by Sally Churchward.
This self guided Christmas trail was written for use in the New Forest, but should be suitable for most woodland areas. Cut and paste it onto your own document, making sure that the answers are on a separate sheet! It indicates that a prize is on offer, so you need to make sure you take one with you or delete that section!
New Forest Christmas Trail
It’s a very busy time of year at the North Pole for Father Christmas and the elves. Sometimes, when things get really, really busy, they need some extra help. Get in training with the Christmas forest trail and elf games so that you are ready, in case Father Christmas needs you…and in the meantime, solve the clues for a special Christmas prize.
1 What am I and can you find me?
My berries are a lovely red,
My prickly leaves are shiny,
They stay green through the winter months,
I’m not a yew or pine tree.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Now you know what I am, find me before going on to the next challenge.
2 Elf training.
Father Christmas and the elves have to be very good at hiding when they’re out on Christmas Eve. They stand completely still if someone comes near when they are delivering presents, and blend into their surroundings.
They practice freezing by playing ‘peep behind the curtain’. Try for yourselves – find a clearing and all the elves stand in a row facing the ‘child,’ who should be 10 to 20 steps away from them. The ‘child’ turns their back and the ‘elves’ must creep forward. The ‘child’ turns quickly around and the elves must stand completely still. Any ‘elves’ who they see moving must go back to the beginning. The winner is the first ‘elf’ to tap the ‘child’ on the back.
3 What am I and can you find me?
I’m like a carpet for an elf,
I’m soft and green and small.
I grow on fallen branches, logs,
On trees and even walls.
_ _ _ _
Get hunting and find me before going on to challenge 4.
4 What am I and can you find me?
In years I grow up tall and mighty,
But I start out very small.
In autumn pigs come to the forest
To eat my ‘nuts’ up when they fall.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Now can you find me – I have dropped my leaves, so look for clues on the floor.
5 Elf training.
Everyone who celebrates Christmas has their own traditions, and the elves are no different. You might think they want to rest after such a busy year, but they love to play games on Christmas Day. One of their favourites is sack races in the empty toy sacks. Christmas Day is the only day that they’re allowed to play with the sacks, before they get put away for the next year, so the rest of the time, they practice by having imaginary sack races.
Have your own imaginary sack race by picking a starting and finishing line, and seeing who can reach the end first by jumping with their feet together. No cheating – you don’t want to be put on the naughty list!
6 What am I and can you find me?
I creep my way up dead tree trunks,
Shrouding them in leaves of green.
In the brown and slumbering woods
I’m delightful to be seen.
_ _ _
Now can you find me growing over a tree?
7 What am I and can you find me?
I’m a symbiotic relationship
Between a fungus and an algae.
I’m shades of green and often round,
I grown on rocks and walls and trees.
_ _ _ _ _ _
Now see if you can find me. I’m on most trees in the forest.
8 Elf training.
Rudolph is Father Christmas’ lead reindeer. On Christmas Eve, Rudolph is in charge and all of the other reindeer have to do what he does. The elves and the reindeer are great friends and the elves love to join in with the reindeer games. One of everyone’s favourites is ‘Follow Rudolph,’ when everyone one has to follow whoever is playing at being Rudolph, and do exactly what they do.
Play ‘Follow Rudolph’ by taking turns to be the lead reindeer and walk, run, skip and leap around, while everyone else follows and copies.
9 What am I and can you find me?
Mum and Dad say ‘stay away’,
Lest your feet stick or you fall,
But I cake your boots up anyway,
And make a brown mess in your hall.
_ _ _
Now find me, but don’t go in!!
10 What am I and can you find me?
I come from boots, and hooves and paws,
In mud, I’m often found.
It’s OK to leave me in the forest,
When you walk upon the ground.
_ _ _ _ _ _
Now see if you can find me from an animal, or make some yourself.
Find the hidden word.
Draw a circle around the letters with a thicker line under them. Now rearrange them to spell out a seasonal message:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _!
Answers (letters in bold make the anagram)
1 holly tree, 3 moss, 4 oak tree, 6 ivy, 7 lichen, 9 mud, 10 tracks
Anagram: Merry Christmas!