Right, put your walking shoes on, take the dog along and get some fresh air. We love it: going into the woods. Lovely, isn't it? When our girls were younger, we always made sure we went for a fun forest game. Let's face it, alternating a good forest walk with some forest games makes it fun for the whole family. When they are happy, we are happy. Wondering what we did, among other things? We have listed our most fun forest games for you. The 20 most fun forest games to play with children.
Easy to play, but always fun. One person hides in the forest and the rest can try to find him or her. If it gets too difficult, the person may make animal noises to give some directions.
Tracking in the forest
Beforehand, make sure you have a map with some photos or descriptions of things you might encounter in the forest. For example, pine cones, oak leaves, mushrooms, beechnuts, certain beetles, etc. The children should try to find all the things and tick them off on the sheet.
To make it easy for you, we have created a ready-made free downloadable cross-off bingo card for the forest. You can download it below. How quickly will your children find the pictures?
A classic forest game: "I throw the ball in the air for..."
We have played this so many times. I throw the ball in the air for…. But it still always fun. For this, you need a ball and a group of children. Play this forest game in an open space in the forest, with all the children standing in a large circle. The one with the ball shouts, "I throw the ball in the air for.... ". And then this child chooses a name of one of the children and throws the ball high in the air. If you hear your name then you have to try to grab the ball as quickly as possible. And the rest of the children run away as fast as they can.
Once you have caught the ball, you shout "Stop" and all the children stand still with their legs wide. You must then try to throw the ball through one of the children's legs. If you succeed, that person gets a penalty point. If the ball rolls past it, nothing happens. The person through whose legs the other person tried to throw the ball, can throw the ball into the air again. You will play the game until someone has three penalty points.
Jeu de boules with pine cones
Actually, you play this game almost the same as proper jeu de boules. The difference is that you play this forest game with... things from the forest. Each child looks for three pine cones to throw later. You make three big circles, kind of like a dartboard on the ground. For example, the inner smallest circle is 10 points, the circle around it 5 and the outer circle 2. Now the children can take turns throwing from a starting line drawn by you. The one with the most points will win the game.
Coocoo coocoo! Forest games with animal sounds
Write all kinds of animals and the sound they make on different cards. Divide the group into two groups. Each person from the same group gets an animal card and hides in the forest. They should occasionally make the sound from their hiding place. The other group are the searchers. They have to listen carefully where they hear a sound. When they have found someone, they have to guess which animal it is. If they get it right, then that group gets a point.
The forest chasing game
Are you with a large group of children and do they have too much energy? Then this forest game is an ideal game to play.
Create a route in a square, with each corner being a base for a group of children. Divide the group into four groups, each with an equal number of players. On your signal, one person from each group goes around all the bases as quickly as possible. When he/she returns to the group, the next one may run. If you catch up with someone from another group, they have to join your group. You can play this game until only one group remains. Or if you have less patience, stop when one group has no players left. The largest group will then win the game.
A very simple forest game to play in between. It works just like tag, but when you stand near a tree you can't be tagged. So you play this game in a place where there are quite a few trees at 'running distance' from each other. If you are tagged, you continue with two taggers. Until finally no one is left.
The favourite among forest games: Real-life Stratego
Who has not played this in the past? Real-life Stratego is perfect for playing in a forest. A brief explanation. You have two teams, one of which has to capture the other team's flag. Thereby, just like in the board game Stratego, you have different roles. Someone with a higher rank gets to tag someone with a lower rank. And there are of course a few roles in between, which can take down the strongest ones.
If you are tagged, you hand in the card. You may take a new role from your own team. Each team has a certain amount of cards they can use. If you run out of roles, you are out of the game. So it becomes even easier for the opponent to take the flag.
One of the most famous forest games: Scavenger hunt in the forest
Surely, a scavenger hunt is every child's favourite game to play. Set out a route in the forest in advance, for example using arrows, or affix maps to the tree with clues. It makes it extra fun to do different tasks during the route. For instance, certain leaves they have to look for or riddles they have to solve. Just be sure to tidy everything up at the end of the game.
>>Want to know more? Then here you can check out our scavenger hunts.
Forest games which you'll never forget: Memory
Let the children find sets of forest objects during your walk. For example, two chestnuts, two identical leaves, two beechnuts, two identical flowers, etc. Bring paper cups from home for the children to put all the items in. Put all the cups upside down at a picnic spot. That way you have your own forest memory. A super fun forest game that you can easily play again at home.
Pressing leaves or flowers for your own herbarium
Let the children search for beautiful leaves or wild flowers from the forest. You can then dry and press these leaves and flowers at home. You can do this by putting them in a thick (old) book, for example, with tissue paper or kitchen roll in between. Change the paper from time to time so that the moisture can be soaked up. After a few weeks, you will have your own flat dried flowers or leaves that the children can use to make their own herbarium.
Forest detectives: Spot the five differences
Who can best spot what has changed? That is actually the point of this game. Let the children look carefully at a part of the forest of about 10 by 10 metres. Then the group turns around and one of the children gets to change five parts from this part of the forest. Make sure it is visible to the group though. Then the children get to guess. One of the most fun, simple forest games to do in between.
Pine cone jumping
Work together to find the biggest pine cone you can. Attach a rope about one metre long to it. Now one person stands in the middle and the rest in a circle around it. The person in the middle will spin around with the pine cone. Who can keep jumping over it the longest?
Educational forest games: recognising trees
What kind of trees are there in the forest? With this educational forest game, your child will learn all kinds of things about trees. It works as follows: Blindfold your child and carefully walk to a tree together. Let your child feel and smell the bark. And give him/her a leaf of the tree so he/she can feel it. Then bring him/her back to the starting point. Can he/she then find the right tree? Then look together at what the tree looks like. What is the tree called, what leaves does it have, does it have fruit, etc.? A fun and educational activity.
One of the most creative forest games: Pictionary in the sand
Do you know the game Pictionary? Do you know you can turn this into a forest game too? Make cards with names of all kinds of things from the forest: animals, plants, trees, water, etc. Put these in an envelope. One child must then draw in the sand with a stick what is on the cards. The rest of the group has to guess.
Forest games in the dark: the Night Watch
This is one of the coolest forest games to play in the dark or twilight. Pretty exciting! One child from the group is the night watch. They have to wait outside the group. The other children are given a number for the hours of the clock. So from 1 to 12.
When this is done, the night watch may come. He/she calls out, "Here comes the night watch. The clock strikes 3 times."(or of course any other number of your choice) In this case, the one with number three, must sound three chimes of a bell. This can be done with a bell, or on a telephone, or by hitting a pan lid with a stick, for example. Then the person makes an animal sound. Now the night watch has to find the person. He/she can repeat the sentence over and over and have someone make a sound. When all the children have been found, the game is over.
Count down hide and seek in the bush
This game is often played during PE at school, but is also a definite favourite in the forest games category. There is one searcher who counts down from 10 to 0 with his/her eyes closed. In those 10 seconds, the rest of the children have to hide. You then have ten seconds to find them. Anyone found after those ten seconds is out of the game.During the next round, the players who are still in the game can participate. You then count down from 9 to zero. You again have ten seconds to find them. So each round, the hiders have less time to find a good hiding spot. When everyone is found, the game is over.
What do most children love to do most of all? Yes, you got it right. Building huts. At home with blankets, in the classroom, but the most fun is still building huts in the forest. Look for big branches together and put them around a big tree like a wigwam. This will definitely keep them busy for hours.
Geocaching in the forest
For those not familiar with this game. Geocaching is a kind of digital treasure hunt, which you can do anywhere in the world. You use GPS coordinates, via an app on your phone, to find a treasure. These ‘treasures’ are all over the world, hidden and set out by other people. When you have found the treasure using the coordinates, you put your name on the list and put it back for the next treasure hunters. It's one of the coolest forest games for kids, but definitely a cool activity for adults in the forest too. Here you can check out more information on geocaching.
Enjoy the forest games!
Got enough ideas to get some fresh air in the forest with your kids? There are bound to be some fun forest games among them to do.
Do you have any fun ideas that are not listed here? Let us know. We always like to know, of course.