Play the Outdoor Game of Red Lion

Kids love to get outside and run around once warmer weather arrives.  Playing the outdoor game of Red Lion will allow for just that.  It is one of the best games to play with five or more players and offers lots of excitement for the stored up winter energy.  The backyard game will keep all players on alert and on the move!

To play Red Lion, an area is marked out which includes a ‘lion’s den’ on one side.  One player is chosen to be the Red Lion and will begin the game by standing in this ‘lion’s den’ space.   At the other end of the play area, a player, who is chosen to be ‘Chief’, will stand.  All other players will wander around in the area between these two marked off areas.

The Chief does not move from his spot.  He directs the movements of the game by calling out different instructions.  He begins the game by yelling, “Red Lion on the Loose.” 

With this announcement, all players in the center understand that the Red Lion may choose to run out of his den at any time.  Daring players venture near the den and tease the Red Lion by saying, “Red Lion, Red Lion, come out of your den!  Whoever you catch will be one of your men!”

The Red Lion runs out of his den when he feels he has the good chance of catching another player.  If the Red Lion tags a player, that player is then his prisoner and they both return to the lion’s den together.  Now there are two Red Lions who work together to capture more players.  After each capture, Lions return and wait for the Chief to yell out other instructions on how to move forth.

A Chief may choose to yell out the following:

“Goat Catcher”- hand in hand, Lions run out of their den in a long string and try to capture a player by slipping their clasped hands over a player of the center.

“Tight”- hand in hand, Lions run out of their den in a long string and try to capture a player by surrounding him in a circle.

“Doubles”- Lions pair up from the den and go forth by ‘Doubles’ trying to capture a player by tagging them.

Each time a new player is captured, Lions return to the den and the Chief player chooses to yell out whatever instruction he wants at any time during the game.

The winner of the game is the last person to be caught.  This player is then the Red Lion for the next game.  The first player to have been caught is the Chief.

Getting outside and playing a game is always a great idea.  However, after a long cold winter, kids are especially ready and love it even more.  So, as soon as warm weather arrives, plan on playing the energizing game of Red Lion!


Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

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