It turns out that tree hugging is not just for hippies anymore! Those crazy kids of the 60’s and 70’s were on to something…on to something not on something! We all know they were ON something. We just thought they were a little loopy in chaining themselves as a form of protest. But guess what? They didn’t even start the whole ‘hug a tree to save it’ movement. It started in India! Go figure.
Today I want to tell you about tree hugging family style…or scout troop style…or camp style…or just come-on-over-and-play style. This is a game that we played back on the butterfly farm in Texas. (Did you miss that post? Click here to catch up!) It’s a fun game that will get everyone to explore the great outdoors and have a laugh or two! So grab a partner and a blindfold and head outside!
Set boundaries for the game area.
In a wooded area…this could be your backyard if you have several trees…mark a game area that includes a bunch of trees. Make it very clear where the boundaries are. For example, the game area is all the space between the fence and the shed.
Create teams of two.
In this game, each player needs a partner. One partner will be blindfolded while the other partner acts as the guide. Start with each team standing in the center of the play area. The guide leads the blindfolded player around the game area so that he/she becomes disoriented. Then the guide will lead the blindfolded player to a tree.
Get to know your tree.
The blindfolded player must then spend a few minutes getting acquainted with the tree. This player is encouraged to feel the tree, smell the tree, and, yes, hug the tree in order to get an idea of its size. Once the blindfolded player is sure that she/he knows the tree, the guide leads him/her back to the center of the game area.
Find your tree!
Once back in the center, the blindfold is removed and the player must then go and identify his/her tree.
One key to enjoying and respecting nature is to become really aware of the details. (It’s all in the details.) When we train ourselves to see the details, the great outdoors really comes alive. That’s when we see the bright green beetle as we are hiking through the woods or hear the scurry of the lizard through the dried leaves. Games such as this, force us to use our senses to focus on the details.
When we played this game on the farm, the kids went nuts! At first it seemed a little hokey, especially to the older kids, but day after day the requests for the tree game persisted. Give it a whirl with your family, friends, neighbors, or scout troop. And share your experiences!
Yes, adults can play too. Which leads me to one other point. Did you know that hugging a tree has been scientifically proven to be super healthy? Check it out here and here. Geez, this link even tells you how to hug a tree! (We need instructions???) So next time you’re feeling a wee bit stressed, step outside and hug that tree. If the neighbors ask…tell them your testing out a new game for the kids!