Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fun activity to get kids motivated for hike: Make Your Own Hiking-Themed Board Game

A board game can be a great way to generate interest in hiking.
Photo courtesy of South Carolina DNR
Packing the gear and hoisting a backpack over the shoulders is a lot easier to think about than to do, however. After a long week at work, there are always enough chores around the house to keep you busy, and sometimes you just want to plop down in the sofa and relax.

Even if you get yourself motivated to go, the kids’ calls to instead go to the local water park may drown out your announcement that a family hike is planned this weekend.
What to do? Try this pre-hike activity with children to get them (and you!) excited about hitting the trail rather than the Wii console: Make Your Own Board Game.

But why settle for a video game when you and your children can make a board game about hiking? You don’t need much, just some clean pieces of paper that can be taped together (though if you have a large piece of construction paper, that’s better), different colored pencils, markers or crayons to draw with, and some tokens and dice (or a spinner) borrowed from a board game you already have.

Using the paper, draw two parallel lines that squiggle around the paper. Mark one end “TRAILHEAD” (this is where the players start) and the other end “DESTINATION” (this is the end point). Divide these two squiggly lines into smaller, equal spaced segments (try to make at least 30-50 segments or the game will be too short). This is your hiking path through the woods. Now add obstacles, such as “Log across Path,” “Rock Slide” or “Bear Chases You,” writing them on various segments. For the obstacles, players must go back three spaces. Next, add “Gorps,” such as “Picked up Garbage on Trail” or “Helped Lost Hiker,” writing them on other segments. For the “Gorps,” players get to go ahead two spaces. You can decorate the various obstacles and gorps with cartoon drawings or pictures cut from magazines.

Players advance the number of spaces that appear when they roll the dice and take turns (Of course, you can modify this by adding “Take extra turn” squares or allowing those who roll a six to go again). The first player to reach ‘DESTINATION” wins.

Materials: Clean pieces of paper that can be taped together, transparent tape, different colored pencils, markers or crayons, tokens, dice (or a spinner)

Ages: 4 and up

Learn about more than a hundred other hiking diversions for kids in Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities.