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Bird Nests And Foxes - an exciting game for outdoors

Children can practise the skills of sitting still and creeping up with this brilliant game to play in the woods

Posted: 2 July 2012
by Chris Holland

Bird Nests And Foxes
(or hedgehogs or meerkats, or any other egg-eating predators)
Ages four and up, suitable for up to 30 players, allow about an hour

The object of this hide-and-seek based game is for the nest makers to make a nest o the ground to hide in and for the foxes to find the nests and collect eggs. The ground nesting birds must sit completely still, waiting and watching. Their stillness keeps their eggs safer. It's necessary to have a couple of helpers to oversee the game and to help make nests, to assist with the camouflage and keep an eye on the action.

Get set
You will need to clearly mark out a nesting territory using string, ticker tape or a natural boundary of some sort - perhaps a little copse, or a clearing in the woods. As a size guide, about half a football pictch of quality cover is about enough for a group of thirsty seven-to-ten-year-olds. Make sure there are plenty of places to hide. You need a pot of mud, some charcoal and a bag of hazelnuts or walnuts in their shells (to use as eggs).

Dividing the group into two teams of foxes and birds, at a ratio of about one fox to every four or five birds. Send the nest builders to go off and have 15-20 minutes to make a nest each and camouflage themselves before sitting still, on their eggs. Each bird is given four or five eggs, when they have made their nest. If there is a person who really doesn't want to play being a fox or a pheasant, they could be a stork and eliver the eggs when the nest is made the birds are settled in.

Meanwhile the foxes get camouflaged up with some mud, charcoal and leaves stuck onto the mud and practise their sneaking skills... perhaps by playing grandmother's footsteps on all fours.

When the nest-building time is up, the foxes sneak in as quietly as possible and find nests from which to collect the eggs. The more quietly the foxes sneak, the greater the chance of catching a bird unawares.
The foxes are only allowed to sniff the birds on their nests when they find them. If a bird flinches or moves anything other than its eyes while the fox is sniffing, the bird has to give the fox an egg. The fox must then move on and the bird gets another chance to practise sitting very still. The foxes can only collect one egg from each nest. If a bird does not move at all, doesn't flinch, then it doesn't have to pass on an egg - and well done to that bird for not flinching in the face of danger.

After a time, the players can swap round and after a few rounds you can all get together and crack the egss for a feast.

This fun idea is taken from I Love My World by Chris Holland (Wholeland, £15.95). The book is packed full of hands-on nature activities.

Try out another idea from the book... The Sneaking Circle

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The Sneaking Circle - a game for all ages
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games, children, woods, play, birds nests and foxes, chris holland, I Love My World Kids, nature

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