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Escape the jail

Get active and use teamwork and tactics to win in this socially distanced wide game.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Whistles
  • Something to mark lines (for example, chalk, masking tape, or rope)
  • Torch or phone

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here.

Safety checklist

Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity.  Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include: 

  • Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • Remind everyone to stay two metres apart at all times.
  • Ask everyone to bring their own torches. If you have to share equipment (for example, when the teams switch over), clean it thoroughly first. 
  • Make sure the jail’s big enough for all of the hiders to be inside and two metres apart. Include a boundary that people can run to.

Play jail escape

  1. The person leading the game should explain the boundaries of play and any signals (for example, that if they blow the whistle two times everyone should come out from their hiding places and meet back at the starting point).
  2. The person leading the game should mark out a jail. They should mark out cells inside the jail to make it easy for the hiders to stay two metres apart while in jail. They should mark a boundary around the edge of the jail, which people can run to while staying distanced from anyone inside the jail.
  1. Everyone should split into two even teams. One team are the hiders, the other are the jailors.
  2. Each jailor should get a torch and make sure it’s working.
  3. The jailors should close their eyes and count to 60. Meanwhile, the hiders should find a hiding place within the boundaries.
  4. Once the jailors have finished counting, they should set out to try to find the hiders. When a jailor thinks they’re about two metres away from a hider, they should turn on their torch and point the beam at the hider.
  5. If the hider thinks they’re going to be caught, they should run to another hiding place. The jailor should try to catch them with the beam of their torch, making sure they stay two metres apart.
  6. If a jailor catches a hider with their torch beam, the hider should go to jail.
  7. The hiders should try to free the people in jail by having at least one foot inside the jail boundary and saying ‘escape the jail’. If they succeed without being caught, everyone inside the jail is free to hide again.
  8. The game ends when all of the hiders have been caught and are in jail – or when time’s up.
  9. If there’s time, everyone should switch sides so the jailors have a turn at hiding and the hiders become the jailors.


This game was all about moving your body while having fun. Ask hiders to share some of the techniques they used to escape jailors. People might have crept lightly on their tiptoes, crawled, or turned sharply in their wheelchair. Moving in these different ways is a great way to develop agility. Take some time to share different ways of moving that are typically done in sport or exercise but which hiders could use to escape jailors. People could think about different yoga poses, dance techniques, or martial art stances that are intended to develop flexibility and posture.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.


Provide some light, so the environment isn’t completely dark. Everyone must be able to see others and move around the area safely.