Home Age - Older Children Cross the River
silhouette of children running

A variation to Boatman Boatman, reported by #Minimantaray that is being played at a primary school in Reading, Berkshire. Used by the teachers at Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) for warm-up before physical education (PE) lessons and also for fun.

Play is very similar to the game of Bulldogs, with two safe zones (these become the river banks) with an area between defined as the river in which players can be tagged and caught. Either use a premarked area or you can use cones, chalk, rope, etc to mark boundaries of the river. Everything else on either side of this central area is the river banks.

One or two players start as the catchers (‘crabs’, ‘sharks’ whatever name you want) with everybody else standing on one of the river banks. The person organising the game calls out to ‘cross the river’. Players then have to cross to the other river bank without being tagged and caught. However, those doing the tagging can only move in a sideways crab-like movement (ie move side to side but remain facing towards those crossing the river they cannot move forwards or backwards). Players who are caught join those in the river to help catch others as they try to cross to safety on the otherside.

A slight variation, the same as Boatman, Boatman is the teacher or person running the game calling out specific criteria to allow only certain people able to cross the river. Eg “Wearing white socks”, “Have a birthday in June”, “Like mathematics”, etc.

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