Games to Play with Children on a Hike by Sue Freeman


When you take children out on a hike, the goal is for everyone to have an enjoyable experience. The challenge is that age often determines what is enjoyable.

Children between the ages of three and five want to touch everything they see. They are not interested in a beautiful view. Touching a moss covered rock is far more satisfying. Teach them to explore and touch, but not to destroy or collect. As children get older, they still enjoy touching but getting someplace often takes precedence. Children between six and ten years old are capable of strenuous hikes. They want to see things and reach a destination, but often don’t comprehend the beauty of a spectacular view. Their experience with nature is too limited for them to know comparatively, what is unique or rare.

The challenge of keeping the hiking experience enjoyable for all increases with groups of mixed ages. Try these verbal games to engage their minds as well as their bodies.

Sing a Song: Learn a song and sing it while you hike. If you’re walking an abandoned railroad bed try "I’ve Been Working on the Railroad." Find a spider web and sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider." The song doesn’t have to pertain to the hike, any song is fun while you hike.

Blindfolded Walk: If you’re on a relatively flat, safe trail such as an abandoned railroad bed, blindfold one member of the group and have others give verbal instructions.

Identification: Have someone close his or her eyes. Place an object in their hands and ask them to identify what it is.

I Spy: One person thinks of something that everyone can see and gives a clue such as "I spy something round and hard." The others try to guess what it is. The winner then gets to choose the next "I Spy."

Twenty Questions: A person thinks of some object or person. The other players ask yes-or-no questions to discover the identity of the object or person.

Where Was That? After walking for several minutes, ask children about the order of things you passed. How much do they remember?

How Far? Have each person guess how far he or she has hiked. For older children, show them how to orient the map and locate your position.

Cloud Pictures: Take a break. Look into the sky and describe to each other what you see in the clouds.

Chain Story: One person starts a story, but stops in the middle of a sentence or idea. The next person must continue the story then break to let the next person continue, and so forth.

Yes or No: A person can ask any question of any other person, but the words "yes" or "no" cannot be used in any answers. Actually any words can be prohibited. It makes children think before they speak.

Name a Class: Have a person name all the presidents of the U.S. that they can think of, or all the baseball players, etc.

Take A Hike! Family Walks in the Rochester Area
Take A Hike! Family Walks in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region
Take Your Bike! Family Rides in the Rochester Area
Take Your Bike! Family Rides in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region Snow Trails -Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe in Central & Western NY

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