Quiet Games & Activities
Each person goes out on their own and takes some quiet time. They can either try to take in as much as possible with their senses, or they can reflect, or they can try to find something special. Afterward, they are given a chance to share what they saw.
Each camper goes out for a walk, trying to be as stealthy as possible. By focusing on body awareness, presence, and relationship to the woods they walk through, they should think and feel connected to nature and wildlife.
Hula Hoop Toss
Toss a hula hoop onto the ground and see if you can find 40 different things in it.
- Considerations for Success: Best with small groups of 2–4 campers. Can break a larger group into small groups and use multiple hula hoops).
Purpose: A calm, seated memory game
Materials needed: Objects from nature.
Instructions: Show a group of nature objects, then cover them with a cloth. Participants try to remember the objects.
Eagle Eye (Animal Mimicry, Sensory Awareness)
Purpose: Emphasizes the keen sight and awareness of eagles, and the instinct of prey to hide while still watching the predatory eagle.
Instructions: One person is chosen to be the Eagle (or you can use more than one Eagle if the group is large). The Eagle chooses or is assigned a “nest”—an area to which they are confined during the game. The Eagle can look in all directions but must stay in that location. Play begins as the Eagle closes their eyes and counts to 30 seconds. All other players are Prey (can call them Mice or Rabbit, etc.) and move quickly to hide. All players must maintain visual contact with the Eagle from their hiding place. After the count, the Eagle opens their eyes and tries to locate the players/Prey. When they see a player, they should identify them by location and their name if they know who it is, or can call out items of clothing, colors, etc. Examples, “I see someone with a red shirt next to the oak tree,” “Someone wearing a blue baseball cap lying in the ferns,” or “Someone with green leggings is under the little bush at the bottom of the hill.” Play continues until the Eagle locates all Prey. If play extends beyond 5 minutes, Eagle loudly announces that Prey has 10 seconds to move closer, and closes their eyes for 10 seconds. All players must move closer and maintain visual contact with the Eagle from their new hiding place. If play extends beyond another 2-3 minutes, repeat the 10 second call. Last player discovered can be the next Eagle.
What Else Is There?
Ecosystem naming game. Facilitator chooses an ecosystem/bioregion, i.e. the sea, prairie, forest, etc. Facilitator says, “We are going to the <sea>. We will see <seaweed>.” Next person says, “We are going to the <sea>. We will see <seaweed> and <fish>.” Each next person adds another item, continuing around the circle.
Purpose: A calm, seated sensory awareness game
Number of people needed: Any
Suggested age range: Any
Materials needed: Objects from nature. Double-check group for allergies, such as tree nuts, etc.
Instructions: All participants are seated in a circle blindfolded. The facilitator passes nature objects one at a time. These could be from a category such as all plants, all seeds, etc. Each participant quietly examines the object and passes it on to the next participant. Older youth/adults, can pass 8 or more objects; for younger groups, pass fewer objects. After everyone has handled the objects, hide them from view. Participants remove blindfolds and try to name all of the objects. Can add complexity by asking for the order the objects were passed.
Options for sanitation:
- Groups in pairs, one blindfolded and led verbally by the other to touch items and trying to name them.
- All participants are blindfolded, and the instructor hands out the same item to all participants at once (i.e. acorns).
- Use hand sanitizer before and after playing.
Purpose: A playful, fun, and movement-oriented ice-breaker for any group. Younger players might need modeling to keep the story going, or one facilitator could lead the entire activity.
Number of people needed: 4 or more
Suggested age range: Any—can simplify for younger participants
Materials needed: None
Instructions: Tell a nature story while acting each part out. The story passes from person to person (can assign turns or allow participation to unfold randomly). Begin with, “Once there was a tall tree” (reaching arms up high). “It was a willow tree” (bend over at the waist). “Its branches dipped into a pond” (drag fingers around in the “water”). And continue with the story, such as, “There was a fish swimming in the pond” (move around like a swimming fish). Alternately, the facilitator could lead the entire activity.