Camo Hunt

Add a twist to the usual trail walk and give kids a chance to discover a powerful nature concept: camouflage! What kid doesn’t like to go on the hunt for treasure? This time, the treasure is purposefully pre-planted yarn of 2 types: bright and colorful and camouflage (green, tan and brown). Kids will get hooked on the “hunt,” grabbing as much yarn as they can. In the process, they should also grasp the idea that, out in nature, bright colored yarn is easier to find than green or brown yarn a great jumping off point for introducing the concept of camouflage and what it might mean for creatures of prey and predators in the wild. 

The Guide

Step 1: Prep your yarn.

You’ll need at least two different types of colored of yarn: one vibrant (pink, purple, teal, yellow, orange, etc.) and one that is green and/or brown. Cut pieces of each yarn (about 6-8 inches each).

Step 2: Lay the trail.

Go out and place equal amounts of each type of yarn along a patch of trail, woods or any space in your park or yard. Sprinkle strands on the ground, hang them on limbs of trees or on the leaves of low plants, leave them peeking out of logs, etc.

Step 3: Hike/hunt with the kids.

Then, bring kids on a trail walk, asking them if they notice anything. Assuming they’ll notice the yarn (if not, point it out), give them time to hunt for the yarn.

Step 4: Reflect on their findings.

After a few minutes of hunting, call kids together to share and look at what they’ve found. Ask them what they notice and prompt a bit if they don’t readily notice that there are two types of colors and that they have found more of the bright colored yarn than the green/brown type. Let them know that you hid the same number of pieces of each color. 

Wonder, “Why do you think you found more bright colored yarn than green/brown yarn?" Give kids a chance to share their ideas and then introduce the idea that colors that are similar to the colors outside camouflage or blend in, making them difficult to see. Wonder how a rabbit’s fur might help it to camouflage in to its environment. Do the hunt again and welcome your child to hide the yarn for you to find.

Step 5: Leave no trace.

Sweep back through the trail to ensure that you've gotten all of the yarn.

Extend the play!

To help kids take on the perspective of predators and prey in the wild, hide the yarn again. This time, invite kids to pretend they are hungry parent wolves in search of food (yarn) for their pups. Can they find food for their pack?

Why is this activity great for kids?

Searching for colors in nature is an age-appropriate way for kids to discover the concept of camouflage while developing empathy for creatures who rely on camouflage as protection from predators. A camo hunt also helps hone visual sensory skills and subtly encourages kids to take a closer look at the world around them. Plus, there is nothing like a hunt to motivate even the busiest explorer to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand.

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