8 Activities To Help Kids Develop Situational Awareness

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

This is part of our Girls Who Fight COVID-19 Activity Series. We created this collection to share educational games that teach kids about safety, confidence, and character. We truly hope you enjoy and learn some valuable lessons along the way!


Our student Sophie being observant!

Situational awareness is about being aware of your environment. The purpose is to improve your safety, memory, and general awareness of yourself and what's around you. For safety, being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid human and environmental dangers. Think noticing the pot hole in the road while bike riding, a hanging street light, a dangerous animal or insect, or a mysterious car that has been following you. When a person is observant, they gain the needed reaction time to avoid dangers. Outside of safety, greater awareness helps a person with memory. Think remembering where you car is parked and what your passwords are, being able to navigate when lost, being that person who always remembers names and birthdays, and keeping sentimental memories longer. Navigation, sense of direction, memory, and perception are all things that are improved with better situational awareness. The following games are designed to help kids improve their situational awareness skills.

*Note: If your kids are like me when I was younger and LOVE spy stuff, they will love these games! Make sure to put a fun spy spin on them to make them even more enticing!


Observation Scavenger Hunt

The Purpose: To improve observation and the processing of relevant information about our environment.

The Game: Before going on a journey, create a list of things the players need to find on their path.

  • Nature walk: a bush with berries, a birds nest, moss, a pine cone, four leaf clovers, an insect, something that doesn’t belong.

  • Car drive: traffic camera, stop sign, speed sign, a bus station, a dog, a grocery store, a child.

  • Mall: a person with glasses on, a person with running shoes, a person in a rush, a person who’s waiting for something, a person with a name tag, a baby stroller, mall exits, bathrooms, a store that sells a certain object (plates, birthday cards, etc.)

Methods: You can make it a competition among players, or make it a checklist that everyone is working together to complete by the end of the journey.



The Purpose: To gain navigation awareness and a sense of direction. This game will increase the players sense of independence, and if they ever get lost they will be able to stay calm and find their way.

The Game: After leaving a common destination, ask the player to direct you back home. The player should use landmarks, street signs, and directions like N/E/S/W or left and right to guide you. You can also go for walks and bike rides, and on the way back ask the players to guide you home.

Methods: On the first route note the percentage of the path they got right. It’s not about perfection, but about growth. Be willing to walk or drive the wrong way if they make a mistake. It will be an opportunity for them to problem solve, re-orient themselves, and learn. After they get 100% on one route, you can ‘unlock’ a new level, and pick a harder route. Like a video game! 😃


Memory Quiz

The Purpose: Our memory is like a muscle that can be strengthened. With better memory skills, we save time, stand out, and improve our safety.

The Game: Before going on a journey, let the players know that their observation skills are going to be tested along the way. Along the path, stop to ask them questions about their environment. ‘What color car was parked beside us?’, ‘How many exits were in the store?’, ‘What color shirt was the cashier wearing?’, ‘What exit did we take on the highway?’

Methods: you can make it into a grading system where if a player gets 7 right out of ten, they get a 70% or a B. Let the kids quiz the parents sometimes too! Advance question difficulty as players improve.