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Name of Activity:

Winter " Shipwreck"

Purpose of Activity:

This game is designed to work on listening skills and following directions. Students also develop locomotor, non-locomotor and manipulative skills. The game is a modification of the traditional game “Shipwreck", altered to create a holiday-themed version.


Students should have a knowledge of the following directions, N, S, E, W, NW, NE, SE, and SW. Directional cues may also be posted on the walls of the gymnasium.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Music and CD player if holiday music is to be played during this activity.

Description of Idea

Like the game "Shipwreck", students listen to the verbal cue and perform the tasks accordingly. Prior to the start of the game, students will be shown how to perform each task. The commands "North Pole" and "South Pole" are used often, with the remaining commands interspersed between. All of the following commands/words/phrases are matched with a particular movement to be performed on cue. The teacher will start the game by calling out "North Pole" so students can run towards the wall, then "South Pole" so they run back again. To keep the game active, use the North Pole or South Pole commands after each sitting or lying task.

Verbal commands:
North Pole - Run towards the north wall.
South Pole - Run towards the south wall.
NE, SE, NW, SW, E, and W – Turn and stand facing any of these positions.
Christmas tree – Stand with feet straddled and hands overhead, meeting together to make the top of a Christmas tree.
Carolers – Three to four people join hands facing inwards, holding hands and singing, "tra-la-la, tra-la-la ..".
Sledding – Three to four people sit behind each other facing forward as if riding a sled. Legs in a straddle position.
Christmas Eve – Lie down and pretend to sleep.
Ice Skating – With hands behind your back, glide forward and diagonally, simulating ice skating.
Ornament – Sit in a tight ball on the floor and extend arms up to look like a hook.
Elves – Sit criss-crossed and pretend to hammer and assemble toys.
Wreath – Two people hold hands and make a circle, two arms overhead to form the top of the wreath, and two arms downward to form the bottom of the wreath.
Snowing – Use hands starting above your head and flutter your fingers down like falling snow.
Drummer Boy – Sit and pretend to drum on knees.
Snow Angel – Lie on your back and pretend to make snow angels.
Santa – Put your hands out in front of you and shake your round belly, saying "Ho, ho, ho".
Running Reindeer - Hands on the floor and perform mountain climbers.


Choose only a few commands for younger children. Provide visual cards and command at a slower pace.

Assessment Ideas:

Following the activity, discuss what actions or movements were fitness related, required teamwork, and which specific muscular areas were developed by the activity.

Teaching Suggestions:

Students need to move quickly towards others to form groups during the group tasks, so encourage them to grab hands of people closest to them, rather than seeking out their best friends each time. If there is an odd number of students in the class, the teacher can partner with a student during the "Wreath".

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

For a student in a wheelchair, a peer can push the chair while running to the North Pole and South Pole. During the other tasks, include students with disabilities by having them perform the skills from their wheelchair. For students with cognitive disabilities, use a student helper as a guide.

Submitted by Robin Goad who teaches at Arbor Springs Elementary in Newnan, GA. Additional authors for this idea were Created by 3rd - 5th Grade students at Arbor Springs. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 9/2/2009.
Viewed 59921 times since 12/15/2008.

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Winter " Shipwreck"

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