Canoes traveling in groups can play a few versions of the game Tag.
Use a foam or other lightweight ball to play canoe ball tag. Select one person to be "it" and have him throw the ball at someone else in a different canoe. That person becomes "it" and then throws the ball at someone else. When the ball lands in the water, it is up to the last person who touched it or who was hit by it to retrieve it and keep the game going.
Play bow tag by having the paddlers try to touch the bow of another canoe with their paddles without having their own bow touched. Both games help develop paddling and canoe maneuvering skills.
Any number of canoes can play a few leader games. Simon Says, where one person is the leader that others must follow when the leader says, "Simon Says," is one option. Anyone who follows the leader before or without the leader saying, "Simon Says," is disqualified.
Blindfolding each paddler and having another person on the canoe direct the paddler is another game option. If you have two or more canoes, you can race with blindfolded paddlers. Both games work on communication skills.
Two or more canoes traveling in tandem can play racing games. If you have two or more canoes, try racing the canoes without using paddles, only allowing passengers to paddle by hand.
If you have four or more canoes, divide them into teams of at least two boats and no more than four boats each. Each team links their canoes together with rope and has to travel faster as a unit than the other teams. Teams that become disconnected are disqualified. Canoe racing games develop speed and accuracy.
The scenery lends itself to a host of different games to play while you are traveling by canoe. Counting games involve counting the number of birds, fish, certain types of trees or anything else that pops up regularly along the route. Keep score by having one team or person only count the selected objects on the left side of the canoe while the other team can only count those on the right side of the canoe. Pick a certain object as a taboo, such as a dead tree. If the team on the right side sees a dead tree, they can wipe out the count amassed by the left side team by saying, "Dead tree wipe-out." The team on the left can do the same to the team on the right. Distracting the other team to miss items to count or the taboo item adds to the fun.
The game of I Spy is another option. One person begins by describing certain traits of something she sees in the distance while the others have to guess what the object is. Keep the clues vague or tricky for an added challenge. Scenery games work to enhance observational and concentration skills.
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.