The activity begins by collecting 30+ pine cones. The more pine cones collected the more challenging the activity becomes. After the pine cones have been collected, kids can mark each pine cone with a marker/highlighter/pen that is visible, some will be marked with a number and some with the word "Zoink" (or any fun name you choose). At the end of this explanation there will be a description of how to mark the pine cones. Once all the pine cones are marked with the different numbers and "Zoink's" it will be up to the adult running the activity to distribute carefully (and far apart) all of the pine cones either in the backyard or in a large outdoor space such as a park.
The goal of the activity is for the children to score as many points as possible. They score points by collecting pine cones that have been scattered, and bring them back to the "scoring zone". The scoring zone should be clearly established by the adult when the activity starts. It can be as easy as putting down an extra shoe and telling the participants that only the pine cones that are brought back and beside the shoe count towards their score. The adult can set a time limit for how long each child has to complete the pine cone hunt, (the children should not be able to collect all the pine cones in the allotted time, so start with a very short amount of time and then increase from there if it is too hard for the children).
The pine cones with the word "Zoink" on them can either count for 0 points or for negative points. Whatever the case make sure all adults and children understand the scoring system before starting the collection. There are many variations you can add to change up the game. Here are a few examples, but feel free to experiment with more. You can change how the children collect the pine cones (only 1 at a time by picking it up and running to drop it back in the "scoring zone" before going back to pick up the next pine cone OR they can only collect the pine cones using their left hand) . You can also change the way they travel (they can only hop on one foot to collect the pine cones OR they have to hop like a rabbit). There are endless possibilities. This activity can be a competition between various kids or if it is just one child then the goal will be to beat their score on the next round. After the children have collected the pine cones, they can add up their scores and get their final score. After the activity is finished the children can redistribute the pine cones to where they were initially gathered from.
Description of how to mark the pine cones:
60% - "5"
20% - "10"
10% - "20"
10% - "Zoink"
For example: If you collected 30 pine cones at the beginning then you should mark them as shown here:
18 pine cones should be marked with the number "5"
6 pine cones should be marked with the number "10"
3 pine cones should be marked with the number "20"
3 pine cones should be marked with the word "Zoink"
This activity is brought to you by Camp Northland, an overnight camp based in Haliburton, Ontario with a 100+ year tradition of creating memorable summer experiences for children and teenagers from Southern Ontario.