Back-to-School Activities

Trail Signs

Make your own Trail Signs to show the way.
Make your own Trail Signs to show the way.

Early pioneers and explorers marked their way for others to follow. See if you can do the same thing.

What You'll Need:

  • Nature objects

Whenever people have moved through new territory, they marked the trail so they would not get lost. Native Americans often bent trees to the ground to mark trails. Some of these "trail trees" have grown to full-sized trees. Early explorers and scouts used axe marks on trees. Outdoor youth clubs of today use temporary signs of twigs, grass, and stones, borrowed from the Native Americans.

Step 1: To play a trail marking game, have one person lay a cross-country trail through woods or an open field. The person should make trail markers twenty or so paces apart. (Be careful not to harm any live plants when you are making your markers.)

Arrow shapes, stacks of rocks, or bundles of grass all say "I went this way." A bend in the grass bundle, or a rock beside the pile means "turn this way." Three of anything means "warning." And X means "do not go this way." A circle means "this is the end of the trail." You can use the pictures on this page to help or come up with some of your own.

Step 2: The rest of the players try to follow the trail and see where the person ended up.

Another fun outdoor activity in the fall is examining the life going on beneath your feet! Learn how with Leaf Litter on the next page.

For more fun back-to-school activities, check out: