Games are one of the greatest tools a leader has to monitor and change group dynamics in the backcountry. Here are a few of our favorites.
Count to 10
This game is a great one to play while hiking. The goal is to count to 10 without talking to each other. If two people say a number at the same time, the group must start over. See how high your group can count without having to begin again.
Everyone stands on either side of an ultra-light tent pole, holding it up with their index fingers as a leader applies downward pressure. When the leader lets go, everyone in the group must maintain contact with the pole while it is lowered to the ground.
Everyone sits in a circle, facing inward, with their hands placed palms down on the ground and their right arm crossed over the left arm of the person sitting next to them (i.e., your right hand should be to the right of your neighbor’s left hand). Anyone can start the game by slapping their hand on the ground, and the tap can then travel around the circle with one hand at a time slapping the ground. Slapping the ground twice changes the direction that the tap is traveling. A fist causes the tap to skip a hand. Whenever a hand misses a turn or slaps at the wrong time, that hand must be removed from the circle. Continue to play until only two hands remain!
Baby, Backpack, Bunkbed
For this game, everyone needs a partner. The group should form two concentric circles, with every person in the inner circle facing their partner in the outer circle. The circles should then begin moving in opposite directions until a command is called by the leader. If “Baby” is called, then you must jump into your partner’s arms and be cradled like a baby. If “Backpack” is called, then you must jump onto your partner’s back. If “Bunkbed” is called, then you must lie on the ground on your back holding your partner’s ankles while your partner does the same in a downward-facing plank position. The last partner pair to get in the correct position is eliminated. Keep playing until only two are left standing.