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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Play Flapping Fish

Race your team's paper fish in a relay and see who comes out the winner!

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You’ll need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Planning this game

  • Create paper fish, by drawing outlines onto scrap paper and cutting them out.
  • You could print out images of fish and use those, or encourage players to draw their own fish.
  • Make sure your meeting place is clear of obstacles and trip hazards – remember that teams might not move in a neat, straight, line!

Making the fish

  1. Everyone should split into small teams and give each team a paper fish and a newspaper
  2. Each team should decorate their fish with coloured pens and pencils. They could give the fish or their team a name, too.

How to play

  1. The first person in each team should flap the newspaper to create some wind. They should try to make sure the breeze catches the paper fish.
  2. They need to flap the piece of paper and move the fish to the other end of the meeting place.
  3. When the first person in each team reaches the other end of the meeting place, they should turn around and flap their newspaper again to take the fish back to the rest of their team.
  4. The fish should have travelled from one side to the other and back again, using only the wind created from the newspaper.
  5. When the first person in each team gets back to their team, the second person should use the newspaper to move the fish to the other side of the room and back again. 
  6. Teams should keep playing, taking it in turns as each person needs to move the fish to the other end of the meeting place and back again.

Play the game 

  1. The teams should line up along one end of the meeting place, and they should be evenly spaced.
  2. When ready to play, the person leading the game should count down from three, then call out ‘Go!’
  3. The first team to have all of their players flap the fish to the other end of the meeting place and back is the winner.


This game was a chance for everyone to be active – people needed both will power and arm power to win!

Everyone should get back into their teams and chat about how they moved the newspaper. Did they flap it vertically (up and down), horizontally (from side to side), or a mix of both? Would anyone move differently if they played the game again?

To finish the game, people also needed to work in teams. How did people support their teammates when it was their turn to flap the fish?

Everyone in a team has different skills and talents. Different people are good at different things, including different active games.

Well done to everyone who worked together and encouraged their team to get to the finish line.


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


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

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. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

Change the size of the playing area to change the challenge. For example, you could make a ‘finish line’ halfway across the space.

You could let people carry their fish back to their team once they’ve flapped it to a finish line.

Why not hold a tournament where a few teams compete at once until you have an overall winner?

If anyone may have difficulty holding the newspaper or flapping the fish, they could design the fish for the team and help to start the game. 

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.