How to play this team building game One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday last week, this week's game, named after his book, promotes team building. The Game of the Week is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Group Size:  Large group (10 or more)

Age Group:  Grades 1+
Length of Activity:  10 minutes or more
Developmental Goal:  Problem-solving, leadership, cooperation, teamwork, non-verbal communication, verbal communication, conflict resolution, eye-hand coordination, strategic thinking, planning, creative thinking, listening to directions

Before You Start: 

  • Players line up on a starting line.
  • An object (such as a bean bag or rubber chicken) is placed a distance in front of the starting line.
  • Explain that the object is an egg and as leader (parent fish), you are in charge of protecting that egg.
  • Explain the object of the game: to get the egg from the leader and back across the starting line as a team.
  • Tell players that while you're back is turned and you are saying "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish," they may move, but once you finish and turn around them must stop. Practice this with the players.
  • Check that everyone understands the rules.

Set Up: 

A visible starting line marked by cones, paint or surface differences. A rubber chicken, stuffed animal, cone or other small, throw-able object.

How To Play: 

  • The leader stands behind the object facing the players.
  • The leader turns around with the players behind them and loudly says, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”
  • The players may only move while the leader is turned the other way and is speaking the phrase.
  • When the leader finishes “blue fish”, s/he turns around and all playerss must freeze.
  • If anyone is moving after “blue fish,” the whole group goes back to the starting line.
  • If no players are caught moving, the leader turns around again and loudly says, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and the players get to move from their current spot.
  • Once players get close enough to take the object from behind the leader, the players need to hide it behind their backs so the leader does not know which player has the object.
  • Players still may only move during the phrase, but once the object is taken, the player gets to guess who has the object. (One guess per roughly 8 players.)
  • If the leader guesses correctly, the object is returned and the players begin again at the starting line.
  • After incorrect guesses, the players continue moving from where they are during the phrase.
  • The object is for the players to get the object back to their starting line without the player guessing who has it.
  • Each freeze, a different player must have the object.


  • After each try have the team discuss their strategy and improve it.
  • Adjust how the playerss move: skipping, hopping, backwards, heel-to-to (to increase complexity).
  • Set a number of how many people must hold the object (to promote inclusion and community).
  • Increase the distance (to lengthen game and give more opportunities).
  • No throwing the object (to increase complexity).


Find more new and exciting games in our games library!


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…