Children really enjoy playing Forest School games and they form an important aspect to my sessions at Roots and Branches. They benefit tremendously from the physical aspect of playing games as well as developing their social and emotional skills. Below are some examples and instructions to the games we play:
A great woodland game but possibly not as good to play in a school environment unless you have access to a wooded area. One child, the Eagle is blindfolded (they stand in the same position throughout the game) and the other children spread out at a distance. You then count down from 5 to 0 and the children have to make their way towards the ‘Eagle’. When you get to zero you shout out ‘ mask coming off’. The children have to hide behind trees or bushes or any available hiding place (they must be able to see the Eagle) while the Eagle with blindfold removed has to then try and spy them. Give the Eagle 10 to 20 secs to do this and any child that is spotted is out of the game. The blindfold is replaced and the children then have to make their way towards the Eagle again as you count down from 5 to 0 once more. The winning child is the child that is closest to the Eagle in the final round (you decide on the number of rounds but 4 or 5 works well depending upon the size of the area) without being spotted.
Bear, Mosquito, Salmon
A really fun game that doesn’t have a winning player and can be played for as long as the kids stay interested!
Bears eat salmon, salmon eat mosquitos and mosquitos bite bears.
Divide the group into 2 equal teams (up to 30 kids) and tell them they have to come up with 2 choices i.e. salmon first and bear second or mosquito first and mosquito second. The teams they go about 50metres apart and decide on their choices from their start position. Once ready they come back to a mid point and spread out facing each other in a line. You then say ‘BE A BEAR’ and they roar at each other, Then ‘BE A SALMON’, they do their salmon move 1 and finally ‘BE A MOSQUITO’ and they buzz at each other. You then say 1,2,3 and each team shouts out what they are. If one team shouts out bear and the other salmon the salmons have to turn and run back as fast as they can to the start position while the bears chase them (bears eat salmon). Anyone tagged joins the other team for the next round. The reason for having two choices is that often both teams will shout out the same animal at which point its a stalemate and neither teams runs away. You then repeat the process with their second choice.
Sit everyone down and in circle time and ask them to choose an animal they would like to be. Write the names of each animal in a list. Two children cannot choose the same animal. They go and ask them to find 2 or 3 sticks around 30 to 40cm in length. Pick a catcher who has to guard the sticks which are placed in a pile. The rest of the children spread out in a really big circle with the sticks and catcher in the middle. You then read out the names of 4 or 5 animals and those children have to run in and grab a stick and get back to the outside of the circle without being tagged by the catcher. If they are tagged they are out of the game and have to sit down and you mark them off the list. You then read out the names of another four or five animals and so on. If a child runs into the circle but then runs out again in a panic without a stick they are disqualified!. Eventually you will have 2 players left and a grand final on your hands! May the best animal win!
A real favourite game with the kids. Tell them that they were on a wonderful cruise but their ship went down in a terrible storm! They have been cast adrift in the open ocean in shark infested waters. Elect one shark to start the game. The ‘survivors have to run between objects i.e. tree stumps, benches, tarp when you shout ‘SWIM FOR IT!’ The shark tries to tag them. If the child is tagged when they are running and not standing off the ground or on a mat etc they then become a shark as well and the game continues until there are only a few survivors left and they are the winners!
Spot the Coin
Have the children sit in a circle and begin by pretending to pass an imaginary coin round the group. Tell everyone that you mustn’t let anyone else see the coin. There is always one child that doesn’t understand there isn’t a real coin and gets confused which is very amusing! Then get everyone up and instruct them to imagine passing and receiving the imaginary coin. The kids intermingle in a compact space passing and receiving the imaginary coin. During this time slip a real coin into one child’s hand and whisper from them to be very quiet about it. Then stop everyone elect 2 detectives and say that a real coin is now in the game and the detectives have to spot it. The game then starts again with the real coin being passed secretly. If the detective thinks they suspect someone they stop the game and say ‘HEY YOU, YOU STOLE MY COIN’? with the response ‘NO I DIDNT’ , SHOW ME YOUR GREASY MITTS!!!, TURN THEM OVER! if they are right there’s a big round of applause, if not its a big apology to the accused child to much uproar! Once the detectives have had 2 or 3 guesses change over the detectives and start again,