Life Raft – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Life Raft

Children work together to flip a tarp over while the entire team is still on it. This group activity encourages children to collaborate and use their problem solving skills to solve the challenge.

Materials Required

  • Small tarp


  1. Pick an activity leader who supervises for safety.
  2. Lay a tarp on the ground and have the rest of the team stand on it.
  3. Pretend the tarp is a life raft keeping the group safe in the middle of the ocean, but in order to survive the group has to flip it over. Without anyone stepping off the life raft, try to flip it completely over. Remember to be careful to not step on anyone. If anyone might lose their balance, just have them step off safely.

Additional Tips

Try this add-on activity:

  • Pretend that the life raft has shrunk (fold the tarp to make it smaller) and to survive the group has to flip it over again. A smaller tarp increases the challenge!

Links to Creativity

This activity asks participants to collaborate and solve a problem. Children will brainstorm possible solutions using divergent thinking. When a solution is discovered, children will use persuasion to convince others that their idea will save everyone from falling into the ocean.

 Supporting research includes:

Cropley, A. (2006). In praise of convergent thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 18(3), 391-404.

Guilford, J. P. (1956). The structure of intellect. Psychological Bulletin53(4), 267-293.

Runco, M. A. (1991). Divergent Thinking. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. ©2015 Bay Area Discovery Museum. It was inspired by an activity used by The Outdoor School at Camp Champions. For more information and resources see,, and

Life Raft

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