Bailey Arboretum

Bailey Arboretum

Games for Hikes

    Sometimes just hiking is not enough. It is a good idea to break up the walking with a game or two. Here are some simple games to play.


Lift a rock. Rocks are shelters for a lot of interesting animals. By lifting a rock, children can find insects, millipedes and salamanders. Try to identify the animals or make up names for them. Be careful to put the rock or log back exactly the way it was.


Scavenger Hunt. As you and your child walk along, suggest things for them to find. Some possibilities are:  a feather, something red, an acorn, something smooth, an animal track, a bird, something beautiful, a black stone. Kids will have fun sending you in search of something.


Hanger Search. Throw a coat hanger on the ground and look carefully at what is inside. Using toothpicks and string, children can make a miniature hiking trail.


Follow the Leader. This classic game can be a lot of fun. Be safe but be creative. Go around trees, over rocks, under branches, jump up and down, and off you go.


Predator-Prey. Pretend to be a predator, such as a fox. Your child can be the prey, a rabbit. Give them time to hide and see if you can catch them.


Collections. Children love to collect things. A collection can be made from many different things such as rocks, leaves, twigs, insects or photographs. Keep a list of birds seen, trees identified, flowers, favorite sounds or whatever else grabs your child’s interest.


Twenty Questions. Pick something out in the woods. Your child can try to guess what you are thinking.


Hide and Seek.  When I want to get kids moving on the trail we play hide and seek. The run ahead and hide somewhere just off the trail and I try to find them as I walk by. It is a lot of fun and helps cover ground.


Flood or Hawk. Your child is a mouse. As you hike around there are certain dangers in a mouse’s life. If you call out “flood,” your child has to find a rock to climb up to avoid getting washed away. If you call out “hawk,” they have to find a hiding spot or they will caught.