Hiking Games for Guiding Units

Roving Hide and Seek

Pathfinders and Rangers

This is hide and seek while hiking! It’s surprisingly fun and exciting, and a good first experience in exercising tracking skills. Play it at dusk or even in the night for added fun and adventure.

The hider runs ahead on the trail and finds a tree, rock, or object to hide behind (or under), ideally within 10 to 15 feet of the trail. The rest of the group keeps hiking while the hider hides.

Rotate hiders so everyone gets a chance, adults included.

Close-Ups 

Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

Have someone with a camera or smartphone walk ahead on the trail and take a macro—or super close-up—shot of an object along the trail: a mushroom, a knot in a tree, a crack in a rock.

For older units , the close-up should focus on part of the object rather than the whole thing. (If you take a picture of the entire object, it will be too easy to find!). For Sparks you may want to just take a picture of the entire object, for Brownies a large piece of it, for Guides, a little less and so on….

When the rest of the group catches up to the photographer, define a small 10-by-10-foot area—and then it’s a race to see who can find the object first. It takes just minutes to play, but the fascination of finding hidden objects in the woods makes it fun and keeps you moving!

Hiking Scavenger Hunt

Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? This one is really simple: Make a list of items everyone has to find, and the first one to find them all wins! (Kids don’t have to actually collect the objects; they can announce their finds to the group for a Leave-No-Trace-friendly approach.)

Some Scavenger Hunt Ideas for the Younger Branches:

  • Something red
  • A maple leaf
  • A rock the size of a quarter
  • Litter (carry it out!)
  • Acorn
  • Wildflower

Ideas for Middle Branches:

  • Dead Tree
  • Mushroom
  • 4 different shades of green
  • Something squirrels eat
  • Trail marker
  • Maple leaf/Oak leaf/Birch Leaf etc.

Ideas for Older Branches:

  • Animal Track (bonus for ID)
  • A nest
  • Something made by humans
  • Specific birds
  • Specific trees
  • Edible plantlife

You can always tailor these Hiking Scavenger Hunts to something you are trying to learn: tress, birds, tracks, etc.

Essence

Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

One person thinks of someone whom everyone in the group knows. It could be a friend, a teacher, a family member, or a celebrity.

The players try to guess the identity of the person, but unlike 20 questions, you can only ask rhetorical questions rather than yes or no questions. All questions must follow the format: “If this person were a _______, what type of ______ would they be?”

Fill in the blanks, asking what type of car, food, weather, city, geographic feature, animal, etc., the person would be. The first couple of answers sometimes reveal the identity of the person, so we have a rule that you must ask at least five questions before guessing. The real fun of the game is figuring out the “essence” of the person you are trying to guess.

Tree Huggers

Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

This is kind of like hiking musical chairs, with tree identification built in. One person serves as the Tree Master. As you are hiking, the Tree Master calls out the name of a tree (oak, for example). Everyone then has to run and hug an oak tree. Last one to hug an oak is out.

Continue until only one person remains. That’s your new Tree Master. We can play this for miles.

Trail Bingo

Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers

Everyone picks one object you’re likely to spot on the trail; for example, a stream, a hiker with blue shorts, a squirrel, and a red backpack. After everyone has chosen an object, play begins.

The game works like Bingo: Everyone is looking to find the same objects, but only one person can claim each sighting.

If you come across a hiker wearing blue shorts (or a squirrel, a stream, et cetera) the player who sees the object first should say, “BINGO! Blue shorts!” You must say BINGO first!

No one else can claim those blue shorts. They must spot and call out other blue shorts.

If you find a group of something, like a group of several squirrels, that sighting counts as only one squirrel. Only one person can claim squirrels; everyone else must find another squirrel or group of squirrels.

The first person to find and call “bingo” for all of the objects chosen by the group wins.

Make sure the objects you choose are neither too rare nor too common. If you’re trying to find a tree while on a hike, the game will end instantly. Try finding a birch tree or a dead tree.

For the younger branches, you may want to create a visual bingo sheet ahead of time, instead of trying to go by memory.

ABCs 

Sparks, Brownies

This is great for kids who are learning their alphabet. Starting with the letter “A,” everyone has to find something along the trail that begins with “A” before moving through the rest of the alphabet.

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