Snow Tracks and Trails Activities

 

 Name  Age  Space Required Time     
 Winter Scavenger Hunt  All  Various natural areas  Varies
 Track Memory  All Snow covered ground  Varies
 Tracking Expedition  All  Various natural areas  Varies
 Stick-Drag Game  All Snow covered ground  30 min
 Snow Tracking  All Snow covered ground  30 min
 Tracking  All  Various natural areas  30 min
 Animal Halves  All  Wooded Area, trail  30 min
 Un-natural Trail  All  Wooded Area, trail  40 min
 FBI Hike  All  Various natural areas  40 min
 Nature Cards  All*  Anywhere  Varies

* will have to be adjusted to suit younger players

Winter Scavenger Hunt

►your breath  
►trail signs 
►animal tracks  
►cattails 
► birds   
►dried berries  
► evergreens 
► icicle 
► maple keys 
► pinecone  
► dried leaves 
► bird’s nest  
► squirrels 
► maple tree  
► snow drift
► other active people
 
 
A group sits with their feet up while the other groups study them. After three minutes, one of the groups make some footmarks in a good bit of ground or snow. The other groups approach one at a time and try to decide who made it.
 

Take a group of children on a nature walk along a trail or through the woods. Have them point out any signs of animal evidence they see, ask them questions, let them be imaginative and discuss who may have left the evidence behind. If the group comes across a set of tracks, follow them, count them and study them. Have the children keep a journal of what they saw, draw pictures and write stories. Provide the children with disposable cameras and ask them to capture pictures what they see; it will be interesting to see the photos after they develop. Have the children explain the pictures or write a story about them.

Stick-Drag Game 

The instructor runs ahead making a trail for the children to follow using a stick.  Once it is time for the participants to start tracking you give a signal (i.e. animal call). Continue to run and go on as long as you desire or until you feel exhausted.  Try to make the trail challenging, loop behind the participants, go in circles, cross back over your trail or hide so they go right by. Eventually, the instructor can hide and surprise the participants or “collapse” and wait for them to find you.

Snow Tracking

Get the participants to close their eyes. Chose a few children to make a puzzle in the snow, such as: someone has a piggy back ride, someone falls down and is helped up, someone crawls on hand and knees to view a bird. The other children have to try to guess what happen.

Make animal tracks in the snow. Have participants guess what animals could have made the tracks.

Tracking

Divide the group into two teams. Group 1 gets a ten or fifteen minute head start to lay their trail. They may set up prearranged indications of their path like rocks arranged in a definite pattern, or they may try to proceed as secretly as possible, leaving only inadvertent evidence of their passage. At the end of their trail the first team hides and awaits the approach of group 2 or the tracking team. Group 2 follows as closely as possible the trail left by the first team, but also needs to be alert to the possibility of an ambush by the first team, so they need to be prepared to flee.

Animal Halves

Cut 10 pictures (for each pair of children) of forest animals in half. Give the halves to each pair; hide the other half along a trail or in a wooded area for the children to find and collect. Once they pictures are matched they place them on the ground as indicated by you. Continue until all the pictures are matched. This leads to a discussion of what the animals are, whether the children will see or hear them or what their ‘signs’ may be. You might at this point bring out signs that you have collected.

Un-nature Trail

Instead of walking through the forest looking for everything that you might expect to see, place a number of ‘unnatural’ objects (for example a ball, some litter, a key…) along a section of path. Tell the group that there are X unusual objects for them to find and see if they can spot all the ‘unnatural’ items along the way. When you arrive at the next stopping place ask them to tell you what they found. You might mix up natural and unnatural items and ask children to tell you which items would be in the forest and which wouldn’t. Alternatively, allow a different child to lead and tell them to stop when they find something that they think is unnatural. You can discuss ideas of what is natural in this way.

FBI Hike

Challenge the participants to explore their environment to find evidence of criminal activity within the natural world. Examples might include: trees which are littering by carelessly scattering needles or leaves, birds murdering insects or worms, or squirrels kidnapping the “children” (seeds) of trees. The possibilities are endless and can lead to discussions about food chains, interrelationships within the natural world and many other natural principles. Investigators can use digital cameras to document the crime scene and make notes about the evidence they find. At the end of the hike, the detectives can make “Wanted” posters describing each criminal they uncovered.

Nature Cards

Animal cards have been made and can be found here. Each card has a local animal’s name, a physical description, where it lives, its character traits/symbolism and a picture.

Each child will get a card that will be taped or held firmly to their forehead.

After everyone gets a card they will walk around asking “yes/no” questions about their animal. Participants being questioned can refer to the information on the card. When they think they know their animal, they must report to the instructor, telling them the clues they have gathered and then what animals they think it is. If correct let them look at their cards, if not they can continue to ask questions. This game is over when everyone figures out their animal. After, circle up and talk about each animal.

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