Skip to main content
close x

Key To Map

Choose the categories you would like to display on the map.

Choose the categories to be display on the map

Not just Hide and Seek

Not just Hide and Seek


With majestic woodlands and wide expanses of heathland, the New Forest is a great place for children to play and explore the outdoors. We caught up with our Wild Play Project Officer Claire Pearce to discover some great games to play in the Forest. For more information about wild play and to find out about some of the activities you can take part in on our wild play days, visit

New Forest Autumn Colour, wild play
Hide and seek is an eternal favourite, played by generation after generation of children and it works fantastically well in a natural environment. But if you want to try something a little different next time you are out for some family wild play time, why not give one of these a try?


This is a great game if you want to keep everyone within a fairly limited area and works similarly to traditional hide and seek as there is one ‘seeker’ and the rest of the group go and hide. Agree to make something the central base, such as a tree or if there is nothing obvious you could put a jumper on the ground; this is what the seeker must stay in contact with at all times during the game. So for instance, they would be able to move around a tree as long as they were touching it, but would not be able to move away from the tree completely.

The seeker starts the game by closing their eyes and counting to 30 (or an agreed number appropriate to the group); during this time the rest of the group must find a hiding space, preferably fairly close to the seeker. Once the seeker has finished their count, they can have a look around to see if they can spot anyone, calling them out with their hiding position when they do.

The seeker has three tools to help them find the hiders. Firstly they can close their eyes and hold some of their fingers in the air. The hiders must call out the number of fingers that the seeker is holding up and once the hiders have called out the number, the seeker can have another look around to see who they can spot.

Secondly, the seeker can call out ‘animal noises’ at which point all hiders must loudly make an animal noise such as a monkey, dog or wolf. These noises may give the seeker some clues about where to look!

The seeker can also close their eyes and call out ‘tag me in 30’ and proceed to count aloud to 30. During this count, every hider must come out of their hiding spot, tag the seeker and quickly find a hiding spot. Once the seeker has reached 30, they can open their eyes.

Once these three options have been used, the seeker can go through them all again and they can even reduce their counting time during ‘tag me’ to 20 and then 10 seconds. The last hider to be found is the seeker for the next round.


Sardines is almost the opposite of hide and seek because there is one hider and the rest of the group seek. The hider is given an agreed amount of time to find a hiding space and after this, all of the seekers spread out and look for the hider. Once a seeker finds the hider, they join the hider in their hiding space. As time goes on and more seekers find the hiding space, it will get more cramped and squashed … a bit like a can of sardines! The last seeker to find the hiding spot is the hider in the next round.

New Forest National Parks Authority Kids Wild Play 6427
Chain hide and seek

This game is very similar to traditional hide and seek as you have one seeker and everyone else hides. The twist is that when the seeker finds someone, they join the seeker to form a chain. As more and more hiders are discovered the chain increases in size and often noise and laughter!

1, 2, 3 where are you?

For this version, split the group in half and one group will be hiders and the other will be seekers. The hiders are given a set amount of time to go and hide as a group after which the seekers must find them. The seekers call out ‘1, 2, 3, where are you’ to which the hiders must reply ‘1, 2, 3, here we are.’


Whatever version of hide and seek you decide to try it is always worth setting some ground rules first. Some areas to think about are:

  • Boundaries: agree with the group a set area to play in, away from hazards such as lakes or streams
  • Safe spaces: have a discussion about where sensible hiding spaces are, including heights and prickly bushes and plants
  • Ending the game: it’s always worth agreeing a phrase that signals the end of a game; even if all of the hiders have not been found. Some children can be very good at squeezing themselves into small spaces that make them very hard to find!
  • Age appropriateness: depending on the age and ability mix within the group, you may benefit from making a few adjustments. For instance, if you have a slow counter or particularly young children who may need to hide with an adult or more experienced hider.
Newsletter Image





Six free walking routes when you sign up for New Forest Newsletter

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

By entering your email below you are consenting to us sending you newsletters. To unsubscribe, email More info:

I think you mistyped your email
Your interests (tick at least one)

Please select one

By signing up to this form you are consenting to receive emails from us. Each email will contain a link to your personal reference settings where you can opt-out or change which emails you receive from us. Please read our Privacy Policy for more information about how we use data.

Subscribe to New Forest National Park Authority

Thanks, your subscription has been confirmed. You've been added to our list and your New Forest walking pack is on its way to you, including a link to download our free app.