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Equipment: Hula hoops


This is a tremendously fun game that relies less on rules than most other games on this site.


Spread hula hoops around the gym floor. These are the Life Rafts. Define how many players can be in one Life Raft  at a time based on how many players and hula hoops you have (Ex: two players per Life Raft). Start with more Life Rafts than needed, then remove hula hoops as you play more rounds so that there are less available Life Rafts than players.


To start, you choose a Captain from the participants. The rest of the players form a line behind the Captain (together you form a ship). The Captain starts walking (or running) aimlessly around the gym with everybody following and you improvise something along the lines of:


"What a nice day. Blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Our Captain, (insert name here), dropped the hotdog that he/she was eating. He/she is reaching down to get it - it's just out of reach. Maybe if he/she can poke it with his/her toe... Oh, what's that!? It's an iceberg! Oh no! Everybody get to a life raft! Quick!" 


When the boat sinks, the players run to the Life Rafts (respecting the limit of players per Life Raft). Congratulate the players who survived, but the game is non-elimination, so there is no penalty for not finding a Life Raft. Then just choose a new Captain to lead everyone and start a new round (you can also remove a hula hoop).


The hook of the game and the real fun for the children is the story that you invent as they are "on the boat" and the suddenness of the need to run to safety. Don't be afraid to be silly with your story and express a lot of emotion! In fact, when I lead this game I play too, following behind the Captain as I say the story and also running to a Life Raft.


End the game while the participants are still having fun so that they will want to play it again.