This article was sponsored by The Wild | Life
Surrounded by sky-high cedar trees, I follow my three children along a wooden pathway, strolling together in silence. Suddenly, my six-year-old daughter shouts, “Look! There’s one!” She's pointing to the sky with her carefully-selected walking stick. We stop in unison and look up, spotting a clay mask that's affixed to the trunk of a towering tree. “That’s six!” proclaims my son as we continue on our way.
My eldest, a teen, turns her head from left to right as we walk, and I can tell that she’s quietly enjoying the search for the next mask as well. We’re taking a trek through the trees of Spirit Trail, a one-kilometre hike found just outside the town of Harrison Hot Springs, and the game of finding the series of twenty-something clay masks that decorate the trail seems to be the main motivation to keep my kids moving.
We live in Vancouver’s North Shore, where tons of hiking trails can be found just steps from our door. Because a walk in the woods is so easily accessible, my kids have become apathetic about going on outdoor adventures. This little game of stroll-and-seek keeps my kids engaged on our short hike, and I privately promise to find more games to play on the trails when we return home, too.
While a wander through the woods may be enough to motivate the grownups to get moving outside, sometimes the kids need a little extra push to entice them to join you on your journey. Here are five fun games from The Wild | Life that you can play along the way to keep your kids entertained as you explore the trails on your next family hike.
For this game, someone with a camera should walk ahead on the trail and take a very close-up picture of something spotted near the path (like a mushroom, a knot in a tree or a crack in a rock). Then, they bring the close-up shot back to the group to examine. Whoever can identify and find the object first wins!
Don’t forget to pack your creativity as you head outdoors and enjoy this colourful take on “I Spy.” Next time you are on a walk or hike with your kids, consider taking turns naming things you see along the way in order of the colours of the rainbow. You can either name things that you spot that are of the same colour as the eight hues found in a rainbow, or you can pick items that start with each colour letter! For example:
Orange: Open field
Sing Trail Songs
Exercise your vocal cords while you trek along the trails. Singing as you hike can be lots of fun (especially for younger kids) and helps bring groups together. It also helps to let the animals know that you are around—so you don’t scare them, and they don’t scare you! Sing a song you know or make up your own words to an old song! Be inspired by the nature around you and remember: the sillier you make your lyrics, the better!
Hide & Find: Trail Edition
For this trail game, one person sets out to find an object and shows the object to the rest of the group. The “hider” runs slightly ahead of the group to hide the object. As the rest of the group catches up, they begin looking for the object. The first person to find the object is the next “hider.” This nature-inspired game of hide-and-seek can be a great way to enjoy the trails with siblings or as a larger group.
Make a Wild Copy
On your trek, consider collecting fallen leaves, sticks or pieces of tree bark found on the ground along the way.* Then, take a piece of light-coloured paper and lay it over each item. Gently rub the side of your coloured pencil or crayon over the paper to reveal the outline and texture of the item. You can frame each image, make a colourful adventure book or it can be used to make beautiful handmade cards or wrapping paper.
*Note: Be sure to only collect items that have fallen to the ground—never pick something from a living plant. Return the item to the environment you found it after completing your craft.
The game ideas in this article are examples from The Wild | Life Adventure Kit activity cards.
The Wild | Life was created to make outdoor play fun, easy, and adventurous. We believe everyone should have the skills and confidence to explore the outdoors.
The Wild | Life Outdoor Adventures was founded by Jenelle, Jeremy and Heather. They lived the wild life as kids and are on a mission to help kids get the same opportunities to be curious, to be brave, and to be wild. Because hey, isn’t that what being a kid is all about?