Nature Games

From: Jim Speirs

Table of Contents

You Can't See Me !

Nature game, outdoors
Equipment: A nature trail.
Formation: Scatter
The object of this game is to allow the players the opportunity to pretend they are animals, trying to hide from Man.

The group walks a given distance down a nature trail, while the leader explains the rules:

Each player is given time to hide along the trail. They may travel no more than 15 feet from either side of the trail, and may use anything in the natural environment to provide camouflage.

The leader waits about five minutes until all players are hidden. He walks the distance of the trail ONCE ONLY, and tries to find as many players as possible. After his walk, he calls out, and watches to see where all the successful 'animals' hid.

This game can be repeated many times, with different players taking the role of the searcher.

It is fun to talk about the hiding places that were the most successful, and how animals might protect themselves from predators.

The Stalker

Nature game, outdoors.
Equipment: Blindfolds, stones.
Formation: scatter.
Half the group is given blindfolds to wear. These players are placed in scatter formation within the boundaries of the playing area. A stone is placed between their fee, but not touching them.

The other half of the group (the ones that can see) begin to stalk the blindfolded players in an effort to obtain the stone from between their feet. In an attempt to pinpoint a stalker, the blindfolded players may point to a sound. If a stalker is there, the two players switch positions.

Stalkers try to collect as many stones as possible without being caught.

The Stalker (Variation)

Nature game, indoors
Equipment: blindfolds, flashlight.
Formation: scatter.
This is a terrific evening program variation to the original Stalker game. The players protecting the stone between their feet are given flashlights. When they think they know the location of a stalker, instead of pointing to him, they flash the light in the direction from where they hear the noise. Each player is given three separate 'flashes' of light before losing his stone to the nearest stalker

Swamp

Nature game, outdoors.
Equipment: pen and paper.
Formation: small groups.
Divide the group into teams of 4 to 6. Give each team a large piece of paper and a pen. Each letter in the word SWAMP stands for another word that describes something in nature: S Stars

W Weather

A Animals

M Minerals

P Plants On 'Go', each team writes down as many words as it can think of that relate to the words STARS. The only stipulation is this: They must be able to SEE what they write down from where they are sitting (e.g., sky is where stars are seen; clouds cover stars on a dull night). Each team has five minutes to write down as many words as possible.

The next five minutes are devoted to the word WEATHER, the next five to ANIMALS and so on until all letters of the word SWAMP have been given equal time.

At the end of the writing session, the leader tallies the number of words to see which team has the sharpest eyes, and the most vivid imagination (some teams may have to explain their rationale behind writing down certain words - the leader may not understand how they relate to the 'master' word).

You'll be amazed at the boy's imagination.

Meet My Friend

Nature game, outdoors
Equipment: None
Formation: Group
The object of this game is to discover a friend in nature, without harming any living thing that might be found in the out- of-doors.

Players are taken on a short hike during which time each player collects something from the natural environment (nothing may be broken or picked from any living thing - the item has to be either lying on the ground or resting on another object (e.g. stump or log)). Everyone keeps his object hidden from all players.

Following the hike, each player is given the opportunity to build a small home for his 'friend'. He is also asked to give his friend a name, and to think of one way in which he could take care of his friend, if it was still out of it's natural environment.

When all in the group is ready, everyone tours the small homes that have been created, and meets each special friend.

E.g.: 'This is my friend Twiggy. He is a small branch that I found lying on the ground. I've built him a house from soft leaves and moss that I found on the ground. If he was still on a tree, I could take care of him by protecting him from the wind. I could build him a fence so the wind wouldn't snap him off his tree. I could also make sure he doesn't catch diseases - I could check for termites and insects that might harm him."

The friends that are made are refreshing to everyone.

Switch

Nature game, outdoors.
Equipment: None.
Formation: scatter, in a wooded area with several varieties of trees.
Players are divided into three or four groups such as Sugar Maple, Beeches, Yellow birches, ironwoods. In an appropriate and defined area, players stand touching their trees - only one per tree. 'It' stands at the center spot and calls the name of a group.. 'Beeches' for example. At this signal, the designated group changes place with on another, running from one beech tree to another. 'It' tries to claim a tree of his own during the interchange. If 'It' is successful in claiming a tree, the player who is left without a tree becomes the new 'It'. If 'it' calls 'FOREST', everyone is required to change to another tree of his team's name.

To end the game, it is fun to have 'it be it' for four or five rounds of the game calling 'FOREST' every time. As 'it' beats a player to a tree, that player is eliminated. In this way, some trees may be altogether wiped out from the forest, as could happen in our natural environment.

Silly Symphony

Nature game, outdoors.
Equipment: The Outdoors.
Formation: semi-circle.
The purpose of this game is to discover the beautiful sounds that can be created by the natural objects in our environment.

Each player is given 10 - 15 minutes to find objects in nature that make a noise when banged together, or blown on, or rubbed together. Players bring back their 'instruments' and a conductor is chosen, who organizes the group into a semi-circular orchestra.

Each musician is allowed to 'tune' is instrument, so the rest of the group can hear the different sounds. If a player can play more than one instrument at the same time, he is welcome to do so.

The conductor can then choose a familiar tune with an easy rhythm, and lead his orchestra in song. Let the players make requests for songs they would like to play; give musicians the opportunity to work on 'solos' that they can perform for everyone.

North by Northeast

Nature game, outdoors/indoors

Equipment: 1 compass
Formation: scatter
The leader gathers the group together. Using the compass, they all learn how to determine which direction is north. Someone from the group is asked to select an object that lies directly north, (e.g., a tree, or a doorstep, or a post). Then the group decides on an object that lies directly south, one that lies directly east, and one that lies directly west.

Everyone assembles in the center of the playing area. The leader calls out one of 'North', 'South', 'East' or 'West', and everyone runs to touch the object that lies in that direction. The last one to touch the object is eliminated.

After a new rounds of the game, play can stop, and objects for the intercardinal points (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest) can be added. Everyone can begin the game again, as all eight points are used.

A great game to introduce the skill of orienteering !


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