Boat | Exciting Pirate Themed Drama Warm Up
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‘Boat’ is one of our most popular energisers with all ages. It’s safe to play while social distancing (with a small adjustment) and can be played while teaching virtually.

COVID-19 Update!
Please try to ensure your children remain two metres apart. We would skip lifeboats, port and starboard for the time-being.


  • Ask students to find a space in the room.
  • When the teacher calls commands, the students should complete the following actions:
  • Climb the rigging – mime climbing.
  • Scrub the deck – mime scrubbing the floor.
  • Captain’s coming – salute and shout ‘aye aye captain.’
  • Cannon balls – jump to the floor.
  • Port – run to the left of the room.
  • Starboard – run to the right of the room.
  • Sharks – create a fin on your head using your hands and walk around humming the theme from jaws.
  • Lifeboat – grab a partner.
  • Pirates – cover one eye and hop on one leg shouting ‘pieces of eight!’

Top tip: eliminate students performing the wrong action, who are last to reach port and starboard, or who don’t find a lifeboat partner to raise the stakes and the energy.

A Hidden use

When teaching LAMDA qualifications, I play this game in group classes to teach stage directions to grade 4 students. Instead of shouting port and starboard, I call ‘upstage left’, ‘centre stage’ etc etc. Students who get it wrong or are last to think of the correct space are eliminated. It really helps the students to remember these positions quickly and easily.

Do you know any more actions to add to our list?

Need help keeping your students socially distant? Try marking a space using the following:

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Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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