Ships and Sailors is game where one player gives commands and the others must follow them. A little like Simon Says or Chicken on a Hut or Jackrabbit, except with a nautical theme.
This is a fun game for Vacation Bible School, camp, or youth group. It works for a large group and can be played indoors or outside. It requires some memory and listening skills, so it works best for middle school and older.
Start with a few commands and then throw more in the mix as the sailors learn them. You might find it helpful to have a printed list of the commands.
Some of the commands require the sailors to get in a group, forcing some people to be out. So this game moves along pretty quickly.
Ships and Sailors Game
none (woot woot!)
- Choose one player to be the captain. Everyone else is a sailor.
- The captain calls out a command and all of the sailors must do it as the captain counts to 3 to 5 seconds (or even more for younger players) and then says “Halt!”
- Any player who has not completed the action when the captain says halt is out.
- Play continues until only one player or one small group remains.
Single person commands
- Captain’s coming: Stand up straight and salute. Don’t move until the captain says “At ease”.
- Sail west: everyone runs to the right side of the playing area.
- Sail east: everyone runs to the left side of the playing area.
- Pirates: everyone move to the front of the playing area.
- No pirates: everyone move to the back of the playing area.
- Sea sick: Pretend to throw up.
- Hit the deck: everyone lies down on their stomach.
- Beached whale: Sailors lie down on their backs.
- Man overboard: Everyone finds a partner. One kneels down. The other stands behind, put’s a hand on their partner’s shoulder. Both put their hands above their eyes like they are scanning the ocean.
- Three hands rowing: Three sailors line up in a group and pretend to row.
- Four hands playing cards: Four sailors get in a group and pretend to play a card game.
- Five hands eating: Five sailors get in a circle and pretend to eat.
- Walk the plank: Six sailors line up, with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.