Exploring trails can be a blast for the whole family. For kids, it’s important to keep them engaged and entertained along the way because these days, kids are glued to their tablets. For this reason, it’s harder to keep them entertained without electronics, but with a little bit of imagination, anything is possible.
Across the world, there are trails to explore, and depending on where you live, the closest trails might only be a short ride away. Exploring trails and playing trail games & activities are great ways to get some much-needed exercise along with some fresh air. Next time you’re out on the trail, give these fun trail games and activities a try.
1. Insect Hunting
One thing that absolutely keeps kids entertained is insect hunting. Feel free to invest in a small kit or bring along a magnifying glass to make the experience even better. After all, your children will feel more important when they have a magnifying glass in hand.
To discover bugs, don’t be shy about looking under rocks and leaves or around trees. Give your children enough space to let their imaginations run wild as they hunt for different insects along the trail. Additionally, go a step further by bringing along an insect book that helps you to identify the different types of insects they find.
Just be sure not to disturb the insects too much since it is their home in the forest. The key is to be an observer rather than someone who alters their natural habitat.
Birdwatching is something that both adults and children can thoroughly enjoy along the trail. The best part about spotting different types of birds in the forest is that it allows you to make a game out of it, similar to I Spy.
Since there are many types of birds in the forest, the object is to remain as quiet as possible to not disturb the birds. Instead, walk quietly to get a good look at them. Similar to insect hunting, it’s not a bad idea to bring a bird book along to help you identify the different birds.
If you prefer to go beyond what the naked eye provides, then invest in a good lightweight pair of binoculars, or better yet, a good monocular for birdwatching. As a result, you and your family will be able to get a more detailed look at the birds of the forest without being weighed down along the way.
Plus, you’ll be able to spot birds from further away without disturbing them. Your kids will love the ability to spot different types of birds through either optic you choose.
3. Navigate With a Map
One way for families to test their survival skills is to turn off the GPS and use a map. This is a great way to bond as a family and get back to old-school navigation methods. Of course, you’ll also need a compass to match the map.
Before you start, choose some places on the map that you’d like to see along the trail. Then, once you find those spots without using a fancy GPS, you’ll undoubtedly get excited and feel good about yourself. Children will especially find this activity fun since they’ll view it as a game.
Plus, there’s always the option to use your imagination and tell your children that you’re using a treasure map. The final goal is to find the treasure at X marks the spot.
4. Pass the Story
A great game to play with creative minds is Pass the Story. To play it, all you need is at least a few people with some thoughts brewing. First, one person starts telling a fictional story that includes people you may or may not know.
Then, once the first person starts the story, he or she passes it off to the next person to continue, and so on. By the end, you’ll have told an intricate story that’s sure to provide some great laughs.
This trail game can be played while hiking or while camping around a fire. If one thing is for sure, it’s the perfect game to play outside, and it’s completely free.
In recent years, geocaching has grown in popularity, which means there’s a good chance that trails in your area offer the geocaching experience. What is geocaching? Put simply, it’s the use of GPS or other navigational devices to locate “geocaches” placed at certain coordinates.
There are already apps that allow you to share the locations of geocaches. The challenge is to find the cache and prove that you’ve been there by signing the logbook. Each cache is usually a waterproof container with a logbook and potentially some trinkets to trade or share.
Both adults and children can enjoy geocaching as a hobby to improve their navigational skills and build a sense of community.
There are limitless trail games and activities to get involved with when you use your imagination. All of the activities listed above give you and your family the opportunity to connect with nature and each other while on hiking trails.
Once you get started with activities such as birdwatching and geocaching, you’ll more than likely stay involved, which will give your family members a great way to bond. In the end, you’ll make some great memories and disconnect (at least temporarily) from the electronics that keep families apart.