When hiking, scouts tend to forget to look around and enjoy nature as they are more focused on getting to the destination. They also get bored easily and lose interest. However, many activities can help them open their eyes to the beauty of nature and bring about a sense of appreciation for this creation.
If you want them to explore and learn while adding a sense of adventure to the hike, consider incorporating the activities listed below. You can mix some of your ideas to make them more interesting for the kids.
Choosing the right footwear for your hike is very important. Wearing the wrong footwear could lead to sore feet and blisters which will prevent you from enjoying your hike to the fullest. Lucky for you, we have a list of the best hiking shoes for men, women, and children all in one article.
Types of Activities
Hiking is more than walking around in nature. To keep things interactive and interesting, especially when you’re hiking with kids, here are a few activities that you can incorporate in your hikes.
This type of hike features a concept that will keep them focused on what task is at hand. This is a good educational experience for groups, regardless of age and size.
This hiking activity will allow them to have a friendly competition and can also be done in groups.
Keep things fair and include age-appropriate tasks so that younger kids can still contribute and accomplish tasks as a team.
In this activity, you should highlight the importance of caring for our environment and nature. This can also be a part of a service project.
For this activity, prepare stations with different activities or instructions. The kids should be able to complete the instructions before moving on to the next station.
Hiking and exploring the outdoors with the girl scouts is an amazing experience. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and little moments become lifelong memories. To prevent your scouts from being bored and frustrated, here are 15 hiking activities for girl scouts that you can incorporate in your itinerary.
15 Hiking Activities for Cub Scouts
Keeping kids interested in an activity can be quite challenging. To help you manage your cub scouts and keep them interested in the hike, here are some activities that you can do.
1. Sound Hike
In this activity, let the scouts listen to any of the sounds they hear while hiking, and let them identify them, discuss where they came from, what they were, and what they know about them.
2. Color Hike
Before the hike starts, give them a list of colors. Next, let them write down as many different items of each color as possible. These items should be things they see along the trail. At the end of the hike, discuss with them the items they have written down.
3. Stop, Look, and Listen Hike
During the hike, stop after 10 minutes and let them write down everything they see for one minute. Hike for another 10 minutes, and then stop to let them write everything they hear. At the third stop, let them write everything they smell. And then, discuss those with them upon reaching the destination.
4. ABC Hike
While hiking, let them observe or find an item in nature for each letter of the alphabet. To turn this into a competitive type of hike, the group that finds the most items for a letter wins. If they cannot find items for challenging letters like X, Y, and Z, let them look at formations instead, like branches that crisscross forming the letter X, etc.
5. Square-foot Hike
This activity requires a string about 4-inch long and a magnifying glass for each kid. Stop along the hike and have them lay down the string to form a square foot. Next, give them 5 minutes to analyze the square foot using a magnifying glass and share their findings with the group.
6. Color Chart Hike
Prepare for this activity by asking a nearby hardware store for a few paint chips. Then, during the hike, give each one of the kids a chip and let them find items that match the color on the strip they have.
7. Detective Hike
Have the children look for evidence that man has been to that place before. Look for footprints, pick up trash, and look for construction or any signs of human interference with nature.
8. Scavenger Hunt
Prepare for the activity by making a list similar to this one:
- Find wet items.
- Look for short items.
- Find green items.
- Find branches with no leaves.
- Find some hard items, like a rock.
- Find brown items.
- Look for something orange.
- Find something that a bird may eat.
- Find a pointy item.
- Look for soft items.
Give the Scouts the list and let them find but not keep the items. They can also choose to draw a picture of the items they found and then discuss their favorites afterward.
9. Inch Hike
In this activity, have the scouts bring rulers and let them find as many creatures and objects that are one inch long or shorter. Discuss the items they have found and focus on why they look the way they do, etc.
This activity involves finding “treasures” or caches using GPS coordinates. These caches refer to containers that hold trinkets or a log. This activity will add a sense of adventure to the hike and can be a way for kids to work on their Geocaching Merit Badge.
11. Chain Story
For this activity, have one person start a story and stop in the middle of their sentence for the next person to continue. Then, stop again to let another person continue, and so forth.
12. Mystery Bag
For this hiking activity, you need a lunch bag or stuff sack to put items found on the trail like stones, pine cones, acorns, or trash. Do not pick any plants or living creatures. When you finally stop to rest, have the kids put their hands in the sack and identify what they touch. Bring the items back by scattering them in the woods once done.
13. Hug a Tree
For this activity, you or one of the scouts must know the types of trees along the trail. Assign a tree master to call out the species of a tree in that area and everyone needs to find that tree and give it a big hug. Remember not to step on any live vegetation or living creature or to wander too far from the group.
14. Number One Hike
In this activity, the kids should walk in a single file. The leader will ask the first one in the line about something they encountered on the trail. If they give the correct information, then they retain their position in line. But if not, they move back at the end of the line and the new ‘number one’ (the person next in line) should say something about what they have encountered. If they are wrong as well, they should go to the back of the line, and so on.
15. Trail Building Hike
This activity falls in the Conservation and Themed hike categories. The scouts work together to clear the trail to make it safer and easier for others to use. This should be done by clearing overgrowth, loose stones, litter, dead branches, or scattered leaves.
Young children are known to have short attention spans. When it comes to activities like hiking, there is a high chance that your scouts will focus more on how tiring the activity is rather than enjoying the activity itself. As their leader, it is your duty to help them appreciate and enjoy this activity as well the beautiful environment that they are currently in.
While the activities listed above are built around a theme, do not be afraid to explore or discuss anything that catches the kids’ interest. Feel free to mix in different activities, like looking into the details of a pine cone, the complexity of a spider’s web, or even the simplicities and similarities between the veins in a leaf and in your hand and wrist. Make the hike as interesting for them as possible, while still allowing them to learn, enjoy, explore, and appreciate nature.