Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Mikaela. Mikaela Wonders, “How old is the game Tag?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Mikaela!

What do you like to do at recess? Play soccer? Maybe basketball? Perhaps you prefer to swing or ride the merry-go-round. Or maybe you and a group of friends enjoy playing one of the simplest and oldest games of all time. What are we talking about? Tag, of course!

Tag is a popular playground game that's enjoyed by children all around the world. Depending upon where it's being played, it goes by many different names other than tag, including tip, tick, tig, tiggy, dobby, it, and chasey, to name just a few!

If you've ever played tag, you know the basics. One or more players chase the other players, trying to tag them by touching them with their fingers. When a player is tagged, he or she becomes “it" and begins to chase the other players to tag someone else.

One of the great things about tag is that it is so easy to play. It doesn't require teams. There's no equipment to worry about. You don't have to keep score. All you need are a few players and enough energy to run around!

Of course, simple games can be made much more complicated by adding special rules. There are many variations of tag played around the world. For example, some games of tag feature a place — called a base — where a player can be safe from being tagged. Base can be a certain spot, or it can also be any time a player is touching a certain type of item, such as wood, iron, or stone.

Some tag players choose to play by certain rules, such as no tag-backs. This means that, if you're tagged, you can't immediately tag the person who just tagged you. Instead, you have to tag someone else. The game can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Just make sure everyone agrees to and understands any special rules you use.

Some forms of tag are even popular with teens and adults. For example, since 1984, many people have learned to love the sport of laser tag. In laser tag, players score points by tagging targets with targeting devices that emit infrared waves. These devices often look like ray guns from science fiction movies.

Laser tag developed from a system the United States Army created for combat training. Today, laser tag is played outdoors, as well as in indoor arenas that feature all sorts of interesting places to hide and explore.

Since laser tag doesn't use any sort of physical projectiles, it's less painful and physically demanding than another popular modern form of tag: paintball. Paintball players use devices — called paintball markers — to propel small capsules known as paintballs at other players.

Paintballs are made of a gelatin shell that surrounds a water-soluble dye inside. When it hits another player, it bursts open and marks them, so it's easy to tell when a player has been tagged. The first paintball markers were pistols that ranchers used to mark trees and livestock.

Paintball has become very popular in both outdoor and indoor locations. It does require special equipment, including special safety equipment. Getting hit by a paintball can certainly sting, so make sure you're up for the challenge before playing paintball!

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will have you saying “Right!” or “Left!”