Outdoor war games for youth

Written by hannah wahlig
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Outdoor war games for youth
Outdoor spaces tranform into playful war games for children with a few simple supplies. (The Woods image by Bob from Fotolia.com)

Tap into kids' competitive spirits while developing essential strategising and athletic skills with high energy outdoor war games. Outdoor war games place teams of children against one another in challenges designed to test their problem solving skills, athletic ability and teamwork. Adapt outdoor games to suit both the skill of the players as well as the available playing area.

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Capture the Flag

To host a round of the classic game of capture the flag, you need a significant amount of moderately wooded space. Divide a large group of children into two teams. Give each team a brightly coloured flag on a stake. The team must plant their flag in a space that is visible but challenging to reach. The goal of the game is to send players to the other team's area to capture the flag. If an opponent is tagged or captured in enemy territory, they must remain in an area designated as a jail until their either escape or are released by a fellow teammate who tags them. Teams just decide which players serve as guards of the team flag and which players attempt to retrieve the enemy flag. Elaborate games of capture the flag may last several hours. Adding scouts, two-way radios, paintball guns or water pistols adds an element of excite to the game. The first team to retrieve the enemy flag and bring it back to the location of their team flag wins.

Winter Prisoner Escape

Cold weather doesn't necessarily put a stop to outdoor fun. On a snowy day, arrange a game of prisoner escape. One player from a large group is designated as the prisoner; the prisoner has five minutes to wander through the snow, make snow balls and build a hideout in an outdoor space. The prisoner can leave tracks strategically to throw other players off course or build a fortress to protect himself. After five minutes, all other players begin tracking the prisoner in an effort to capture him. Players must decide whether to stick together or split up. If the prisoner hits any advancing player with a snowball, the player is out and must return to the start point without giving up any information to other players. If the prisoner manages to eliminate all other players, he wins. If the other players are able to capture him without being hit with a snowball, the prisoner loses.

Stealing Sticks

Stealing sticks is a game that tests strategy building, problem solving and quick reflex skills, and is ideal for smaller outdoor spaces. Divide into two teams of at least five players each. Lay a long rope down the centre of the playing area so that each team has their own space. Use skipping ropes to create an equal number of circles on either side of the line; each side should have at least three circles, but you may add more to make the game more challenging. Place four Popsicle sticks inside each circle. The goal of the game is to retrieve the sticks from the other team and return them to the home team's side. However, if a player is tagged over the line he must go to the back side of the enemy team and remain there until a teammate tags him back into the game. If a player makes it across the line and within one of the stick circles without being tagged, she is safe and cannot be tagged until she leaves the circle again. Players must balance guarding their own sticks with retrieving the sticks from the other side. The team who collects the most sticks at the end of 10 minutes wins.

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