Take a trip to a tropical paradise with Turtles, Snakes, and Islands! Groups of all sizes can explore different locomotor skills, such as skipping, hopping, jumping, and balancing. 

Set up

Scatter a variety of equipment across a large playing area. Designate a 'safe zone', such as a tree, or a 'ship' marked out by a semi-circle of hurdles. Allocate each type of obstacle a name, such as;

  • Hula hoops = islands
  • Flat markers = rocks
  • Balancing beams/skipping ropes = sea snakes
  • Agility poles = palm trees
  • Ladder = 'walk the plank' / cross the bridge
  • Stepping stones = turtles
  • Cones = sharks/dolphins
How to play
Step 1:
  • Children start in the safe zone, and are told "It's time to explore!". Build the story - the children are explorers sailing the seven seas, and they decide to jump off the ship and explore the ocean! 
  • The educator calls out different locomotor skills, such as running, skipping, hopping, jumping, or galloping, for children to do as they 'explore' the area. Point out things you might see in the ocean - boats, fish, seaweed, pirates, etc.
Step 2:
  • The educator calls an instruction, for example, "Jump on 3 islands", "Skip to a yellow turtle", "Walk along a sea snake", or "Run between the palm trees, and then walk the plank!"
Step 3:
  • The educator can pause the 'exploration', and tell children to, for example, "Balance like a flamingo", or tell the children that "The pirates are coming!" and they need to run back to the safe zone or hide under a 'palm tree' while being chased by the educator. Any children that are caught by the 'pirate' must walk the plank!
Make it easier
  • Play in a small area
  • Choose only a few simple instructions to begin with
Make it harder
  • Play in a larger area and have the ship further away
  • Combine different forms of locomotion e.g., run around an island and hop over a snake
  • Add more difficult obstacles
Activity information
Age: Three year olds, Kindergarten / Pre-school, Foundation, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3
Participants: 1 +
Equipment: Cones, Ropes, Hoops, Hurdles (optional), Balance beams, Agility ladders, Agility poles, Flat markers
Duration: 10 minutes
Skill focus
Explore these skills for teaching tips
Skill teaching

Part way through the activity, have the children stand on an island and practice jumping off, onto, and over it. Remind children of the jumping teaching cues:

  1. Land like you are riding a motorbike – arms forward, ankles, knees, and hips bent, feet apart
  2. Start with your arms stretched behind you like a superhero
  3. Swing & Spring
  4. Reach for a star and bring it down again (for vertical jumps)
Activity summary
Physical literacy tips
  • Let children choose commands
  • Let children choose what type of locomotion to do e.g., run like a cheetah, fly like a butterfly
  • Build the story! Tie in treasure maps, or looking for treasure with the pirate storyline
  • Be creative with your choice of obstacles - use any equipment you have handy