Since the release of Pokemon Go, more and more people are outside to game in augmented reality. Essentially, players are out to catch virtual Pokemon characters. Boil it down and they are virtual hunters. This begs the question about traditional games in the great outdoors. Aren’t they still relevant and fun? We think so and that’s why we put together some great adventure games for boys.
Certainly, the adventure of Pokemon is different from wilderness adventures but wilderness adventures can help children and adults build necessary wilderness survival skills while having fun. After all, one cannot eat a pokemon character but an actual hunt can produce food. Young boys love adventure games and we are here to help by providing you with some great games. Here’s our favorite list of wilderness activities for young boys -although girls may like them too.
The Fire Building Contest:
Appropriate age: 7+
Materials: Kindling, matches, flint/steel, twine, two 36” stakes, stopwatch
Time: 45 min.
Adventure games for boys pic 2Boys love a good competition. Add the element of fire to the competition and this is a guaranteed good time. Ideally, this activity is played with 4-6 boys so that they can be in groups of 2 -3 and compete. To set this game up, simply pound the two stakes into the ground about three feet apart. Then string the twine three times up between the stakes. The bottom line should start at 18” above ground level. The next two lines are spaced 6” above the bottom line.
The participants are to build a fire between the stakes and below the twine as quickly as possible. The first fire to burn through all three lines wins (this is why more than one group is good). The boys will be able to test their basic fire-building skills.
To add difficulty, require the use of only 1 match or the use of flint and steel to start the fire. Another added difficulty is to soak the twine in water before stringing it up. It will require a longer burning -and more successful- fire to burn them. See an example contest here.
It goes without saying that all fire-making should be done safely (US Forest Service Guidelines for safe fire building).
Adventure Games for Boys: Escape and Evasion
Appropriate age: 7+
Materials: Closed Toed Shoes, Insect Spray, Large socks, face paint, flashlight, Long pants and sleeves, Water, Radio or Cell Phone.
Time: 1 – 2 hr.
Adventure games for boys pic 3When you think of adventure games for boys this one is a classic. The goal is to outmaneuver and outthink a team of opponents. Ideally, this game is played at night. It is also best to play this game in a wilderness area that is well known by the adults.
Two groups of boys and a sponsoring adult for each group are needed. One group plays the role of the catchers, the other plays the evaders. For safety, each 2-3 member group of boys will also have a radio or cell phone and flashlight to call for help should they need it.
The game setup is simple. Both teams cover up their exposed skin and apply face paint. Insect spray is also a good idea as this activity occurs in the bush. Large socks can be worn over the shoes to soften footfalls. This is a good time to teach the boys how to travel quietly and without giving any visual clues to a potential catcher. Learn more of the basics about evasion here.
One group is blindfolded and taken out to a starting point (by car or lead while holding hands). At the starting point, they are told a general direction in which to travel. Depending on the geography of the land and age of the kids, an adult can tag along for supervision but they shouldn’t direct the group. Let the kids make the decisions, develop their strategy, and solve the problems. Their primary goal is to get back to the campfire without being detected. These are the evaders.
The catcher’s goal is to prevent evaders from getting to the campfire. A catcher catches the evaders by tagging the evaders. However, the “tag” is done with a flashlight instead of a touch. The last thing that we need is groups of people running blindly through the wilderness in the dark. This “tag” is also fast and has a great distance so evaders need to be especially careful.
The first round is done when all evaders are either captured or sitting around the campfire. Once one round is complete, switch the group roles, reset the simulation, and do it again. This second round is usually harder because they have learned the lay of the land. To even the odds, you may require the catchers to remain standing at all times (no crouching or lying down).
This game is usually followed by a good storytelling session around the fire. It is also good to have a snack or hot chocolate by the fire. This game teaches good strategy, camouflage, and tracking skills. A human is much harder to track than a pokemon and will likely make more memories and enthusiasm than an app.
Nature Diorama with a Story
Appropriate age: 5+
Materials: Items found in Nature and a Campfire Story
Time: 45 min.
fire-12020Adventure games for boys pic 440_640-minI love campfire stories and this is a great way for boys to interact with stories. Choose your favorite campfire story (Check some out here). Sit the boys down and tell them most of the story but not the ending. Once you stop reading tell them that you aren’t going to tell them the ending. It is their job to tell the ending.
Their task is to go into nature and collect natural elements (sticks, rocks, moss, leaves, needles, etc) and construct the last scene of the story in a diorama. Of course, they’ll have to guess what the end of the story is. Depending on the size of the group, plan review time accordingly.
At the end of this activity, the entire group will go from diorama to hear and see each version of the end of the story. Once all stories are told, it is time to read the actual ending of the story.
The advantages of this game are that it can be done with any sized group. It also forces the kids to engineer pictures and thinks creatively with the materials around them. On an abstract level, they must project and perform the end of the story. The story that gets the closest to the actual ending of the story gets a prize.
So there you have it! Actual adventure games for boys to play in the wilderness that is practical and educational. These kids can learn survival skills, strategy, engineering, tracking, and camouflage with just these three games. Of course, there are many many more adventure games but Pokemon Go isn’t one of them! Pokemon just don’t taste very good.