CAMOUFLAGE AND STALKING
These are games that focus on stalking and movement. Many can be played with natural camouflage so players are even harder to detect.
Stalking starts with the foxwalk, a way of silently walking. Instead of the normal heel to toe motion of the foot used in the modern world, the step starts from the side of the ball of the foot. It then rolls across the ball until the whole ball is on the ground, followed by the lowering of the heel. You can feel any sticks or other obstacles under the foot before dedicating your weight. Try walking this way first to get a feel for it. Then, incorporate the stalking walk which includes a higher lift of the leg. Lift from the thigh, slowly moving it forward then place the foot as with the foxwalk. Once the weight is fully dedicated, lift the other leg from the thigh and move forward. At times this step needs to be incredibly slow which challenges balance. It should be very smooth and elegant and it’s ideal if you can stop mid-step without losing balance.
The goal of natural camouflage is to blend with the surroundings so there is no one way to apply it. You should always try to match it with the vegetation, lighting and ground cover of the area. To start, cover yourself with dry wood ash- all skin and clothing. Never apply wet since it turns to lye and will burn the skin. The ash takes the shine off the skin. Then use charcoal to create contrasts. Experiment on your face to see what kinds of highlighting will make your features less obvious. Can you match the texture of trees nearby? Use the charcoal all over your skin and clothes. Use wet clay or mud next add more contrasts and textures. You can splatter yourself to create random, natural patterns. Finally, while the clay or mud is still wet, add debris so you have lots of different textures and colors. Then check for places you’ve missed. That’s one great thing about using it in games, others will let you know where you’ve missed because that’s what will catch their eye!
WIDE ANGLE VISION
Another great skill to incorporate into these games is wide angle vision. Have everyone stand in a circle with their arms stretched out to their sides. Have them wiggle their fingers as they slowly move their arms toward the front. When did they first see their fingers? Wide angle vision is basically peripheral vision reaching to the extreme edges of our sight as well as seeing what’s above and below as well. Practice foxwalking with wide angle vision. The head can still move, the adjusted vision moves with it. Some of the advantages: better visibility of movement, better night vision, better depth of vision and it even helps move us into Alpha brainwave patterns, an important step in spiritual awareness.
Choose one person to be the deer. This person crawls about on hands and knees and “grazes”. All others are stalkers who want to touch the deer for good luck. The deer will casually graze while the stalkers begin to creep forward. At any time, the deer may look up. To not be seen by the deer, a stalker must freeze. If a deer sees a stalker move, the stalker must return to the beginning and try again. When a stalker successfully touches the deer, that person becomes the deer and you play again.
CAPTURE THE FLAG- great with natural camouflage
Divide into two teams and designate the middle line of the play area- be sure to set boundaries. Each team goes to their side and chooses an area for their jail and hides their flag. The flag must be in sight and within reach. The object of the game is to find and retrieve the opponents flag and return with it to their own side. When a player crosses the center line, she or he is in enemy territory and if tagged, must be taken to jail by the person who tagged them. That player must remain in jail until a teammate makes it safely to them and tags them. The two must hold hands and have “free backs” to their own side. Only one person may guard the jail and another may guard the flag. Other players must decide if they will capture their opponents or attempt a rescue or attempt a flag retrieval from the other side. Can be played day or night, but make sure there is enough light for safety.
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER – great with natural camouflage
This game must be played in a wooded or overgrown area. One person is chosen to be the Owl. The owl stands on the edge of the wooded area. The owl turns their back and counts to 20 while all others, the rabbits, take cover in the woods. Rabbits should never go so far they are unable to see the clearing. After counting, the owl turns and calls out the names (or color of clothing) of any rabbit he or she can see. These rabbits become the dinner and wait out the round near the owl. The owl will turn and count again. This time the rabbits should try to get as close to the owl as possible, without being within view. The owl turns and calls names again. When finished, the owl yells, “go” and all the rabbits come racing out of hiding and try to tag the owl. The first one to the owl wins and becomes the new owl. Before starting another round, discuss why some people are easier to spot than others (color of clothing and choice of hiding places) and discuss how this relates to animals in their natural environment.
STALKING WALK – great with natural camo
Need a wooded trail. Practice stalking techniques by having one person walk very slowly along a trail. The others are off the trail, stalking. Periodically the person stops and holds up a certain number of fingers. On the count of three, everyone must yell out the number- so they must be able to see the person. From there, they freeze and the person turns to see who they can spot in the woods along the trail. Anyone who is seen becomes one of the animals on the trail. If someone cannot see the number, they must come in as well and become an animal on the trail. All the animals must walk with the leader and may not turn to look for stalkers until after the number count. Continue until there is only one stalker left, then start over.
GUARDS OF THE TREASURE ROOM
Choose five people to be the guards; have them stand in a line at arms length and put on a blindfold. Place five to ten objects behind them- the treasure. All other players are the thieves who will try to sneak into the treasure room and get out with a treasure. The guards stand with both hands on their heads and may only try to tag when they hear or sense someone. After each attempt, their hand must touch their head before tagging again. The thieves must sneak in and out without getting tagged and may only take one object at a time. If they are tagged, they are out for the rest of the round. Play until all treasures are retrieved or all thieves are captured. Change roles and play again.
After teaching and practicing foxwalking and wide angle vision, have the group make a circle. One person goes to the middle and puts on a blindfold. The second blindfold is put on the ground in front of them. The leader will point to one child who will begin to stalk into the circle to try to retrieve the blindfold. To win, they must get the blindfold and be on their way back out. The person in the middle attempts to stop them by pointing if they hear or sense someone approaching. Remember they can be coming from any direction. As they get better you can point to 2 or 3 players at a time to retrieve the item. You can also add obstacles such as rings of leaves that the players must cross to make it more challenging.