Taking a hike around camp is a great way to get your girls active at camp, explore the great outdoors, and perhaps work on some badgework. Below are some easy ways to spice up your hikes with girls and really get them involved in the experience.
**Always watch out for poison ivy at camp whenever you are hiking along the trails!
Color Hike: Bring with you a selection of crayons or paint chip samples. Have each girl select one or several (avoid greens and browns for more of a challenge!). For the duration of the hike, girls should be on the lookout for items that match the color(s) in their hand as closely as possible.
Scavenger Hunt Hike: Keep it as simple as playing an outdoor game of “I Spy”. Create your own list of things to find (four shades of green, something man-made, heart-shaped rock, etc.), or print off a scavenger hunt bingo such as this one (don’t forget pencils!) for girls to use on their hike.
ABC Hike: Pair up girls. Each team must look for items (or sounds!) that begin with each letter of the alphabet, starting with A. Each team is competing against each other to get as far through the alphabet as possible, so they don’t want to shout out what they find! You cannot move to the next letter until an object is found with the letter before it.
Macro Hike: Have an adult with a camera or smartphone walk ahead on the trail and take a macro (super close-up photo) of something along the trail: a mushroom, knot in a tree, crack in a rock, etc. The close-up should focus on part of the object rather than the whole thing (can’t make it too easy!). When the group arrives in the vicinity, give the girls a boundary (maybe 10-by-10 ft.), show them the picture, and then it’s a race to see who finds the object first! Could be played with teams of two for large groups.
Bugs Hike: How many different bugs can you find on your hike? Looking high and low (even under logs – just make sure to put the log back in its place), explore the nooks and crannies of the woods. Adults – even if this makes you squeamish, let the girls have fun exploring. It’s always amazing what they’ll unearth. And we promise most of the bugs at camp are harmless!
Sound Hike: Hear and identify all sounds heard along the way.
Homes Hike: Look for nature’s homes, like nests, holes, spider webs (but make sure not to disturb them!).
Shadow Walk: Walk only in the shadows. This may require some jumping!
Fit on a Penny: Bring a penny for each girl. During the hike, find a spot to stop and give each girl a penny. Give them 5-10 minutes to find as many things as possible that will fit on the penny. Have each girl share what she finds.
Sketching or Drawing: Bring notebooks or paper and pencils/crayons. Have each girl find a comfortable spot along or just off the trail and draw what she sees – close up and scenery can be equally beautiful, so let each girl choose what she wants to draw!
Phenology: Phenology is the study of plant and animal cycles throughout the seasons. If you come to camp multiple times per year (although you can still do this just once!), find a special place at camp, and have each girl choose her own special spot within that space. This could be the base of a tree, next to a big rock, on a log, etc. Bring notebooks or paper and pencils/crayons. Have each girl spend several minutes observing and writing down (or draw if she would prefer!) what she sees/hears/smells/feels from the nature around her. If you come back multiple times per year, return to the same special place and do the observations again. Compare observations each time.