Hiking and exploring the outdoors with the girl scouts is an amazing experience. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and little moments become lifelong memories. Additionally, hiking can positively impact their physical and mental health and also be a way for them to learn about respect, empathy, inclusion, and outdoor ethics. It is a great place for them to earn badges and build their outdoor confidence, interest, and environmental stewardship.
However, one problem you can encounter on a long trail is how to keep the girls from getting bored and frustrated while walking. To make these hikes more than just walking and turn them into enjoyable experiences, we’ve listed 15 of our favorite games and activities to keep the girls occupied as they hike through the trails.
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.
Activities and Games for Girl Scouts
To keep things interactive and to keep your scouts interested in the hike, here are a few activities that you can incorporate in your itinerary.
1. Rainbow Hike
Give each one of them a crayon or paint chip. Then, continue the hike and have them match the color they obtained to something they see in nature. Once they have found at least one thing that matches their color, ask them to identify that item.
If the area has plenty of plants, talk about why the plants have different colors and what birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects are attracted to that particular color and talk about pollination. Keep a record of the items they found.
If hiking with younger children, you should divide them into groups and use a box of crayons, preferably with eight pieces. For older girls, you can use different shades of the same color. You can also do this activity on a hike several times a year so they can see the changes in the colors around them.
2. Sharing Walk
For this activity, you will need several handkerchiefs or pieces of cloth to use as blindfolds. Group the girls into pairs, with one person wearing the blindfold while the other acts as a guide. You should discuss some safety rules beforehand.
In silence, the guide will take their partner on a short local hike, smelling, hearing, and feeling nature. They should switch roles after 5 minutes. Have them share their experience after everyone had their turn.
3. Stop, Look & Listen
In this activity, the girls will have to hike for five minutes or an assigned number of steps (about 5 to 10). Then, stop for one minute so they can write down all the things they see or the sounds they hear.
4. Hobo Hike
For this simple activity, the girls should hike to a designated place for lunch, while their lunch is tied in a bandana and hung tightly at the end of a stick or to their belts.
5. Incher Hike
During the hike, let the girls collect as many objects as possible. However, these objects must be one inch high, wide, long, or short. Measure these treasures upon returning and see who noticed the little interesting things that are usually overlooked.
6. Progressive Supper Hike
For this activity, you should be able to do a three-stop hike with different food and recreation at each stop, and then end with campfire songs or stunts and a popcorn feast.
7. Noah’s Ark Hike
Start by hiding animal crackers before you begin the hike. Let the girls try and find as many animal crackers as possible while following the trail. The animals should be kept until the end of the hike so you can determine the best hunter.
8. Nature Detective
This activity will turn the girls into amateur investigators. Start by asking them to find a strange geological or biological detail, like a tree bending around another tree or a rock shaped like a face. Let them approach it, touch it, and see if they can figure out what it is and why it has happened.
This activity can engage their reasoning skills and use as many of their senses as possible to investigate the world around them. Many trail maps have fun names for these odd formations in nature, but if they don’t, they can always make up their own nicknames for them.
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. To prevent this from happening, here are 15 hiking activities for cub scouts that you can incorporate in your itinerary.
9. Human Notebook
While everyone is on a hike without any pencil and paper, each girl will act as one page of a notebook wherein she is responsible for remembering one thing that happened during the hike. Upon returning or during a rest stop, read the “human notebook.”
10. Map Treasure Hunt
For this activity, assign each girl to draw a sketch map that shows where they have hidden a treasure. They then have to exchange maps with another person and look for their treasure.
11. The Never-ending Story
In this activity, you have to help the girls create a unique story as they hike. Do this by having one person begin telling a story, and then pass it along to another person so they can continue the plot, and so on.
The rules can vary in this activity. You can either let each girl add one sentence to the story or a girl can stop mid-sentence and another girl has to finish that sentence. This activity is a great way to keep them hiking together and being creative while laughing and having fun.
12. Scavenger Hunt
This activity can be planned ahead. The girls should have a list of things to find, although they cannot always keep them. The list can include things like these:
- Find something wet.
- Look for something short.
- Find something green.
- Find something that has branches but no leaves.
- Find something hard.
- Find something brown.
- Look for something orange.
- Find something that a bird could eat.
- Find something pointy.
- Look for something soft.
They can draw a picture of the items they found, list how many items they came across, and discuss their favorites.
13. Night Hike
If the girls are masters of daytime hiking, you can shake things up by taking them on their favorite trail after dark. Try picking a night with some bright, natural light from the moon, leave the flashlights at home or store them in their packs as these can destroy night vision, and begin the hike while letting them learn how to see the world through their “night vision.”
14. “Oh My” Expedition
See how many natural occurrences the girls can find. These can be a crushed ant hill, a leaf eaten by ants, a broken spider web, an empty shell, a lost feather, etc. As they find these things, discuss how that happened and what, if any, impact they might have on nature.
15. ABC Hike
This activity is particularly beneficial for young hikers. Ask them to start identifying items or features on the trail that begins with the letter A. They then have to work through all the letters in the alphabet. If they get stuck on the harder letters, like X or Z, you can let them try and find trees with trunks with an X-shape or sticks that have fallen and formed an X or Z pattern.
When it comes to any kind of activities with kids, it’s very important that you take their attention span into consideration. While a lot of adults may enjoy the peace and tranquility that a hike brings, your girl scouts may find it boring. To avoid this scenario, you need to arm yourself with various activities that will make your hike through the woods interesting and enjoyable for your girl scouts.
If you’re still wondering about what activities you can do with the troop or are nervous about the hike, you can always get a guide for your very first hike with them or contact your local parks and trails to see if they have guided hikes and programs for girls scouts. Although, the activities listed above can already turn a hike into an awesome outdoor adventure that you and your girl scouts will fondly remember in the future.