O in a Box (#1)

‘O in a Box’ is a neat-and-tidy programme that teaches the fundamental elements of orienteering through a bunch of games and activities. The best part about this Level 1 is that the teacher needs no prior knowledge of orienteering. In this level we teach:

  • map orientation
  • that symbols on a map represent objects in reality
  • the relationship between objects in reality and the map/plan
  • distance/scale through pacing.

To familiarise teachers with the lessons we spend an hour with the teacher (or a bit more time if there is a group) and we go through each of the games, how the games can best be taught and ways to incorporate them into a cross-country environment.

SAOF provides the schools with a ‘Box’, which contains all the material needed for the activities. All we ask for in return is feedback from teachers on how far they got during their time available in the term, the grades that did these activities, numbers of boys and girls, what worked and what didn’t etc. In addition to providing this feedback to the Department of Sport and Education, Lottery and SASCOC – we are very fortunate to receive funding from them to be able to run this programme and we use the feedback to refine and improve the games and activities.

Level 1 is very important because it is a solid foundation. ‘O in a Box’ Level 2 starts to introduce map symbols and colours, it teaches thumbing and folding and aims to improve map familiarity through a variety of fun games and activities.

If you’re a teacher and you’re interested in doing orienteering activities at your school, please contact o4schools@orienteering.co.za.

Content from ‘O in a Box’ – Level 1 is available for download below.


This ‘O in a Box – Level 1’ document contains six weeks (or more depending on the age of the children, size of the group and duration of the lesson) of orienteering games. The activities introduce and teach orienteering basics like orientating a map, associating symbols with objects, locating controls in order and the relationship between objects in terms of size and distance. This first level does not require a map and the teacher does not need any prior orienteering knowledge or experience. Please download and print the activity sheets below as these accompany the games.

Activity sheets (#1) – updated 12 January 2015

Print these sheets and use them for activities described in the ‘O in a Box – Level 1’ manual Remember to laminate the cards so that you can reuse them. These pages have been sized for A4 printing in black and white.

Download this Cone Grid MASTER. It indicates ‘active cones’ for the various 4×5 and 7×7 cone grid options.


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    Hello, I’m Ceylan Özbek Ayaz from Turkey. I am a student in the pre-school education doctorate program and as a thesis topic, I will study orienteering with pre-school children. I need activity suggestions that I will plan with 5-6 years old.
    I would be very happy if you could help me

    Best regards

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