Sometimes we go, just to get outside and enjoy the woods, and let the boys whoop and holler and expend some of their infinite supply of energy.
And that second type of hike, we’re more likely to take our time, not push it and play some hiking games.
One of our favorites is when one team sits by the trail with their backs turned and closes their eyes. Then the other team has to walk by as quietly as they can, one by one. The first team has to guess who was walking by and when exactly that person is in front of them. (Try it some time, it is harder than you think to walk that quietly.)
Usually as a distraction, one of the “sneaking” team members, shuffles their feet and rustles the leaves to make it harder for the “listening” team.
Another game that we play is hide and seek. The one person waits behind on the trail and counts while the other people run up ahead and hide. When I was a kid, we used to bring our dog on hikes and one person would hold him back while every one would hide. He never had any trouble sniffing everybody out.
A final game that we’ve played while hiking is called “Storming the Castle.” We usually play this when we find a large rocky outcropping on the side of a hill (and when a good imagination is intact–not a stretch for the boys, but it can be a challenge for a weary dad.) We grab a few sticks and decide the objective: A medieval castle held by the Black Knight, or a WWII German encampment, or an Imperial base protected by storm troopers.
Whatever the objective, the goal is to run to top of the outcropping, fight the bad guys without getting hit/killed/shot in the process, and declare victory at the top. You must be careful though, because once you have crossed the boarder into imagination, it can be difficult to escape!