Port and Starboard

Perfect for an ocean, pirate, or summer theme

1. Select one person to be the captain. The captain stands in the center of the room.
2. All other players stand facing the captain.
3. Have the captain explain his commands and the relative actions that go with each command.
"Port" = run to the left side of playing area.
"Starboard" = run to the right side or playing area..
"Captain's Coming" = stand to attention and salute.
"Submarines" = lie on the floor.
"Climb the rigging" = pretend to climb a rope.
"Mess Deck" = sit cross-legged on the floor.

How to Play

1. Begin with a few practice rounds for players to build familiarity with the commands.
2. When ready to play, the captain shouts out a command.
3. The players do the actions associated with the commands.
4. Players that do the wrong action are out!
5. The last player still playing becomes the new captain!


If you would like to switch up the commands, here are a few to choose from:
“Attention on deck!” - the crew must salute and yell, “Aye, aye, Captain!” No one may move again until the captain shouts, “At ease!”
“Clear the deck!” - everyone must get their feet off the deck by standing on something other than the floor.
“Board the love boat!” - each crew member must find a partner and begin dancing. No partner? You're out, Sailor!
“Man the crow’s nest!” - crew members pair up piggyback-style. Anyone left without a partner is out.
“Abandon ship!” - each crew member must sit face-to-face with another and pretend to row a lifeboat.
“Hit the deck!” - the crew must immediately drop to their stomachs.
“Up periscope!” - crew members must lie on their backs, raise one leg straight up into the air, and twist their foot around as if scanning the horizon.
“Scrub the deck!” - the crew must drop to their knees and pretend to scrub the deck.


1. Keep this fun and flexible. Give kids the opportunity to catch on to the motions.
2. Have fun playing the captain character.

Activity Length
5 - 15 minutes
Either/or (can be played either way)
Use your noodle! (challenging; focus required)
Mess Factor
Clean and tidy
Noise Level
Total chaos
Number of Players
Prep Time
No prep time needed!
Space Needed
Large (gym, outdoor field, reception hall)
Team Division
Every man for himself (individual players)
All together now! (everyone works together)