How to play Alligator Swamp, a fun team building game.

The Game of the Month is Ball Toss Race! All this month and next, we'll be focusing on fun team building games to develop cooperation. The Game of the Week is Alligator Swamp!

Group Size:  10+

Age Group:  Grades 3+
Length of Activity:   More than 10 minutes
Developmental Goal:  To develop communication, teamwork and leadership skills. 
Equipment:  Potato sacks, cardboard, carpet squares or anything that players can easily stand on and carry.

Before You Start: ​

  • Divide players into two teams. 
  • Each team receives an equal number of potato sacks, one less than the number of people in the group.
  • Brainstorm strategies and give examples if needed.
  • Make sure the teams have all their supplies and can repeat the rules.

Set Up: 

A clearly marked start and finish line.

How to Play: 

  • The object of the game is to get all team members from one side of town to the other without touching the lava. 
  • Players can only be in the lava zone if they are standing on a potato sack. 
  • If players step off the potato sack and into the lava, they must return back to the other side of town. 
  • If a potato sack is placed into the lava without being constantly touched by a player, it is lost and the whole team must return back to the other side of town. 
  • Each team should come up with a strategy on how to get all of their teammates across safely. 


  • Rename the game and tell a different story with the same goals, such as Toxic Waste Dump or Lava Game.
  • Everyone everyone work together to race against a clock (instead of placing on teams.) Inform them that their side of town is going to explode in ten minutes and they must have everyone across by that time.
  • Choose the amount of potato sacks based on the experience level of the group. Less potato sacks makes the game harder.
  • Have players figure out their plan before they start and then remain silent during the game.
  • Randomly blindfold or silence a few members of the group.

Love implementing Game of the Week? Playworks offers professional development programs that will teach your staff to use recess and playtime to improve health and support learning. Curious to learn more? Submit the Training Assessment form and a local Playworks representative will respond directly.


More Resources

woman and child smiling
woman and child smiling

August 17, 2022

How Adults Best Create Supportive Play Communities ›

With over 25 years of experience working with kids in schools, our staff and coaches have learned many things about how to set up the most positive, inviting, engaging play…

students in circle playing game with ball
students in circle playing game with ball

August 17, 2022

Helping kids to find new friends and feel included ›

Play is a natural, safe way that kids can interact with people who are different and rejoice by achieving shared goals. Interacting with people who are different at a young…

two girls playing rock paper scissors
two girls playing rock paper scissors

August 17, 2022

Empowering Kids to Create Their Own Happiness ›

By Playworks and UNICEF Kid Power® When kids’ minds and bodies get active, either while playing or participating in service learning, they experience physical and mental benefits (and support positive…