Five games to make any walk in the woods unforgettable
There's a lot to discover in nature – so grab the kids and head out to explore the forests! There's so much to find: plants, wild animals, windy paths and every now and then a flowing stream. If just “walking” is too boring for your little ones (or your bigger ones)? No problem! These five games can help you turn any nature hike into an interactive experience:
1. Pine cone long throw
At the start of your walk through the woods, start collecting pine cones. Once you've gathered a good amount, you are ready to play the game. All the players line up in a row. On the count of three, everyone throws their pine cone as far as they can into the woods. The player whose pine cone travels the farthest wins!
2. King of the Forest
Find a tree trunk and agree on a specific spot on the tree trunk that each player will attempt to hit with a pine cone, from a certain distance away. Each person gets three tries. Whoever hits the spot the most times or is the closest, earns the title “King/Queen of the Forest” for the day. You could also even make a crown for the winner (out of leaves, for example), which they gets to wear for the rest of the day.
3. Forest fitness
Pick someone from the group to be the fitness trainer. The trainer will come up with exercises, which he or she will demonstrate while the others imitate. The sky is the limit with this game: exercises can include jumping over tree trunks or branches, walking backwards along a certain stretch of the path or hopping on one leg – anything goes, unless it's dangerous of course. Many nature trails include exercise stations with equipment like monkey bars, stepping logs, etc. Follow the instructions on the signs, or make up your own trail workout using the equipment provided.
4. What tree was it?
Blindfold a member of your group with a scarf or bandana, then lead them to a tree, which they are allowed to touch or even smell. The goal is to identify as many features of the tree as possible without looking. Then take the person back to the starting position, remove the blindfold and ask them to locate the same tree. Everyone gets a turn.
5. Eagle eye challenge
Make a 6x6-foot square on the forest floor out of rocks or branches. Look closely at the area inside the square and try to remember everything about it. Then turn around. One member of the group changes 3 things inside the square, such as taking away a pine cone, changing the location of a twig or placing something new inside it. Who can identify all the changes?
Can you think of other games to help turn a nature walk into an interactive experience?