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Hiking with kids can sometimes feel like a forced march, we’ve all experienced kids complaining about walking for walking’s sake. Obviously, the best remedy for reluctant young hikers is regular doses of candy, but the next best remedy is also super fun and does not contribute to cavities! This is a nature color game that is a trade secret of environmental educators and is really easy to play.

Simply visit your local paint or hardware store and pick up an interesting collection of paint chip cards in a range of colors. Once you hit the trail with your young companions, challenge them to find something along that trail that matches the color they randomly select from your stack of paint chips. In my experience, the color challenge sends kids racing down the trails and encourages them to turn over leaves, peak under logs, and search for unusual nature treasures that they might otherwise overlook.

A few top tips: Have some unusual colors in your back pocket in case your children need a challenge. Also, if you’re hiking someplace with any plants or animals that your kids should avoid touching, be sure to mention that in the game rules before you get started (i.e. poison oak!). Lastly, I find that kids enjoy having a photo taken of the nature treasures they find along the trail and frankly, I enjoy it too.

Have fun out there and share your best photos with us on Facebook, I’d love to see them!


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About Emily Burns

Emily joined Save the Redwoods League as the Director of Science in 2010 after studying redwood forest ecology for seven years.


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