uneven, name the remaining player as the leader.
- Have the leader assign each player from team no. 1 a number, in sequence, starting from 1. The same thing must happen for team no. 2 as well. *Important: Each player should have the same number with a player on the opposing team.
- Ask everyone to remember their numbers.
- Place the teams in 2 parallel lines, facing each other. Put the ‘bacon’ in their midst.
*Note: Ideally, the teams should be approximately 20 feet from each other, but that depends on how large your playing area is.
- The purpose is to steal the ‘bacon’ (the object from the playing area) without getting tagged and run it across your team’s goal line.
‘Steal the bacon’ game: Rules
- Once everyone is in their place, the leader calls out a number. The players who were assigned that number start running to get the ‘bacon’.
- The player who grabs it first must run back to their team’s goal line, without being tagged. The one who doesn’t get the ‘bacon’ tries to tag the other player before they run back to their spot.
- As soon as a player touches the object, the other player has the opportunity to tag him/her.
- If a player brings the object back to their side untouched, he/she gets the point for the entire team. The opposite team gets the point if a player grabs the object and is tagged.
- Once someone is tagged or gets across their goal line, the round is over. Everyone goes back to their boundary line with their teams, waiting for the leader to call out a new number.
- The first team to reach 15 points is declared the winner.
‘Steal the bacon’… with a (few) twist(s)!
The great thing about ‘Steal the bacon’ is that you can add a lot of variations to it. Here are some examples:
- Instead of asking the players to get the ‘bacon’ by running, change it up. Make them crawl or skip until they reach the object placed in the middle of the playing area.
- You can call random numbers, but you can also say ‘all odd numbers’ or ‘all even numbers’.
- You can make it more difficult by using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to call out numbers. Eg. If you call ‘10’, the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 must try ‘stealing the bacon’.
- You can make it more educational. Instead of directly calling the players’ call sign, you state a history, science, mathematics, or any other educational question. The players have to solve the question and deduce which answer corresponds to their call sign.
- You can call more than 1 number at a time and ask the players to pass the bacon once before they can score.
- You can turn the rule of the taggers winning a point for their team if they touch an opponent, into neither of the teams earning that point.
- Other variations of the ‘Steal the bacon’ game for teens and adults include versions where items such as fish, watermelons, or tires are used as the ‘bacon’.
- There is also a full-contact version of this game. It is usually played in team buildings or summer camps. Here, the player carrying the object is not simply tagged by the opponent but must be physically kept from crossing back over his team’s line.
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