Activities & Games

Cat Hole Relay

Monika & David - October 20, 2019

An exciting activity that explores how to dispose of human waste properly

Ages: 6 and up

Group Size: Groups of any size.

Time: 15-20 minutes

Materials: 2 trowels, 2 fake poops (small sticks work well), area to dig, or 2 buckets with organic topsoil

Note: Buckets with soil are great for places where participants are unable to dig into the ground, or when there are many participants digging holes. Check out your local garden store for soil- then it can be used in the garden after!

Leave No Trace Objective: To teach participants how to properly dig a cat hole through a fun activity

Prep: If possible, prior to meeting with participants, find a place for this activity and have a cat hole already dug. When participants arrive, bring them over to the cat hole and describe how to dig a cat hole and why it is important to bury human waste where regulations allow. Be sure to mention that they should be 6-8” deep and 200 feet (about 70 adult paces) away from water, trails and camp.

Directions: Break the group into two teams. Have a starting line and a pooping area.  One person from each team digs 1-3 scoops (more or less depending on soil type), then runs back and tags the next person to dig. When a team believes they have dug a 6-8-inch cat hole, they must call over the facilitator. When the facilitator has deemed the group’s cat hole to be 6-8 inches, they will give the team their fake poop. The next person holds the fake poop between their knees and has to hop to the hole and deposit the fake poop into the hole, then runs back and tags the next person. Finally, the last person runs and covers the fake poop in the hole to make it look as if they were never there. The team that finishes first- by properly digging a 6-8-inch cat hole and properly disguising the hole after burying their fake poop wins!

Debriefing the Group: Discuss why it is important to dig a cat hole. How does properly disposed of human waste affect animals? Other visitors? Our fresh drinking water sources? And why 6-8 inches?

Principle 3: Dispose of Waste Properly

After the activity, the group can practice digging cat holes individually. This is when the buckets especially come in handy! Trust us- we’ve watched kids dig their own cat holes for hours!

Check out 064 Cat Hole Olympics in 101 Ways to Teach Leave No Trace for another fun Cat Hole Activity!

Leave No Trace’s Monika Baumgart and David LeMay are part of the 2019 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of AmericaREIEagles Nest OutfittersDeuter, ThuleFjällräven and Klean Kanteen

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

Get the latest in Leave No Trace eNews in your inbox so you can stay informed and involved.