9 – Searchlight Game (tracking & trailing for kids)

This game tests your skill at moving silently in the dark and listening for noises. You can play it in a garden or field with any number of people. One person is the warder. He carries a flashlight. The rest are prisoners who try to creep from the start line to the safety line without the warder spotting them. The first prisoner to reach the safety line is the winner, who becomes the next warder. Mark the ground with a start line and a safety line.

When the warder shouts “Ready!” the prisoners begin creeping to safety. If the warder hears a noise, he points the unlit flashlight to where he thinks the prisoner is, and shouts “Halt!” Nobody moves. Then he turns on the flashlight.

If a prisoner is caught in the flashlight beam, he must go back ten paces, counting out loud. The warder points the flashlight upwards to show that everyone else must stay still. When he switches the flashlight off, the game goes on.

If no one is caught in the flashlight beam, the warder has made a false challenge  and must switch off the flashlight. If he makes three false challenges, he loses the game and the prisoner nearest to the safety line becomes the warder.

If it is not dark enough, the warder can use a blindfold and look over it after he makes a challenge. Or else the warder can be blindfolded and have an assistant who stands beside him. When the warder makes the challenge, the assistant shouts out “True” or “False” but is not allowed to help the warder spot the prisoner. If a prisoner winds, he becomes the assistant, and the assistant becomes the warder. If the warder and assistant win, they swap places for the next game.

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