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Ice Floe Game


This Canadian game is named after the floating sheets of sea ice that are found in the far north. Some of the sheets of ice can be five or more miles across. Others can be quite small. Here's a chance for students to pretend they are floating through the Arctic Ocean on an ice floe with their friends.


  • newspaper
  • a large, open playing area


Nancy F. Castaldo is the author of many books packed with inspiring ideas for childhood discovery and learning. In addition to the three titles above, Nancy has written activity guides for teaching children ages 6 to 9 about the ocean, rainforests, deserts, and rivers. All of these titles are published by Chicago Review Press.

Click here to learn about these books and others by Nancy Castaldo.

The object of the game is for one team to advance across the playing area on the ice floe before the other team. To start, divide the players into two equal-sized teams.

Each team takes two sheets of newspaper. The newspaper is the team's ice floe.

Each team places one sheet of newspaper down in front of it and then everyone from the team stands on the ice floe.

The second sheet of newspaper should be given to the team. Each team places the second sheet of newspaper in front of it.

When the second sheet is on the floor, the whole team must move to that sheet. When they have all stepped onto the second ice floe, they should reach behind them and pick up the first newspaper.

Each team continues across the playing field by placing a sheet in front and then picking up the one behind. Newspapers tear easily, which adds more excitement to the game, as the players try to move carefully while still keeping up their speed.

The team that reaches the other side first while staying on its ice floe wins the game.


Would your students like to make their homes on an ice floe? If they were polar bears or walruses, they would. It may not seem like a paradise, but for a polar bear there are seals to eat; and for walruses, a banquet of sea snails, shrimp, fish, and sea urchins awaits. Since walruses and polar bears often inhabit the same ice floe, conflicts often occur. The walruses usually have the advantage in the water, but the bears do a bit better on the ice.


Education World's special Winter Lessons Archive


This activity is excerpted from Nancy Castaldo's Winter Day Play, which is published by Chicago Review Press. This lesson idea is one of more than 70 activities, crafts, and games from Winter Day Play that are sure to engage children as they discover and learn.

About the Author

A native of New York's Hudson Valley, Nancy Castaldo earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Marymount College and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York. As an environmental educator, author, and Girl Scout volunteer and board member, Castaldo has led numerous children's workshops. Her school programs include workshops on ocean creatures and other nature topics, creative writing, and pizza making/Italy. She has conducted programs at the Boston Children's Museum, Atlanta Zoo, and Tennessee Aquarium. Castaldo's books include River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers; Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; Deserts: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; and Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9. She is also author of a historical-fiction picture book, Pizza for the Queen. To learn more about Nancy and her books, check out her Web site, www.nancycastaldo.com.

Article by Nancy Castaldo
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