Indoors/outdoors with plenty of space.
This game is a good way of reinforcing the links between plants and
animals. It can actively show the knock-on effects of removing or planting
trees, and can be used to start discussions on these issues.
About a quarter of the group are trees. From the rest of the group,
choose two chasers and the others each choose to be animals living on the trees (such as caterpillar, woodpecker, blue tit,
squirrel, spider, etc). The animals have to run between the trees,
holding their breath until they reach a new tree. Only two animals are allowed on one
tree at any time, and they can only rest there for 10 seconds, after
which they must find another tree. The two chasers try to catch the
animals in between trees. If an animal is caught, they become a
chaser and the chaser takes the place of the creature that was caught.
(Periodically swap the trees with either chaser or animal.)
After a few minutes, the woodcutter (yourself) comes
along and cuts down a tree or two, making less homes for the animals. The
trees then become chasers. The children should then find it more difficult
to find a home (and hence breathe!), and get caught more often.
After a period of fewer trees, new trees can be
planted (either from the stock of animals or chasers), when it should then
be easier to find a home again, breathe, and avoid being caught.
At the end of the game, the children can be asked why
trees are important for animals? (For oxygen, food, shelter for animals,
decreasing the effects of pollution, etc.) Why do people cut down trees? (To provide timber for
buildings, furniture, paper and boats, or in order to build houses.)
Where do the animals go? (Some go into cities and gardens, some die.)
What can we do to help provide more homes for the animals? (Plant more
trees, cut down fewer trees, make wildlife gardens—including
food-plants and nest boxes for animals.)