1. Cooperative Games
  2. Icebreaker
  3. Indoor Game
  4. Readiness Games
  • 11+ Players

  • Grades 1-2

  • None

  • 5-10 Minutes

This is a great game for large groups. In this game, players practice their memory and listening skills and work together to form groups of different sizes and follow the leader’s commands. Try it as an icebreaker, movement break, or grouping exercise!


To increase children’s focus, listening skills, problem solving skills, and teamwork.

Before You Start

  • Identify the game boundaries.
  • Make sure everyone knows the commands you will be using. Start with a few commands and add more as the players are able to remember them.

Set Up

Have the players circle up in the middle of the playing area.

How to Play

  • The leader explains that they are the captain of a ship and that all of the players are the crew, who need to work together and follow the captain’s commands to get to their destination.
  • The Captain explains the different commands and the actions that go with them.
    • Roll call – participants return to the boundary, salute their Captain and say “Aye, aye, Captain!”
    • Swab the deck – participants move through the area miming ‘mopping the floor’ as they chant “swab the deck“.
    • Lighthouse – participants find a partner and connect with alternate hands/elbows rotating in a circle making the sound of a siren.
    • Person overboard! – participants group up in three: two people face each other and connect hands, creating a ‘boat’, while the third person stands in the middle of the ‘boat’ searching for a crewmate lost at sea.
    • Row to shore – groups of four form a single file line, miming paddling with an oar as row through the space singing “Row, row, row your boat
    • Lunch time – participants circle up in groups of five and mime enthusiastically devouring a meal
  • Since the above commands form groups of different sizes, there may be players who are left over once groups have formed. These players can stay in the game and become a Shark during that round of play.
    • Shark – walk around with hands together like a shark fin



  • Create and add new commands.
  • For younger players, pick two or three commands to focus on.
  • Try a different option for players who are left over after grouping, such as:
    • Anchor – sit on the floor with arms and legs raised
    • Seaweed – walk or stand while gently waving arms like a piece of seaweed