Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reinforce in kids what to do when lost

If lost, hug a tree. Photo courtesy of George Hodan.
We’ve all heard the advice that if lost the best thing to do is to stay put and let someone find you. Not staying put means using up much needed energy, food and water, and risks moving farther away from where search crews would look.

While lost adult hikers with excellent navigation skills might be able to find their way back to civilization, children won’t be able to do so. One effective way to reinforce the rule of “If lost, stay put” with a group of young children is through a simple game that can be played at the park or during a rest break on the hike.

Have the kids play tag. They are “safe” (and remain so), however, if they touch a tree. They may touch a tree as long as they like to remain safe.

To add a little competition to the game, limit to one the number of children that can touch any given tree. In addition, have all the kids start at the center of a group of trees that they must run to.
After the game, link and reinforce the message that if lost the best thing to do is to stay put by touching a trailside tree.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.