You will need
- Natural materials (for example, leaves, twigs, feathers)
- Tracking symbol sheets
Before you begin:
- Consider running this activity outdoors. Find a suitable location.
- Print out or create different tracking signs and symbols and put them on the ground. You could use any materials to hand for this.
Time to track
- Introduce the art of tracking to the group. This means using of signs and symbols to leave a trail for other people to follow.
- Everyone should split into pairs or small groups. Each group needs a sheet to help them identify different tracking signs and symbols.
- Each group should work to identify what all the signs and symbols on the floor mean.
- Once everyone has finished, two pairs or small groups should join together. One pair should plan a simple trail for the other – one they can actually follow.
- Everyone should think about what they could use to make the signs – this could be anything from chalk to sticks to grass to crisp packets – almost anything will work!
- Each team has five minutes to lay out their simple trail, before testing if they can follow the route.
- Swap over so the pair laying the trail now get the chance to follow a trail.
- Follow up this activity by asking the group to look for natural track and signs, and thinking about what these might be. This could be something out of place, where an animal has disturbed something looking for food, or where a plant has been crushed by a foot, for example. Everyone should look for a natural track or sign, and try to work out what caused it.
This activity gave everyone a chance to enjoy being outdoors. What did you enjoy about making and following the tracks? Did you find it easy to spot and follow the tracks once you knew what you were looking for? Did you feel comfortable being outside to lay and follow the track?
This activity needed everyone to communicate. When might you use a tracking sign or symbol to send a message to someone else? You might want to think about alerting someone to a hazard up ahead, or letting someone know where the camp or base is. When might laying a track be more useful than having a mobile phone? It might be useful when you don’t have signal, or you wanted to communicate with people you don’t know – or it might just be that laying a track is fun!
- Outdoor activities
You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.
- Active games
The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.
- Visits away from your meeting place
Do a risk assessment and include hazards such as roads, woodland, bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas), plants, and animals.
You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement; when you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies.
Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, for example, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs.
Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts.