By Zakwani Gibbs
Every thursday, Ethan and I work with kids from kindergarten to fourth grade teaching an orienteering-based afterschool program at a local school. Because they are so young, and the fact that we are limited to a small park and a room inside the school, we do not do full orienteering courses. Instead, we play a variety of games that teach skills like making maps, following the directions on maps, and teamwork.
Because of the cold weather today, we were limited to the activity room; so we played one of the kids' favorite games: Find-the-Pinecones. In this game we warm-up by hiding pinecones around the room for the kids to look for. Once they find them all, we split the kids into groups and have them draw a map of the room. The older kids especially enjoy this part of the game because they are better able to understand maps, but many of the younger kids have been able to draw fairly accurate maps as well, and they only get better at it as time goes on. There are several different variations of the game, but usually one child from the group will hide the pinecone in the room while the other members wait outside. The one who hid the pinecone marks it on their map, and the other kids from that group will use the map to find it. The kids enjoy this game a lot and it is one of my personal favorites for when we are indoors because it is fun even in a small space.