Dangerous River

If you have ever heard the riddle about the missionary and the cannibals trying to cross the river in a small boat you will have a good feel for how this game works.  If you haven’t heard the riddle, I’ve included it after this game.


You will need:
     2 Ropes, each about 20 - 30 ft. long.
     4 Play Scooters
     Masking Tape

Put  two parallel tape lines across the room about 15 to 20 ft. apart.  This is the river.

Divide the group of children into two teams.  Have each team form a line behind one of the tape lines (on the shore).  Both teams should be on the same shore.

After you explain the rules, give each team two scooters (boats) and one end of a rope.  Stretch the rope across the river with the kids holding one end and you or a helper holding the other.


Explain to the children that the area between the two tape lines is a dangerous river full of crocodiles, piranha fish, snapping turtles, viscous goldfish and so on.  Their job is to get their entire team across the river as quickly as possible without falling in the river. 
Each team has two boats (scooters) which can each hold one person.  Two kids from each team will each take a boat and pull themselves hand over hand across the river using the rope. 
Once safely across, one child will take the rope from you.  Holding the rope is now the children’s responsibility.  The other child will take both boats back across the river (using the rope again).
When the child bringing back both boats safely reaches the river bank he originated from he will give both boats to the next two children in line and go the the back of the line himself.
This process continues until all of the children have made it across the river.

If a child falls off their scooter into the river they have to go back to the shore they just left.  They can walk back to the shore, they don’t have to use the rope to go back and start over.

The children on the shore cannot enter the river unless they are on a boat.  And the loading and unloading of the boats should take place on the shore.

The last two children to come across the river will likely think that someone needs to hold their end of the rope.  But, since no one will need to come back across the river again, there is no need for anyone to hold it.

If a team drops one end of the rope into the river you can handle it in a couple of different ways.  You could simply pick up the rope and hand it back to them.  Or, for a more challenging game, the team would have to pull back the rope to the side that is still holding their end and then attempt to fling the dropped end back to the other side of the river.

Unless you have a really squishy floor don’t let the children stand up on the scooters.  They will probably want to but, those scooters will shoot out from under them very quickly.

If the teams are fairly evenly matched as far as river crossing abilities the team that can work together the best will win.  If a team does a lot of arguing about who gets to take the boats back across the river or some other thing they will probably lose.

That’s about it for Dangerous River.  I hope you enjoy it.

Now for the riddle:
Three cannibals and three missionaries must cross a river.  The only boat available can hold only two people.  The number of cannibals can never be greater than the number of missionaries on either side of the river.  How can all six get safely across the river?

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