Cops and Robbers

Cops and Robbers game

Welcome, everyone! Today, we’re going to play a thrilling game called “Cops and Robbers.” It’s a classic chase game that pits two teams against each other – the vigilant Cops and the sneaky Robbers. The objective for the Robbers is to “steal” an object and get it back to their base without getting caught by the Cops. It’s a game full of strategy, speed, and lots of fun. Let’s get ready to test your stealth and agility!

Game sheet

  • Number of players: from 8 children
  • Ages: from 6 years old
  • Supplies: an object
  • Played outdoors
  • Play time: about 30 min

How to play the Cops and Robbers game


  • The Robbers’ goal is to steal a designated object placed at a certain point and bring it back to their base without being tagged by the Cops.
  • The Cops’ objective is to tag the Robbers to prevent them from getting the object back to their base.


  • Split the children into two teams: Cops and Robbers. Try to have an even number of players on each side for balance.

Playing Area:

  • Designate a clear area as the playing field, with distinct boundaries. Set up a “jail” area for captured Robbers.

The Object:

  • Place an object (like a ball, a cone, or a toy) at a specific spot in the area to act as the item the Robbers must “steal.”

Starting the Game:

  • The game begins with the Robbers starting at their base, which is a safe zone where they cannot be tagged. The Cops start at the jail area.

Rules for Cops:

  • Cops tag Robbers by gently touching them.
  • When a Robber is tagged, they must go to the jail area.
  • Tagged Robbers can be freed from jail by an untagged Robber touching the jail area.

Rules for Robbers:

  • Robbers must attempt to steal the object and bring it back to their base.
  • They must avoid being tagged by the Cops.
  • A Robber can only carry one object at a time.

Winning the Game:

  • If the Robbers are able to get the object back to their base without being tagged, they win.
  • The Cops win if they tag all the Robbers and prevent the object from being stolen within a set time limit.

Safety Rules:

  • No roughhousing or pushing.
  • Cops should only use a two-finger touch to tag Robbers.


  1. Time Challenges: Set a time limit for how long the Robbers have to steal the object to increase urgency.
  2. Multiple Objects: Place several objects in the playing area to make the game more complex.
  3. Rescue Missions: Allow a single, untagged Robber to free all the jailed Robbers at once by completing a challenge or getting to the jail without being tagged.
  4. Stealth Mode: Play during the evening and allow Robbers to hide and sneak around in the dark, using flashlights.
  5. Special Abilities: Give players special abilities, such as a one-time “invisibility cloak” which allows them to be immune from being tagged for a short period.
  6. Obstacle Course: Add obstacles that players have to navigate around, making the chase more challenging.

Enjoy your game of “Cops and Robbers,” and may the best team win! Remember, the key to success in this game is teamwork and strategy, so work together and think creatively!

The educational advantages of the Cops and Robbers game

  1. Physical Exercise: The game involves a lot of running, dodging, and gentle tagging, which encourages physical activity and helps to develop gross motor skills.
  2. Strategic Thinking: As children decide on the best way to steal the object or catch the robbers, they engage in strategic thinking and problem-solving.
  3. Teamwork and Cooperation: Children learn to work as a team, whether they are coordinating as cops to catch robbers or as robbers planning a heist.
  4. Social Skills: Interaction during the game promotes social development as children must communicate effectively with their teammates to win.
  5. Rule Following: Understanding and adhering to the rules of the game teaches children the importance of rules and the discipline to follow them.
  6. Fair Play: Encouraging fair play and gentle tagging helps instill a sense of sportsmanship and respect for others.
  7. Cognitive Development: The game challenges children’s cognitive abilities as they remember rules, strategize, and make quick decisions during play.
  8. Emotional Resilience: Dealing with being caught and put in “jail” can teach children how to handle mild adversity and frustration in a controlled, safe environment.
  9. Imagination and Role-Playing: Pretending to be cops or robbers allows children to use their imaginations, which is beneficial for creative thinking and emotional expression.
  10. Leadership Skills: As the game progresses, natural leaders often emerge who can guide their team, which is a great opportunity for developing leadership abilities.
  11. Spatial Awareness: Navigating the play area while chasing or evading promotes an awareness of space and distance.
  12. Conflict Resolution: Any disagreements during the game must be resolved, teaching children effective conflict resolution skills.

Explore our array of engaging games and effortlessly host the most memorable party for your kids with our printable game kits!

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