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NEW - Snail on the Trail Game!

NEW - Snail on the Trail Game!

Posted by Cathy Knight on Mar 11, 2021

Brand NEW "COVID-Safe" Game Idea...

Snail on the Trail™

Updated April 12, 2023

Things may or may not be opening up in your neck of the woods, but one thing is for sure - families are ready to get out and have some fun while staying safe!

Carnival Savers is happy to announce a brand new game called Snail on the Trail™ which is a fun, social distanced game for all ages! This is a fantastic alternative to carnivals, Easter egg hunts, parties, festivals and more, because it is played in family groups or in your "social bubble" with others you regularly spend time with!

This game is similar to an "I Spy" type game that is played in a large space with players looking for toy animals set up by a committee.

Snail on the Trail™ is ideal for non-profits such as schools, churches, or neighborhood associations and could be organized by an apartment complex or even a senior living facility.

Organizing is easy - read the 4 steps below and you will be well on your way to setting up a game that literally hundreds of adults of all ages and children in your area can safely enjoy!

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nb-one.jpg  Step #1: Choose Your Location and Date

First, you need a public location that will allow you to set up about 10 - 12 different areas or "Snail Stops" at least 50 - 100 feet apart.

Ideal places include a school track, neighborhood trail, business, church, or school sidewalk near some landscaping. Even the indoor hallways of a retirement center work great too! 

Next, if planning for families, we recommend a Saturday that does not interfere with holidays.

(If you are worried about rainy weather, keep reading as we have some tips on how to handle that situation.)


checkmark.jpg Step #2: Gather and Prepare Your Supplies

For this COVID-safe activity, as mentioned above, you are gathering supplies to hide for an in-person "I Spy" type of game.

We suggest 12 different animals at 12 different locations along your trail that we call "Snail Stops."

That's 144 different critters to hide, so we suggest using buckets to organize your stations!

In addition, you need pieces of cardstock with the numbers 1 - 12 for your Snail Stops. We suggest you laminate these to prevent humidity, morning dew or rain from destroying your numbers. 

Also, we hot-glued our snails to fairly large rocks to make sure a good breeze did not send our numbers down the trail (see the example above.)

We have some FREE printables with the numbers 1 - 12, as you see in the example above. Click Here to Download your Snail on the Trail™ Game Numbers!


NOTE: For lightweight toy animals, use hot glue to attach to "paper weight size" rocks or a thick, short stick. In addition, we glued our floating duck to a rock before we added it to a very shallow and slow running stream to make sure it did not float away!


Quick Tip: Dividing out the animals before your event and putting them in buckets will make your big day a breeze!

Also, families told us that they would love to be able to check off animals they find at each "Snail Stop."  Be sure to include a checklist for your families, that way they will know what creatures to find at each stop (see the link below to download ours for FREE).

If you notice in the image below, our check sheet has 12 different animals at each Snail Stop. Depending on the personalities of children in your group, you may wish to have the children take turns finding the animals at the different stops. If they are having trouble, they can always ask for help from the others in your group.


Click Here for FREE Printables for this game!

nb-three.jpg Step #3: Invite Your Guests

Let's face it - after a year like we just had, NOBODY wants to wait in long lines!

That's why we designed this game as a "come-and-go" or "open house" style arrival!

We recommend having families sign up in 15-minute increments in which you have 2 - 3 openings to allow a few families to arrive at about the same time. The best way to easily accomplish this goal is to use an online signup software from a trusted company.

We recommend as they have a free account that will allow you to schedule your 15 minute slots for 2 - 3 families at a time so each family can choose the time that works best for them!

Also, you may wish to allow an hour break about midway through the day in the scheduling of families.

That way, if the families are taking longer than expected, you will not be pushing back the times for the entire day! In addition, this gives your volunteers a break for refreshments.



nb-four.jpg #4: The BIG Day - Setup and Volunteers

Setup for this game is fun - and we mean it! It's kind of like hiding Easter eggs for kids, and coming up with some great spots where the assorted animals hide is one of the more enjoyable volunteer activities for sure!

Volunteers will set out one weighted snail on top of a number (as shown in the first picture), starting with number 1. Next, they will hide the other animals in the same general area as the "Snail Stop" they just made. 

A few "best practices" for the folks hiding the animals:

1. All animals must be SEEN from the trail. When hiding, walk back to the trail and make sure they are visible as the players are all told they must stay on the trail.

2. The smallest of the toy animals should be almost on the trail or right to the side of the trail. In our set, the baby turtles, and colorful lizards would need to be right on the side of the trail so you are sure someone will spot them.

3. Make sure the animals are secure, and will not fall or blow away with a big gust of wind. Once again, secure with hot glue to clean rocks or thick, short sticks. It is also a good idea to bring string or short bungee cords for securing some animals in the lower branches of the trees.

4. Safety first - be extra careful when hiding the animals off the trail. Wear appropriate clothing such as boots and/or long sleeves and watch carefully for moving wildlife like snakes or "still wildlife" like poison ivy. Only place animals where you can easily reach them. We do not recommend climbing trees, crossing rivers, or balancing on edges of cliffs that are unsafe. 

Our suggestion is to allow plenty of time for setup. We would recommend that you have at least 3 volunteers or 3 groups of volunteers who set up a few Snail Stops instead of one small group trying to set up all 12 Snail Stops before your event!


In addition, it is helpful if your volunteers mark the trail with arrows so families know they are on the right path for the next Snail Stop.

Once again, to the rescue! can help you organize your volunteers who participate with the Snail Stops - and the volunteers who will attend the check-in table.

Also, adding a quick, colorful hanging flag banner to highlight your starting point on the trail and adding pinwheels (optional) to help mark the trail along with the arrows is a great idea!

Don't forget to grab some chairs and a table for your check-in volunteers and watch the fun begin!

Worried About rain? We said we would share some thoughts about the weather so you can best plan. Of course, with all outdoor activities, rainstorms are no fun. So if mother nature is not cooperating, feel free to cancel and have a backup date for your fun event. 

If the weather is iffy, and you are wondering about the stuffed animals getting wet - we tested that scenario out too! 

We took a bright yellow chick and left it outside for more than 2 weeks. It sat hot-glued to a rock in the sunshine, wind, and rain. Although our little chick looked like it was having a bad hair day after a driving rain, once it dried out, you could hardly tell it was soaked! So, if it does rain on your animals, they will be fine - just make sure they are completely dried out before storing for the next year!


checkmark.jpg Add a Little More Fun...

If you saw our video, we mentioned that the kids were having so much fun they were running from Snail Stop to Snail Stop! While we were thrilled that they were so excited to find the animals at the next station, we know that it is the best practice to have everyone walking. One suggestion that was made was to put up "fun facts" along the way to the next Snail Stop.

This way the kids stop to read the fun fact and it gives them something to learn and to discuss with their group before they get to the next station. (We also have another suggestion below, so keep reading!)


nb-.jpg Make Your Game EXTREME!

For really active and bright children, and for some "eagle eye" adults, we are going to suggest an alteration to the game to give everyone more of a challenge!

Choose one animal, (we suggest the baby bunny) and place this small, stuffed animal on the way to the next Snail Stop. This will add a true challenge as there are so many hiding places while walking to the next Snail Stop.

If you decide to make your Snail on the Trail™ Extreme - be sure to set a guideline like "the bunny will always be within 8 feet of the trail and visible on the ground, not hiding in a tree." This will make the game extra fun, instead of frustrating - the players have a hint as they are walking along.

One more benefit to setting up your game as EXTREME is that, with one very challenging animal to find along the way to the next Snail Stop, the kids will be less likely to run, as they will be searching for the hidden animal!


If you are planning on using our COVID-safe, social distanced game idea, as you most likely guessed, we have an amazing Snail on the Trail™ Game Set! This set is for a super-low price and FREE Shipping (in the lower 48 US states.)
Click to see all the details - and order while everything is still in stock!

We hope your friends and family enjoy the Snail on the Trail™ Game as much as we enjoyed coming up with the idea and sharing with you!

Thank you so much for reading our Carnival Savers blog! If you have any questions - reach out to our friendly customer care team - we are happy to help!