Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Encourages exercise, creativity, and fun

Everything in nature moves. Rocks shift. The Earth spins. Winds blow. Water travels. Animals hop, waddle, scurry, scamper, run, jump, crawl, and slither. The outdoors offers a wide assortment of movements, from a twirling leaf on its descent to the ground to an inchworm measuring its way upward on a flower stem.

Get your children outside and practice taking a walk on the wild side by pantomiming movements in nature. Play wild-style Simon Says. First select a leader. The leader will give commands to the game players, who must move toward the designated finish line–or the leader–via the movements the leader calls. For example:

• Simon says, “Waddle like a penguin.”
• Simon says, “Twirl like a leaf.”
• Simon says, “Slither like a snake.”
• Simon says, “Stomp like a bear.”
• Simon says, “Hop like a rabbit.”
• Simon says, “Roll like a wave.”
• Simon says, “Creep slowly like a sloth.”

Create variations of the game by using specific types of movements, such as only using the actions of slow animals for one round, then using only those of fast animals for the next. Play again using movements in nature that aren’t animal related, mimicking the wind, water, rain, waves, river currents, rolling stones, and so on. The first person to make it to the finish line is the winner and gets to be the next leader and call out wild commands.

What other tradition outdoor games lend themselves to “wild” games? Have fun creating your own adaptations of personal favorites!

Help Me Understand
Q: Does everything on Earth move?
A: Even though it may seem like certain objects in nature remain still at all times, everything on our planet moves. The earth’s surface is always gradually shifting, little by little, so even mountains move on occasion. Trees may be rooted, but their branches sway in the wind.

This activity is excerpted from:
I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You & Your Kids
Discover the Wonders of Nature
Jennifer Ward
2008, Trumpeter Books