Heidi Håvan Grosch
Orienteering is an obstacle course of sorts. With a map and a compass, players have to find their way through a maze of posts in record time. At each destination on the map, players get their race card stamped or punched to prove they were there.
Orienteering started in Sweden at the end of the 1800s, and was a way for the military to train in places they had never been. The earliest type of orienteering is called foot orienteering, which means you follow the course while walking or running. Now there are also courses for biking and skis! It became a sport after World War I (the early 1900s) and popular after compasses were made better in the 1930s.
The first international orienteering group, the International Orienteering Federation, was formed in 1961. It included the countries of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Germany, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and West Germany. (Can you find these countries on a map? Are they close together? Why do you think they participated in the first federation?)
World championships started in 1961 and were held every other year until 2003. Now they are held every year. Today there are 67 different countries in this organization, including the United States and Canada.
Can you find the original orienteering countries? (answers at bottom of page)
Norway’s orienteering organization (Norges Orienteringsforbund / NOF) started in 1945 and today has about 23,000 members in 395 different clubs around the country.
Make a treasure map
Making a treasure map is a little like orienteering. You follow a map with landmarks to find a treasure at the end. If you Google “making a treasure map” you can find many ideas on how to do that. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
Make a compass
Before compasses were invented, people often used the stars to find their way. Slaves used them to find the trail to freedom. Sailors used them to find their way across the ocean. Even the wise men followed a star to find a baby in a stable. When compasses were invented, it made finding your way easier. You can try making your own compass if you google “make your own compass.” Here are a few websites to get you started:
This article is a part of Barneblad, a monthly feature by Heidi Håvan Grosch to share with kids and grandkids.
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 12, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.