Fun Group Games for Kids: How to Play Please, Mr Crocodile

Please, Mr Crocodile is a fabulous game for all different sized groups, from smaller, family groups to class groups of kindergarten or early elementary children. It makes a fun warm up game for physical education lessons or used as an active brain break for class groups.

Games for Kids: How to Play Please, Mr Crocodile

How to Play Please Mr Crocodile

Number of players: 5+

Recommended Age: 4 – 104 years

Equipment needed: None

To play:

All of the players (except one who is chosen as ‘Mr Crocodile’) stand side by side at one side of the yard or room, facing the other side. Mr Crocodile stands in the middle of the yard or room.

The players chant, “Please Mr Crocodile may we cross the river? If not, why not, what’s your favourite colour?”

Mr Crocodile calls out one colour name and any of the players wearing that colour are safe to cross past Mr Crocodile to the other side of the yard/room. For example, if Mr Crocodile calls, “Blue,” anyone wearing blue is safe to cross.

Once the safe players are across to the other side of the space, the players not wearing the selected colour must try to run across to the other side of the yard/room without being caught by Mr Crocodile.

The player that is caught becomes the next Mr Crocodile and the game starts again.

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  1. Hi,
    Great game! This reminds me of a Dutch game/song we always played and which I used a lot as a kindergarten teacher. It’s called: ‘Schipper mag ik overvaren’. Here the english version and the ‘how-to-play’:

    Song: (or you can say it…)
    Skipper, can I cross the river, yes or no?
    Do I have to pay you money, yes or no?

    Skipper, can I cross the river, yes or no?
    Do I have to pay you money, yes or no?

    For music:

    All children stand on one side of the schoolyard, one child is in the middle (the ‘skipper’). The children sing the song, the child in the middle answers with: Yes or No.

    If the ‘skipper’ says ‘No’, all children run to the other side of the schoolyard.
    If the skipper says ‘Yes’, the children ask: ‘How?’. The skipper chooses a way to cross over, for example skipping, hopping, etc. The skipper itself also have to move in that way and tries to catch another child. If he catches one, that one has to be the skipper as the game repeats.

    Have fun!

  2. Thank you for sharing this, we have similar games here (Canada) but I really like the color aspect of this one 🙂

  3. Thank you for this, I had forgotten this game and spun me back to my hometown waiting for the bus and playing this on the shop verandas. We always sang Crocodile Crocodile can we cross the golden river. But everything else was the same.

  4. Would love to get updates!

  5. Would love updates!

    We played a version of this in Manchester, UK, only we called out “Farmer, Farmer, may we cross your golden fields to see your naked daughter!” (Can’t believe that’s what we said, aged 5, but we did!). The ‘farmer’ then replied with his/her back to us: “Only if you’re wearing (colour)”, and from there, the game was just as you described.

    No-one got naked!

  6. Tracey Anne Nolan says:

    Thanks for sharing as my theme this month is colours.I forgot this game that i also played growing up.We have been playing what time is it mr wolf which goes along with the same rules apply as to your game.Each time the children ask Mr wolf what time is it they all count the correct step together until they they nearly reach mr wolf.The last time the children al ask mr wolf what time is it ,the wolf replies it is dinner time and chases all the children to catch one ,who in turn becomes the wolf.It has proven to be a great listening game while using their holistic development when playing.

  7. Tracey Anne Nolan says:

    Thank you for sharing your ideas.I love this site and check in every day for new ideas.

  8. We played it with the colors etc, but used a rhyme with ‘Red Rover, Cross over’ in it, also the name of the game.

  9. Played this at daycare and the kids loved it. As I didn’t want the kids to be running inside I added a second verse of “if not why not how do I get across” the crocodile had to choose an action of jumping, hopping, crawling etc then the crocodile had to choose the new crocodile.

    1. Penny Dolan says:

      That’s a great idea, Megan. Thanks. I’m working out how to play this with much younger children.

  10. Leila - Mud Mud Marvellous Mud says:

    I love this! Reminded me of ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf?’ Thanks so much for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party 🙂

  11. We have played the exact same game except that we call it Man from Mars. Man from mars, Man from Mars, take me to the stars. Only if you are wearing …..

  12. In London in 1980s our version went – Please Mr Crocodile may we cross the water, to see your lovely daughter? We also played the ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf? ‘

  13. We also played Grandmothers footsteps that also went by the name of Hot Chocolate for some reason.

  14. Dale Mangiru says:

    Me friends and i used to love

  15. Played this as a kid, and now am playing it with my kids!

    We always had the rhyme as:

    Crocodile, crocodile, may we cross the river?
    If not, why not? What colour do you choose?
    Close your eyes and think!!

    😀 ahhh the memories

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