I have had several opportunities this week to dream-up some fun nature activities to do with children while on a hike or afterward. I know that can be difficult to get children involved while hiking and especially keeping them focused on positive aspects of hiking like the pretty trees, the sky, the birds, and not the negative aspects like "my feet hurt," "I'm thirsty..." etc. So, here's a little list of some fun games you can incorporate on your next outdoor adventure.
Nature Sudoku Scavenger Hunt: draw a large grid that is three rows x three colomns on a piece of butcher paper that you can roll up and stow in your backpack. On the grid write the following numbers in this order:
Row 1: 9;1;5
Row 2: 4,3, 8
Row 3: 6,7,2
Now, have the children look around them, or while on the hike, to see if they can spot items in nature of the same quantity that is listed in each box on the grid. Example: 9 leaves, 1 pine cone, 5 rocks.
ABC Hike: This game is a lot like I Spy but instead of like colors children are looking for items in nature that start with each letter of the alphabet. See how many items you can find for the letter X!
Gnome Homes: While hiking collect natural items such as twigs, grass, leaves, berried, acorns, and other items. After the hike let the children's imaginations fly, as they build small gnome homes under a tree in your yard.
Gratitude Stone: This is a fun game to incorporate into a week about giving thanks. While on a hike ask the children to find a stone that will become their very own personal token from the hike. It can be any shape or color but must fit nicely into a pocket. After the hike explain that the stone is called a Gratitude Stone and that it should be kept in their pocket for the next week. Every time they place their hands into their pocket and touch the stone they must think about something or someone they are grateful for. It can be anything. Grateful for the air they breathe, their family, their dog, etc. After a few days ask them what they are grateful for. It will be amazing what they come up with!