Captain’s Orders is a great group game for getting children moving and thinking. The faster the commands are called, the faster (and funnier!) the actions! It can be easily adapted by reducing or increasing the number and complexity of the game’s commands, which makes it work well with children of all ages (and even adults) – in fact, I remember playing it at youth group many, many years ago!
Number of players: 5+
Recommended Age: 5+ years (it is easy to adapt this game according to the age and abilities of the players)
Equipment needed: None
1. Select one player to be the captain. The captain stands at the front of the designated play space.
2. All other players line up single file, facing the captain.
3. Introduce the various commands and actions to be used in the game.
4. When ready, the captain calls out a command. The players do the action associated with the command.
5. Play continues with the captain calling and the ‘crew’ responding. The faster the actions are called and performed, the trickier (and funnier) the game becomes.
- To the island: run to the left boundary (can also be a command of ‘port’)
- Scrub the deck: crouch down and make a scrubbing motion with hands
- Hit the deck: lay on your stomach
- Clear the deck: everyone must have their feet off the floor
- Up periscope!: lie on back with one leg raised straight in the air. Twist the raised foot as if a scanning periscope
- Captain’s coming: stand to attention and salute
- Climb the rigging: pretend to climb a rope
- Abandon ship!: players must pair up, sit face to face and pretend to row a lifeboat
Love boat: players pair up and dance together
Crow’s nest: players pair up and the lightest player rides on their partner’s back (piggy back)
Tips and hints for:
- Keep the game fun and flexible to keep the kids moving, especially for young children.
- If you wish to add a competitive element to the game, players that perform the wrong action are out and the last player standing becomes the new captain. Be mindful that this version will mean that the eliminated players will not be actively involved in the game, which I personally think is a shame. Alternatively, those players who are eliminated could just stand out for a count of ten star jumps.
Check out the other games in the Games for Kids series;
Have you played a version of Captain’s Orders before? How is your version similar or different?