The Prey Escape is game of speed, body awareness, creative design, and creative movement.
Number of Players:
1 or more
Space and Time Requirements:
This game can be played in a room, throughout a house, or outside. It works best in places with diverse obstacles and materials. Each round can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes or longer if wanted.
Think of any prey animal you want. How does that animal escape from predators? If a coyote is chasing a rabbit, the rabbit might crawl quickly into a hole or run through a tight space in some thick thorny bushes. If a cougar is chasing a deer, the deer might leap quickly up a hill or over a few fences. If a house cat is chasing a lizard, the lizard might climb vertically up a fence or tree. If an egret is hunting a frog, the frog may dive into the water and swim as deep as they can. There are many different strategies and movements that a prey animal might use to escape from a predator. If they move quickly enough through and around obstacles, they will likely escape from becoming a meal, and live another day!
How to Play
The object of this game is to build an exciting obstacle course, and to move through it as quickly and as safely as you can. If you can time yourself, the goal is to beat your time every time you repeat the course!
- If you’re playing by yourself, spend as much time as you want building an obstacle course out of the materials and obstacles you have available to you. Make sure to ask your parents before you use household objects like furniture!
- If you’re playing with more than one person, you can split into two or more teams. Everyone decides how much time you get to build your obstacle course, and each team works together to build a course
- What kinds of obstacles can you create? All different kinds!
- Objects you can hop over
- Objects you can crawl under or through
- Sections where you have to move your body in a certain way (such as crouching down, walking backwards, hopping from object to object, etc.)
- Objects you have to climb over (trees or rocks or furniture)
- Objects or sections you have to roll across (down a grassy hill, across a bed)
- Tasks that you have to accomplish (like knocking down a stick tower with a rock from far away…)
- Anything you can think of!
- When everyone is done building their obstacle courses, each team explains how to move through their course
- Everyone takes turns trying out all the obstacle courses. If possible, time everyone’s attempts.
How does it end?
The Prey Escape ends when no one can beat the fastest time for each course!
- If you’re playing in teams, have everyone from your team attempt each course. For each course, add together the entire team’s times. Whichever team has the fastest total time wins!
- Name each obstacle after a prey animal that might make a similar movement! For ex
ample, if one obstacle is hopping from rock to rock without touching the ground, you can call it “Lilypad Frog Leap”!
- If you have another person to play with, one of you can play as the Predator and one of you can play as the Prey. Have the Prey start the obstacle course. After a short head-start, the Predator starts the obstacle course. If the Predator can catch up to the Prey before they finish the course, the Predator wins!
Tips and Strategies
- Always make sure to have a parent examine your course for hazards before you attempt it!
- When designing your course, make sure that your obstacles are easy and fast to set up again once someone has gone through the course
- It feels really good to have people cheering for you when you’re attempting an obstacle course! Cheer for others when it’s their turn!
- Before you start a course, take a moment to imagine what it would really be like to be a prey animal escaping from a predator. Think about how your life depends on precise movement and speed!
Post-Game Discussion Questions
- Were there obstacles that you designed or tried that worked well, or were really fun? Why?
- What about obstacles that didn’t work as well, or weren’t as much fun? Why?
- What was the most challenging obstacle?
- Did you imagine yourself as a prey animal escaping from a predator when you did the obstacle courses? Were your times faster when you did this? Did you imagine yourself as a particular animal?
- Next time you get the chance to go outside, find any animal. Get as close as you can to this animal. When you get too close, notice how it escapes from you. Does it fly up high? Does it dive into the water? Does it scurry into a bush? How many different styles of escape can you notice out in the wild?
Inspired by “Coyote’s Guide to Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature” by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown.