Marco Polo On Land

An active game for junior youth and large groups

How To Play Marco Polo On Land

Materials Needed

* A long Rope
* Blind fold (sleeping mask, painted goggles etc)

This is the same concept as the water version only with rule variations to make it work well on land.


1. We use a rope to identify the boundary of the field. I think this is needed because you don't want kids walking into walls or chairs. That could hurt. It also keeps the kids who are out of the game out of the playing area. The size depends on the number of kids. You dont want it too large. 4m x 6m would be fine.

2. Tie the two ends of the rope together. Have four (or three) people (or chairs) hold the corners at waist height so you have a playing area inside.

3. Chose a person to be 'it' and have them put the mask on.


1. The people who are not IT have to find a place to 'hide' inside the playing area. Once they find their spot they cannot move from it.

2. They can however pivot on their right foot only.

3. The person who is IT (the one with the blindfold) needs to touch the others to catch them.

4. The leader (not IT) can call 'Marco' at any time. All those kids who are not IT must immediately answer 'Polo'. This gives IT a better chance to find them.

5. When the child says 'Polo' she can take one and only one step from her current position. This gives her a chance to escape.

6. When a child is caught they have to go outside the rope.

7. Any kids who go outside the rope are out and cannot return until the game is over. Some kids will pivot out under the rope to avoice being caught.

8. The last person caught gets to be IT next round.


* This has proven to be the most popular game we have played with the kids (age 5-10) recently.
* You dont want IT calling 'Marco'. They call it continually which isnt good for the game.
* Recuce the size of the playing area for a fewer number of kids.
* Do a count down at the end if IT is taking too long.
* Don't let IT run. They can trip over other kids who are 'hiding' and that can be painful.
* Keep the rope boundary away from walls and corners. You definitely dont want any kids walking into corners of walls.
* Try and stop the kids who are out from answering 'Polo'. It makes it hard for IT to know who is in and who is out.
* Watch that kids dont move their pivot foot. They are out if they do.
* A game normally takes about 5 mins.
* A prize for those who dont get caught is always popular.



Added by
Andrew Rogers
on 29 September 2011


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Yea, on a couple of occasions. It happens rarely because kids are usually trying to pivot away from IT which means they get down low and move away from searching hands.

You could reduce the possibility a bit and make it more interesting by putting the giant fingers you can get at sports matches on IT's hands. Although he wouldn't be able to feel as easily if he touched someone you would probably be able to see it easy enough.

It's a fun game. I painted the inside of some $2 swimming goggles with black nail polish to ensure that the kids couldn't cheat. But a sleeping mask works pretty well to.

Posted by Andrew 12 years ago

Fantastic adaption of a swimming pool game into a land game. Love your thinking! Keen to try this out!

Have you ever had an issues with people getting touched/caught in inappropriate places? If the IT person has their eyes closed and they end up accidentally touching someone else in an inappropriate place, would that cause embarrassment for both the IT person and the tagged person?

Posted by Shorty 12 years ago
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