|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
In this game, your kids can simulate how bats use echolocation to catch moths and other insects. (For more about echolocation, see "Ears in the Dark" in Ranger Rick's' NatureScope Amazing Mammals-Part II.) To play, have the kids form a circle about 10-15 feet (3-4.5 m) across. Choose one member of the group to play the role of a bat. Blindfold the bat and have him or her stand in the center of the circle. Then designate three to five other children as moths and have them also come to the center. The object of the game is for the bat to try to tag as many moths as possible. Both the bat and moths can move, but they must stay within the circle. (Once a moth is tagged, he or she should go outside the circle and sit down.)
Whenever the bat calls out "bat," the moths have to respond by calling back "moth." Tell the moths that every time they hear the bat call "bat," it simulates the bat sending out an ultrasonic pulse to see what's in its path. The pulse bounces back to the bat, simulated by the moths calling out "moth."
The bat must listen carefully, concentrate to find out where the moths are, and try to tag them. To add more excitement, you can designate two children to be bats at the same time. Just watch to make sure the two bats don't collide with each other. You might want to pick a short and a tall child, so they don't bump heads.
As another variation, you can add obstacles by designating several children to play trees. When the bat calls out "bat," the moths must call out "moth" and the trees must call out "tree." If a bat runs into a tree as it tries to tag a moth, the bat is out.
(Idea reprinted with permission from Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell, Ananda Publications, 1979.)