Have a specific idea in mind for the hike. It may be something you tell the boys ahead of time or maybe you don’t tell them until after the hike is done. Here is a list of ideas taken from the Cub Scout Leaders How-To Book and the Mac-Scouter‟s web site (http://www.macscouter.com/CubScouts/PowWow99/SCCC/June99.pdf).
MONOGRAM HIKE: Find three or more objects beginning with your initials.
TREE HIKE: See how many different kinds of trees you can find. Get descriptions of bark, seeds, leaves, etc.
BIRD WATCHING HIKE: Describe the birds they see; size, coloring, beak type, where they are. Take a bird identification book or someone who knows birds.
INDIAN HIKE: Practice walking like Indians, as quietly as possible, in a single file.
SOUND HIKE: Hear and identify all sounds heard along the way.
WATER HIKE: Follow a stream or brook. Look for all sorts of water life such as ‘skater’ bugs, tadpoles, fish, etc.
HOMES HIKE: Look for nature’s homes, like nests, holes, spider webs, etc. (Don’t disturb them! Don’t put your hand in a place you can‟t see, either.)
MAP HIKE: Make a sketch of your route as you proceed.
CURIOSITY HIKE: Find some odd or curious object along the way, such as bark, stone, stick, etc. By using your imagination, tell what the object represents.
RAINBOW HIKE: Find and list as many colors in nature as possible. This is especially good after a rain.
COLORS HIKE: Give each boy a list of colors to try and locate on the hike. The items can be collected or simply noted, depending on the area you are in.
CRAFT HIKE: Collect nature items to work with later in crafts projects. Rocks can be turned into animals, leaves can be used for splatter painting, dried weeds, flowers, pods, seeds and the like can be glued into nature pictures. (Check with the park first to see if you can take anything out of the area. While this might sound fun, I find it contradicts Leave No Trace ideals that I try to instill in the boys)
ONCE AROUND THE BLOCK: Hikers go “once around the block (or a short distance)” then their observations are tested. Who has seen the most round things? What kinds of trees were seen? What did you see that was orange? etc.
A WONDER-FULL HIKE: At each destination point or rest stop, each hiker tells of the “most wonderful” thing he saw on the way. Stops can be as frequent as you desire.
STOP AND SPOT HIKE: While hiking the leader stops and says, “I spot a _____,” naming a familiar object. Everyone in the group who sees the object raises his hand. This is a good observation game.
BLINDFOLD HIKE: Divide boys in pairs. Have one blindfolded. The other leads him a short distance, quietly and slowly. Encourage the blindfolded boy to listen, smell and feel the surroundings. Trade places.
TREASURE HIKE: A trail laid with treasure at the end.(Look up geocaching for additional fun)
SEALED ORDERS HIKE: Group lays trail using notes that give directions of how to go and what to do on the way.
TRACKING & TRAILING HIKE: A variety of trail signs are laid down by the first group which indicates a trail for the second group to follow.
ALIEN HIKE: Advance preparation is needed. You will need to set up about 10 odd sites for them to discover. Examples: Put a pine cone on an azalea bush, a rose in an apple tree, a large maple leaf in a fir tree, etc.
SMELL WALK: Sniff your way around the block. Write down the odors you recognize. (Did the smell make you hungry? Happy? Alert? Afraid? Angry? Nervous? Sad?)
SHADOW WALK: Walk only in the shadows. This may require some jumping. (Don‟t plan this walk at noon since that is when shadows are shortest!)
FAMILY SPECIAL: Have Cub Scout-parent hikes. These are especially fun in the evenings, but should be kept short. Big and little sister/brother hikes are fun, too.
COME TO YOUR SENSES: Hike, stopping often to see, hear, feel, smell, and, with caution, taste things along the way. Feeling is a special delight. Touch the bark of trees, moss, and flower petals. Sniff the air for new smells. Listen for sounds.
TEXTURE COLLECTING: Using one color crayon, fill a piece of newsprint paper with rubbings found on a hike. (Rubbing–Place paper on the object, e.g. bark, and rub the flat side of the crayon across the paper, picking up the texture of the tree.) Try rocks, streets, sand and grass. Try drawing a picture with large spaces beforehand and filling in with rubbings.
EVENING HIKE: Find North by stars. Learn to recognize some constellations. Tell stories about them. Try flashlight signaling.
DETECTIVE HIKE: Spot and list all evidence of man in nature (litter, footprints, fire scars, chopped trees, etc.). What litter you may find, pick up and dispose of properly.
MEMORY HIKE: This is partially played after a hike or trip to the zoo or park. During the outing, tell the boys to observe everything very carefully so they can make a list of all that they have seen. Just after the outing, hand out paper and pencils and have the boys make their list. See who was most observant.
SOCK WALK: This is best done when weeds have ripe seeds. Pull old large wool socks on over the shoes and walk through the weeds in a field. Take off the socks and examine them with a magnifying glass to see what seeds were picked up. How are they attached to the sock? You might try planting the seeds to see what kind of plants come up. If the sock is really old and not reusable, put it on a meat tray, keep it moist and see what happens.
SEASON HIKE: Select a hiking area you can hike in each season of the year. Each season, boys make a list of things they see along the way. Have them draw a particular area along the trail and how it changes.