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Don’t wake the pirate

You’ll have to sneak and tiptoe to get the pirate’s map. Will you succeed first time, or try, try again?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Scrap paper

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here

Safety checklist

Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include: 

  • Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • Remind everyone to sit at least two metres away from each other in the circle.
  • Use a new map each round, or put it inside a plastic wallet so that it’s easy to clean.

Play the game

  1. The person leading the game should choose one person to be the pirate. They should sit in the middle of the space. Everyone else should sit in a distanced circle around the pirate.
  2. The person leading the game should put a piece of paper behind the pirate. This is the pirates map. The pirate should close their eyes and pretend to go to sleep.
  1. The person leading the game should choose a player in the circle to get the map. They should point to a player without making any noise.
  2. The player who was chosen to get the map should silently get up, get the map, and sneak back to their place.
  3. Meanwhile, the pirate should listen out for any noise. If they think they hear the player moving to get their map, they should open their eyes.
  4. If the player is there, they should run away. They should run around the circle once and then sit down in their place. The pirate should chase them and try to catch them – they have to run around the circle once too.
  1. If the player gets the map without being caught, they’re the winner.
  2. Everyone should play again. They should keep playing, but they should swap the pirate every two or three turns (or whenever someone gets caught). Ideally, everyone should have a turn at trying to get the map.


This game needed everyone to move really carefully – it wasn’t just about being fast! How did people move carefully? People should try to describe how they moved in as much detail as possible. Moving so carefully can feel like hard work, and people probably had to focus a lot on what their bodies were doing. Did people find it difficult to keep concentrating on being quiet? What about the pirate – was it hard to listen?

This isn’t a game that everyone can win – either the pirate catches the player, or the player gets their map. Hopefully people kept going and encouraging each other, and didn’t give up after one turn. Did people change what they did to succeed? People may have found that some techniques, such as making noises to distract the pirate or running very fast, worked better than others.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.