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Supported by WWF

Habitat hunt

Explore the effect of habitat loss in this fast-paced game.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Chalk
  • Sticky tape

Instructions

  1. Everyone should choose to be an animal they’d find regularly in their local community. Make sure a good variety of animals are chosen. Squirrel, fox, badger, pigeon, hedgehog and rabbits work well.
  2. The person leading the activity explains what a habitat is and marks out the habitat areas around the room.
    Habitats are safe homes for animals. Many animals in the UK like wild places with trees and bushes where they can get food and shelter and food.
  3. Everyone runs around making their chosen animal sound and moving in the way they think their animal moves. The leader shouts ‘habitat!’ and everyone has to run and find a habitat area. Only a certain number of players are allowed on one habitat area (maximum 2-3, depending on the group’s size). This illustrates that only so much space and resources are available in one place.
  4. As the game progresses, the person leading the game should take away some of the habitat areas (like you would if you were playing musical chairs), explaining that this represents how habitats in this country are being lost because trees and wild places are being cut down and destroyed to build new buildings on top of them.
  5. If an animal can’t fit into a habitat, they’re out. The person out could pick a reason from a hat, and read it out to the group (with support if they need it). Fill the hat with these reasons, showing what animals could tell us about what’s happening to their homes:
     
    • More wheat crops are planted – replacing the animals’ food.Intensive farming leads to the loss of flower meadows, hedgerows and trees.
    • Habitats are bulldozed to make space for new homes to house the growing human population.
    • The human population keeps growing – meadows are covered in concrete for cities, factories and roads.
    • Soil health keeps getting worse, so there is less food to forage for.
    • Pesticides kill bees, so less plants are pollinated. As well as reducing habitat, this means there’s less food for birds, which has a knock-on effect up the food chain.
    • Two-thirds of crop production comes from just 9 species, while 6,000 other plant species are in decline and wild food sources become even harder to find.
    • Pesticides run off into ponds and rivers, making them inhabitable. Even slug pellets have a harmful effect on wildlife.
    • Agriculture removes water from rivers, draining them dry.
  6. The game’s over when there’s only one habitat left, filled with the number of animals allowed in that area.

Reflection

This game helped us to value nature and learn about how important habitats are to wildlife. How do you think we could restore habitats and create more biodiversity (a huge variety of wildlife, trees and plants)? Ideas could be to let an area of their garden at home or at school go wild, make a bird box, or avoid eating food with palm oil which causes lots of animals to lose their habitat.

Congratulate everyone for being responsible citizens and explain that successful conservation relies on making changes on a local and global level. What can the young people do straight away to make a difference? How can they spread the word in their communities? Could they talk to their local MP and ask them to petition government to make policy changes?

Safety

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Make it accessible

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.