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Captain’s Coming is a great team building activity and game to help people practice listening carefully to instructions. For everyone, this activity involves cooperation, movement, and usually laughing and lots of fun! For some people, this game will involve learning new vocabulary too.
For the groups that are meant to include a specific number of players e.g. Crows Nest! (3 players) if the group ends up with a number different than the one called, those players are out of the game e.g. If you find a Crows Nest with 2 or 4 people in it, the whole group is out. Any sailor who does something different from what the caller said is out of the game. If there are several players left and it seems like it will be too difficult to “trick” them, you can also declare multiple winners and end that round. For some of the commands, like “Jellyfish”, players may not prefer (or may not be able) to get down on the ground – come up with an alternative way of acting that command out (e.g. they can act like they are “floating” around the room, just like jellyfish “float” in the water). To make this a more co-operative game, you can just play for the fun with nobody being out.
Here is sample of the actions or commands that the Captain will call out...
* Captain's Coming!: Everyone stands at "attention" (in a salute), and they can’t move from this position until the caller says, "At Ease!" If they laugh or break from the attention, they are dismissed.
* To the ship!: Players run to the right.
* Sailor Overboard!: One person drops to one knee the other stands behind them, puts a hand on their shoulder. Both scan the ocean for the sailor overboard.
* Crows Nest!: Three players stand backs to each other and lock arms at the elbows to form the crows nest.
* Mess Table!: Four players squat in a circle like sitting at table and pretend to eat like they haven't eaten in days. Tell them to make really loud eating sounds like "YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!"* Walk the Plank!: Five people stand in a single file row hands on the shoulders of person in front of them
Several of these are similar commands with different group names or slight variations:
* Sailor Overboard: 2 players. One person gets down on one knee and the other puts a hand on their shoulder and pretends to search for someone.
* Bunk Beds: 2 players. One person lays back down on the ground and holds up their arms.
Second person puts their head by the other persons feet and uses their hands to support themselves. The first person grabs their legs and holds them up.
* Beached Whale: 1 player. Lays on the ground while acting like a beached whale and making weird sounds.
* 3 sailors rowing: 3 players. Get in a line and pretend to row a boat while singing "row row row your boat".
* Sailor overboard: players pair up and decide which one gets on their hands and knees and which one places a foot gently on the other’s back while acting like their using a spyglass to find the sailor in the water.
* Drop anchor: crew lies on their backs with legs up and acts like an anchor.
* Pirates: crew closes one eye, puts up a
hook finger, hobbles around like they have a pegleg and say “Aaargh!”* Row to Shore: crew gets in lines of 4; players act as if they are rowing to safety , while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
* Sharks: lie on stomach with feet up.
* Freeze: stop all actions when this is called. If a further command is given without saying ‘unfreeze’ anyone obeying it is out.
From beyondthechalkboard.org: "Captain’s Coming can easily be adapted to teach players vocabulary from other content areas. Instead of being on a ship, maybe players need to learn North, South, East and West. Add commands where they have to act out meteorological terms (e.g. the command “Cloud” might have them “floating” around the room; “Hail” might have them stomp their feet loudly on the ground, and “Storm’s A-Coming!” might have them hold their arms over their head like an umbrella, not able to move until the caller says “the storm has passed”). There are lots of variations you could try – be creative!
=== Debrief ===
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