This week I’m coming to you with a CLASSIC game that I play every year with my kids. Like most activities – I only play it once a year so kids love it when they walk in and see the game setup. I usually save it for a time when students are coming back from a break and kids would benefit from some team building and cooperative activities.
Aside from the fact that it’s an awesome activity, I think my students love it so much because I present the game in a gamified format by creating different levels for each increasingly difficult or complex extension of the game (I do this with most activities, for more examples check out Hula Hut Relays, Pass the Frog, or Fire and Ice.
Check out the video below for an example of me teaching the game to a 3rd grade class at my school:
If you don’t have time for the video check out the summary of the game below, or download the free lesson plan at the bottom of this post.
Cross The River
- I shoot for about 5-7 kids on each team, but you can modify and adjust for different situations. The setup below is for one class, for double classes I would simply double the equipment. To start the game, I give my K-2 students 1 more dot than the members of their team, with 3-5th they get the same number of dots as team members.
- No sliding or throwing the PE equipment
- If any part of your body touches the “water” your entire team must start over
Level 1: Get to the “Island”
- In this level students will learn how to get across the river with their team and attempt to make it to the island (gymnastics mats folded up)
Level 2: Cross the River
- In this level students will attempt to cross the ENTIRE river. If they make it to the island, it acts as a “Checkpoint” where they can “Save their game”. If they fall in after saving their game, they can start over at the island.
Level 3: You Lost a Rock
- In this level students once again, attempt to get their entire team to the island – However, you have some bad news for all the teams… The water has picked up and they’ve lost one of their rocks! They must use creativity and brainstorm a way to get to the island with one less rock.
Level 4: Cross the River Again
- Same as level 2, but with one less rock this time. Checkpoint stays the same.
Level 5: Double Up
- In this level I combine my 4 teams into 2 teams and have them attempt to make it to the island and then combine all of their equipment to go all the way across the river together.
That’s the basic outline, but there are tons of variations and different ways to present the game (different equipment, blindfolds, add obstacles to the river, create mines with bowling pins, change the scenario or add more restrictions).
I really love watching the kids play and there are TONS of teachable moments that will happen throughout the game that you can explore with the kids after each level.
I also use this game as one of my Field Day stations each year. The classroom teachers enjoy watching the kids use teamwork and attempt to be the first group to “cross the river”
If you want specifics and a more detailed list of ideas, strategies and variations – you can download my lesson plan for free below:
Got some cool variations of the game not included in the lesson plan? Leave them in the comments below.
Have Fun and Teach On!