Activities

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  • Most of this wiki is about where to go for an activity. This page is about what to do for an activity.
  • If you want to print or save just a single game, you can highlight just that game or block of text with your mouse and print using the following options: (1) choose <Page Range: Selection> to print only what is highlighted; and (2) choose <Printer: Microsoft Print to PDF> to create a PDF file instead of printing to paper.

Short Table of Contents


1. Purposes of Activities

2. Campout Main Activities

3. Preopening Activities

4. Relays and Similar Competitions

5. Team Building Activities

6. Campwide and Field Games

7. Party Games

8. Learning from Activities

9. Other Resources

Subpages from This Page


1 Purposes of Activities

  • Purposes of Activities. Activities have many valuable purposes, including the following:
  • Enticing Scouts to show up. Program is only one of Scouting's 8 methods. But it is the primary method that gets Scouts to show up so that other methods can also be implemented.
  • Making learning fun. "If it is not fun, it is not Scouting;"
  • Making waiting around for others fun. "If it is not fun, it is not Scouting;"
  • Getting out the wiggles, and helping to break up a troop meeting into a series of short activities;
  • Channeling energy by giving a patrol something to focus on immediately before a competition so that patrol members will keep each other on task instead of adult leaders having to do this – "Come on, pay attention, we don't want to lose;"
  • Testing under pressure to evaluate content mastery;
  • Working together: (1) to build group cohesion; (2) to learn cooperation and citizenship; and (3) for patrol leaders to practice leadership;
  • Choosing Activities. Activities come in many different types. Before planning an activity, it is worth thinking about the goals of the activity and then picking a type of activity that is well suited to meet those goals.
  • Age Range of This List. Different activities are good for different age groups. This list is aimed at youth ages 11-14.

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2 Campout Main Activities

  • These are activities that get selected during a troop annual program planning as the main activity or focus of a campout or other monthly activity.
  • These activities are broadly divided into two categories for older and younger Scouts. The rationale for this distinction is explained in Multi-Year Program. Troops can decide whether and how to implement such a distinction in light of their own particular circumstances.

2.1 Younger Scouts

  • Five Mile Hike
  • Urban Five Mile Hike
  • Orienteering (NTOA meets)
  • Backpacking a short distance into camp
  • Pioneering
  • Archery
  • Wilderness Survival Campout
  • Attending a Historical Reenactment
  • Visit a Living History Site
  • Canoeing
  • Service Project
  • Summer Camp
  • District or Council Camporee
  • Staffing Webelos Woods
  • Advancement Day / Merit Badge Workshop

2.2 Older Scouts

  • Backpacking Trip
  • Twenty Mile Hike
  • Rock Climbing or Climbing Gym
  • Shooting
  • Mountain Biking
  • Fifty Mile Bicycle Ride
  • COPE
  • Downtown Tower Climb
  • Multi-day Canoe Trip
  • Whitewater Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Sailing

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3 Preopening Activities

  • A good preopening activity allows participants to be added as they arrive at the beginning of a troop meeting.
  • The fact that a good preopening activity is happening does not prevent pulling some Scouts aside for skill review or instruction.

3.1 Throwing Games

3.1.1 Dodgeball

  • Location: A gym or other large indoor space with a center line
  • Equipment: Several dodgeballs
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.1.2 Spud

  • Location: Outdoors or a large room with a high ceiling
  • Equipment: A ball, beanbag, or other object to throw at players (the "spud")
  • How to Play: "IT" stands in the center of a circle formed by the other players. IT throws the spud straight up into the air and calls the name of another player who now becomes IT. All other players scatter until IT catches spud and yells "Spud." All other players must then freeze. Players unable to stop immediately must go back to the point they were at when Spud was called. Rules often vary as to whether players must keep both feet planted or may move one foot while keep only the other foot planted, but players may otherwise squirm to avoid being hit by the spud as IT throws the spud at a player. If another player is hit by the spud, then that player becomes IT. Repeat.
  • Variations:
  • IT may take three long steps before throwing the spud at a targeted player.
  • IT calls out the name of the new IT not when the spud is thrown up into the air, but only when the spud reaches it highest point at apogee.

3.1.3 Pop Up

  • Location: Outdoors or a large room with a high ceiling
  • Equipment: A football, nerf football, softball, or other ball that can be thrown and caught
  • How to Play: "IT" throws a ball up into the air in the general direction of the assembled other players. Those other players each try to catch the ball. The person who catches the ball gains a point and the ball is returned to IT. When someone catches the ball for the third time, they become IT, and all scores start over at zero.

3.1.4 Throwing Balls at Targets

  • Equipment:
  • One or more balls, beanbags, or other objects to throw
  • Basket, stack of cans, or other targets to throw the balls at or into.
  • How to Play: Players throw the balls trying to either hit a target object with the ball or to get the ball into the target basket.
  • Variations:
  • Throw balls at stacks of aluminum cans.
  • Throw balls into wastebaskets.
  • Play H-O-R-S-E or Around the World, as in basketball, where a player must copy …
  • Just simply throw hackysacks at each other

3.1.5 Hit the Can

  • Location: Requires a marked circle, can be marked with chalk or rope
  • Equipment:
  • A ball
  • A stick about 4 feet long
  • A can
  • How to Play: The can is placed in the middle of the circle. One player is the goalie and uses the stick to try to prevent the can being hit by the ball. The other players stand outside the circle and try to hit the can with the ball. Players in the circle may pass the ball to each other.

3.1.6 Keep Away

  • Location: Outdoors or a large room with a high ceiling
  • Equipment: A football, nerf football, softball, frisbee, or other object that can be thrown and caught
  • Teams or individual

3.1.7 Aerobic Tag

  • Variant of Team Keep Away
  • Equipment:
  • A large open room or field
  • A frisbee, ball, beanbag, or similar object that can be thrown and caught
  • How to Play: Players are divided into two teams. The ball is thrown up into the air. A player catches or grabs the ball and tries to keep away from the other team. The ball may be passed or handed to teammates. If the player with the ball is tagged with two hands below the waist, the player must stop and immediately throw the ball to a teammate. If a member of the other team catches or picks up the ball, the roles of the two teams flip.

3.1.8 Ball Over

  • Similar to: This is a team version of Hot Potato, and the opposite of team Keep Away
  • Location: A gym or other large indoor space with a center line
  • Equipment:
  • A ball
  • A blindfold
  • A whistle (optional)
  • How to Play: The umpire is blindfolded and given the whistle. The other players are divided into two teams on opposite sides of the center line. Players cannot cross the center line. Players try to keep the ball off of their side and on the other team's side. The umpire periodically blows the whistle (or yells), at which point the team with the ball on their side of the line receives a penalty. The team with the fewest penalties wins.

3.1.9 Frisbee Toss

  • Location: A large open area either indoors or outside
  • Equipment: One or more frisbees
  • How to Play: Players stand in a circle and toss the frisbee(s) to each other. Or the players can stand in two groups and throw the frisbee(s) back and forth between the two groups.

3.1.10 Frisbee Golf

  • Equipment: (1) A large open area either indoors or outside; (2) Several frisbees; (3) A frisbee goal or other container into which the frisbee(s) can be thrown.
  • Preparation: Set up the frisbee goal. This can be in the middle of the area, or at one edge.
  • How to Play: Players informally take turns trying to throw the frisbees into the goal. One or two people can stand by the goal and toss frisbees back out to the other players.

3.1.11 Frisbee Dodgeball

  • Also Known As: Frisbee Shootout
  • Location: A gym or other large room
  • Equipment: One frisbee per player, with an equal number of two different colors
  • How to Play: Each team may only pick up, throw, catch, or otherwise come into contact with frisbees of their own team's color. Each player begins the game holding one of their own team's frisbees. On signal, players may begin to throw their frisbees. Any player hit below the waist or elbow with an opposing team's frisbee is out. Player's may not catch or knock down the other team's frisbees with their hands because this would cause them to come into contact with the frisbee, but players may knock down an opposing team's frisbee with one of their own frisbees, either held or thrown. Players may pick up thrown frisbees belonging to their own team and will quickly begin doing so. There is no center line or safe zone.
  • Variations:
  • Play with more than two teams.
  • For foul penalties, remove from play a frisbee of that team's color.
  • Have players act out a dramatic death when hit.

3.1.12 Throw Coiled Rope or Life Ring

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.1.13 Casting with a Fishing Pole

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.1.14 Lassoing the Steer

  • Location: Requires a marked circle, can be marked with chalk or rope
  • Equipment:
  • One or more #10 metal cans with some weight inside
  • A rope for each player
  • How to Play: Players stand in a marked circle around the can. Without entering the circle, players try to lasso the "steer" and drag it to them.

3.1.15 Paper Airplanes

  • Equipment:
  • A stack of paper
  • Pens for labeling (optional)
  • How to Play: Players fold and throw paper airplanes to fly furthest, stay aloft longest, etc.

3.2 Tagging and Similar Games

3.2.1 Tag

  • Location: A large open field or room.
  • How to Play: The player who is "IT" tries to tag any other player, and the other players try to avoid being tagged. When IT tags another player, the tagged player becomes IT.
  • Variations:
  • There is typically a rule against "tagbacks" prohibiting the player who was just tagged from immediately tagging back the player who did the tagging until some period of time has elapsed, perhaps 10 seconds.
  • Hospital Tag. Every player is IT and also has three lives. When tagged, a player must hold a hand on the part of their body that was tagged. When tagged again, the player's second hand must do likewise. When tagged a third time, the player is out.

3.2.2 Steal the Bacon

  • Location: A gym or other large space with two starting lines and a center line
  • Equipment:
  • An eraser, piece of cloth, or other small object to retrieve
  • How to Play: Separate players into two opposing teams and number off each player 1 - 2 - 3 … When the umpire calls out a number, the player from each team who has that number races to the object and attempts to pick it up and return to their own starting line without being tagged by the opposing player. A point is awarded for either successfully returning to the player's own starting line with the object and without being tagged, or for tagging the opposing player after retrieving the object.
  • Variations:
  • Place a red object and a green object in the middle. The umpire makes a statement, and if true the green object is retrieved, but if false the red object is retrieved. A point is given to the other team if a player retrieves the wrong object, or pursues the opposing player after retrieving the wrong object.
  • Call a second pair of players before the first pair has finished, especially if there is a standoff with neither player daring to retrieve the object.
  • Place five cups in the middle with a different object under each cup. Players must keep track of which object is under which cup, and are slowed down if they must look under more than one cup.

3.2.3 Crows and Cranes

  • Equipment: A gymnasium or other playing area with marked boundaries and a center line.
  • How to Play: Divide the players into two equal teams. One team is designated Crows, the other is designated Cranes. Each team stands on its side of the center line. When the umpire calls out "Crows," the Crows race across the center line and attempt to tag any Cranes before reaching the line at the back of the play area. Any player tagged joins the other team. This is repeated many times as teams grow and shrink. This game will be just as aerobic as any player wants it to be based upon how close they stand to the center line.
  • Variations: (1) The umpire can call out fall starts such as "Crazy Tom" or "Crop Circle," and then immediately call out the opposite Crows or Cranes while everyone is still flat-footed. (2) If the umpire just called out Crows, the umpire can call out Cranes before all Crows have returned across the center line.

3.2.4 Tiger in a Cage

  • Location: Requires a marked circle, can be marked with chalk or rope
  • How to Play: The player who is "It" cannot leave the circle. Other players taunt IT by darting in and out of the circle. If tagged, a player becomes IT.

3.2.5 Poison

  • Location: Requires a marked circle, can be marked with chalk or rope
  • How to Play: Players join hands and move rapidly around the circle. Each player tries to make the adjacent players step into the circle. Any player who steps inside the circle is "poisoned" and drops out of the game. The last remaining player is the winner.

3.3 Games of Infiltration and Wits

3.3.1 Red Light, Green Light

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.3.2 Sleeping Pirate

  • Equipment:
  • Erasers or other objects to retrieve
  • A blindfold
  • How to Play: The blindfolded pirate sits in middle of the room (or on a table) with legs crossed and the erasers in front of them. The other players try to sneak up from the far edge of the room, take an eraser, and get back to the far edge of the room undetected. The winner is the first to do so. If the pirate points at a player who made noise, the detected player must put the eraser back and start over again from the far edge of the room.
  • Variations:
  • Instead of pointing, the pirate throws hackysacks. An umpire retrieves them for the sleeping pirate.
  • Play outdoors and use a squirt gun instead of pointing.

3.3.3 Jump the Shot

  • Equipment: A rope with a beanbag or other soft weight attached at the end
  • How to Play: One person stands in the middle of the open area and swings the rope in a continuous circle at or below knee level. The others jump over the rope as it comes to them in order to avid being hit by the rope. If a player is hit by the rope, they replace the person in the center.
  • Variations:
  • Place objects in the area for players to retrieve without being hit by the string.
  • When hit, a player gets a penalty point but does not replace the person in the middle. The winner is the player with the fewest penalty points.

3.3.4 Simon Says

  • How to Play: "Simon" stands at the front and gives commands to the group. The proper command "Simon says jump three times" must be obeyed because it begins with "Simon says," but the improper command "Jump three times" must be ignored because it does not begin with "Simon says." Any player who fails to obey a proper command, or who begins to obey an improper command, is out. The last remaining player wins and becomes Simon for the next game.
  • Variations:
  • Use a different name, such as "O'Grady says …" Then throw in some improper commands that begin with "Simon says …"
  • Simon can occasionally also follow the commands, encouraging the group to obey improper commands by imitation.
  • Simon begins each statement with "Do this …" (proper) or "Do that …" (improper).
  • The group can be split in half, with some obeying only proper commands, and the other obeying only improper commands.
  • A player who makes a mistake is not out, but takes a step backward. Play until someone reaches the back wall, and then the player closest to Simon is the winner and becomes Simon.
  • Simon says hold your breath. Simon says don't think about breathing. Simon says don't let your face turn red. You're out. Okay, you can breathe now. You're out. Simon says do ten jumping jacks …

3.3.5 Ring on a String

  • Equipment:
  • A long string
  • A metal washer or other ring.
  • How to Play: Place the washer on the string and tie the two ends of the string together to form a loop. Players stand in a circle with "It" in the middle. Players in the circle each grasp the string with both hands. It tries to guess who has the ring inside their fist while the other players secretly pass the washer from one player to the next. If It guesses where washer is, the person caught with the washer becomes It. Can score by how many times around the ring goes while a player is It, playing for low score.

3.4 Outdoor Skills

3.4.1 Stargazing

  • Location: Outdoors with a clear dark sky.
  • How to Play: Point out constellations.

3.4.2 Pacing 100 Feet

  • Location / Equipment: A way to measure off 100 feet. Note that parking spaces are often exactly ten feet wide, and that ten parking spaces will often be exactly 100 feet.
  • How to Play:

3.4.3 Leaf Identification

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.4.4 Whip or Fuse Rope Ends

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.4.5 Teaching an Unusual Knot or Rope Trick

  • Equipment: Ropes
  • Preparation: None
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

3.4.6 Roast Marshmallows in the Parking Lot

  • Equipment: (1) Marshmallows; (2) Several roasting sticks; (3) One or more propane stoves.
  • How to Play: Scouts roast marshmallows as they arrive.

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4 Relays and Similar Competitions

  • The typical relay competition involves lining up the team behind a starting line and having team members race one at a time to a point where they perform some task before returning to the starting line, whereupon the next team member takes a turn.
  • Relay races are often judged on the shortest time to complete a set number of repetitions. They can also be judged instead on the largest number of repetitions completed during a set period of time, which can sometimes do a better job of compensating for teams of unequal size.
  • Relays deprive individuals of a place to hide. Relays require every individual to perform under pressure and thus demonstrate how well (or not) the skill or knowledge has been learned. But if the correct mood is not maintained, it can also put weak individuals on the spot and cause them to feel that they have clearly let down their team in front of everyone.
  • Relays are best suited to performing short rote tasks because most of the participants will spend most of their time as spectators.

4.1 A Multitude of Generic Relays

  • Almost any physical activity, skill, or knowledge can be tested in a relay. For example: knot relay, first aid skill relay, points of the Scout Law relay, ten situps relay, animal tracks identification relay, etc. No effort has been made to list all of these possibilities. The relays below are considered to be unusually fun, creative, or otherwise useful.

4.2 Specific Relay Races

4.2.1 Knot Tying Relay

  • Note: This relay is not particularly interesting, but is extremely common, and so is included to illustrate ideas about how to conduct relays in general.
  • Equipment: Per team:
  • A rope
  • A pole or other object to tie knots to
  • A stock of index cards, each with the name of a knot written on it
  • How to Play: On signal one player from each team runs forward with a rope to the testing point. The player turns over a card and ties that knot. After turning over the card, a player may at any time pass by running back to their team before attempting or completing the knot. The player then runs back to their team and hands the rope to the next player. The judges keep track of the number of knots successfully tied by each team. Run the relay for a set time or a set number of knots so that there is no need to adjust for different sized teams. The winning condition should allow each player to tie 2-3 knots.

4.2.2 Coiled Rope / Life Ring Toss Relay

  • Equipment: Per team:
  • A rope
  • A life ring or other weight at the end of the rope (optional)
  • A tarp, large piece of cardboard, or furniture dolly (optional).
  • How to Play: Each team stands behind a starting line. One person on each team stands behind a catching line 20 feet away. On signal, one player on each team coils the team's rope and throws it to the team member who is behind the catching line. The throwing player continues attempting until successful. When successful, the next team takes and coils the rope to repeat, and the player who just was the throwing player races to the catching line to become the next catching player.
  • Variations:
  • Teams can be split with half behind each of the two lines. When the rope is caught, it is pulled across and then thrown in the other direction.
  • The person catching the rope can sit on a piece of cardboard, a tarp, or a four wheeled furniture dolly and be pulled back to the starting line.
  • The person catching the rope must tie a one-handed bowline around the waist before being pulled to the starting line.

4.2.3 Log Hoist Relay

  • Equipment: Per team:
  • Large pulley
  • Rope to attach pulley to a large tree
  • Long rope
  • Heavy object
  • Preparation: Suspend a pulley from a branch or other secure object.
  • How to Play: A long rope is attached to a heavy object, run through a pulley, and laid out to a starting line. Players are positioned behind the starting line. On signal, one player raises and lowers the weight as many times as possible within 2 minutes. At 2 minutes another signal is given, and the next player takes over. Scoring is based on the number of repetitions completed.
  • Variations:
  • On signal, the player must first secure the rope to the weight before raising and lowering it.
  • Repeat with a block and tackle to compare the required effort with a simple pulley.
  • The weight may not be dropped, and the repetition will not be counted if it is, but must instead be lowered gently.

4.2.4 Log Raising Relay

  • Other Names: Heaving Bar
  • Equipment: Per team:
  • A crossbar lashed between two trees or otherwise supported about 10 feet above the ground
  • A long rope
  • A large log about 12 inches thick and 3 feet long
  • Preparation: Lash the crossbar(s) between two trees or otherwise support it about 10 feet above the ground.
  • How to Play: On signal, the first player of each team runs forward, picks up the rope, throws one end over the crossbar, ties a timber hitch around the log, raises the log off the ground, lets it drop, unties the rope, and runs back to the starting line. Each player repeats.
  • Variations:
  • Can require that a sheepshank also be tied in the rope before raising the log.

4.2.5 Log Rolling Relay

  • Equipment: (1) Large log about a foot thick and 3 feet wide; (2) 8 stakes to mark 4 gates along a course (like gates that downhill skiers must pass through).
  • Preparation: Mark the course. The course can be straight or can make turns. The gates should be about a foot wider than the log is long. If the log is about 3 feet long, then the gates should be about 4 feet wide.
  • How to Play: On signal, the first two team members use their hands and feet to roll the log through the course and back to the starting point. Then the next two team members go. Scoring as in any other relay race.
  • Variations: Multiple courses can be laid out for multiple teams to run simultaneously side by side.

4.2.6 Two-Person First Aid Carry Relay

  • How to Play: Two players carry a third team member using a first aid two-person carry for a set distance or around an obstacle course.

4.2.7 Stretcher Relay

  • Equipment: Per team: Two poles and one blanket or tarp.
  • How to Play: On signal, each team runs forward and folds the blanket or tarp over the poles to form a stretcher. One team member then gets on the stretcher while it is carried by two or four other patrol members for a set distance or around an obstacle course.

4.2.8 Bowsaw Cutting Relay

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) Bowsaw; (2) Log to be cut; (3) A means to support the log off the ground, such as another log.
  • How to Play: Each player races forward in turn and cuts a section off the end of the log.
  • Variations: (1) Team members can race forward in pairs, with one holding the wood and the other cutting. When the Wood is cut through, they switch places. (2) Judging can be based on average time per team member rather than overall shortest time.

4.2.9 Thurman Throw

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) a walking stick or stave (preferably encased in a pool floatie noodle).
  • How to Play: Players stand in single file, with one player (the captain) in front facing the line. The captain tosses the stick to the first player in line, who tosses it back and ducks down. This is then repeated with the next player in line and each succeeding player in line. This is done twice with the last player in line, and repeated again with each player back to the front of the line, with each player now remaining standing after tossing the stick back to the captain.

4.2.10 Punctured Drum Relay

  • Equipment: (1) Water source such as a hose or bucket full of water; Per team: (2) A large metal drum or can with holes punched in the sides so that it leaks – all cans should leak at about the same rate.
  • Preparation: Have an available water source.
  • How to Play: Each team tries to fill its drum a with water. The holes in the drum cause it to leak, and the holes may be plugged only with body parts. 50 holes will occupy the fingers of 5 players.
  • Lesson: This is how interest works. The faster you pay it back, the less you lose. But money will always be leaking away until it is repaid in full.

4.2.11 Punctured Can Relay

  • Equipment: (1) Water source such as a hose or bucket full of water; Per team: (2) A metal can with holes punched in the sides so that it leaks – all cans should leak at about the same rate; (3) A tub into which water is poured.
  • Preparation: Have an available water source.
  • How to Play: A player fills the punctured can and carries it a set distance to the tub and empties the can of water into the tub. Each team member repeats in relay fashion. The first team to fill their tub wins. The further the distance or the slower the player, the more water will leak out.
  • Lesson: This is how interest works. The faster you pay it back, the less you lose. But money will always be leaking away until it is repaid in full.

4.2.12 Food Eating Relays / Doughnut Eating Relay

  • Equipment: One string per patrol; one doughnut per participant.
  • Preparation: Tie one string per team at both ends at about eye level. Put one doughnut per patrol member on each string.
  • How to Play: To race in relay fashion to the string and eat one doughnut without using your hands. BUT WON'T IT EVENTUALLY FALL OFF THE STRING?!
  • Variations: Any other food; any other method of presenting the food.

4.2.13 Luck Relay

  • Equipment: One coin or other small object per team.
  • How to Play: Players are divided into teams and run this event in relay fashion. A leader stands at the performance point for each team. As each player reaches the performance point, they try to guess which hand is hiding a coin by tapping one of two outstretched hands. If they guess correctly, they return to their team and the next player goes. If they guess incorrectly, they return to their team and then must run the event again repeatedly until they guess correctly.

4.3 Aquatic Relays

4.3.1 Ping Pong Ball Relay

  • Equipment: per team: (1) A ping pong ball.
  • How to Play: Line up in relay formation at pool. On signal the first player for each team pushes off from the side of the pool and swims to the other side, blowing the ping pong ball before them without touching it.

4.3.2 Lifeline Relay

  • See above.

4.3.3 Candle Relay

  • Equipment: per team: (1) A candle
  • How to Play: Line up in relay formation at pool. On signal the first player for each team swims with lighted candle up and back the length of the pool, then the next until done. To prevent hot wax from dripping onto skin, push candle through hole in the center of a foil plate.

4.3.4 Spoon Relay

  • Equipment: per team: (1) A spoon; (2) A hard-boiled egg (or apple or potato or rock).
  • How to Play: Line up in relay formation at pool. On signal the first player for each team with egg on spoon to other end and back. Then the next player. One variation says spoon must be in the mouth (sideways works best)

4.3.5 Wet Shirt or Pants Relay

  • Equipment: per team: (1) A shirt of pair of sweat pants
  • How to Play: Line up in relay formation at pool. On signal the first player for each team puts on the article of clothing, jumps into the pool, swims across and back, climbs out of the pool, and takes of the article of clothing. Each player repeats. The first player can start with the article of clothing still dry or already wet.

4.3.6 Diving for Wrapped Caramels

  • Equipment: (1) Individually wrapped caramels.
  • How to Play: Line up in relay formation at pool. On signal the first player for each team dives into the pool for one caramel. Repeat.

4.4 Other Races and Competitions

4.4.1 Blind Compass

  • Equipment: (1) Blindfolds (optional).
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

4.4.2 Blindfolded Compass Walk

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

4.4.3 Isotope

  • Equipment: (1) A marble for each team; (2) A small piece of cardboard for each player.
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

4.4.4 Log Pull / Log Hitching Race

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) A large log; (2) A long rope.
  • How to Play: On signal, a team ties a timber hitch around the log and drags it about 50 feet to a turning point and back. This is most memorable when the log is big enough that it takes real effort to pull it around the course instead of just being a race with an object in tow.
  • Variations: (1) Players cannot pull the rope with their hands, but must each tie a bowline on a bight along the rope and place the loop around their waist or over their shoulder. (2) Or instead of a bowline, tie an overhand know on a bight.

4.4.5 Tenderfoot Req. No. 6: Physical Tests

  • Pushups completed in 60 seconds
  • Situps or Curlups completed in 60 seconds
  • Back-saver sit-annd-reach distance
  • 1 mile walk/run time

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5 Teambuilding Activities

  • Team-Building activities are also known as "initiative games" or ???.
  • Team-building activities test groups rather than individuals. The best team-building activities require communication, cooperation, and creative group problem solving. These activities are well suited to building group cohesion as team members work together to accomplish a common goal. Team-building activities do not always require an element of competition; often the completion of the task is its own reward.
  • Team-building activities should engage all team members for most of the time, and are therefore well-suited to longer and more complicated tasks that involve problem-solving and/or several time consuming steps.
  • Anyone who steps into a prohibited zone can be made ti suffer a penalty such as a blindfold, arm in a sling, no talking, etc. Have a shuffled deck of cards with penalties written on them. Teams can be required to impose this penalty by "treating" their team member with first aid by applying a blindfold or sling, etc.

5.1 Pioneering

  • Many of the best team-building activities for Scouts involve pioneering projects. Knots and lashings are worth learning if only because this opens up the ability to problem solve and cooperate in manipulating objects at a distance armed only with the tools of sticks, loose strings and hooks, and connecting knots and lashings.

5.1.1 Alligator Pit

  • Other Names: Cross the Pit
  • Equipment: Per team:
  • 3 lashing poles
  • 4 long ropes
  • How to Play: On signal each team lashes a triangle frame. The fourth, longest rope is attached to the top of the frame at the middle point of this "stabilizer rope." One player stands on the frame while the others must then leave the circle. The player on the frame then walks the frame out of the circle. The other members of the team steady the top of the frame by pulling on both ends of the stabilizer rope. When both feet of the frame are outside the circle, dismantle everything, coil the ropes, up and give yell.

5.1.2 Alligator River

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play: Also guy ropes at the bottom corners
  • Variations:

5.1.3 Long Legged Puddle Jumper

  • Equipment: (1) Surveyor's ribbon to mark an imaginary stream bank. Per team: (2) Two long lashing poles; (3) One shorter lashing pole; (4) Rope; (5) A broom handle with a soft "boxing glove" on the end; (6) Two pulleys.
  • Preparation: Surveyor's ribbon should be laid out to mark the two banks of an imaginary stream about six feet wide. Per team: two holes about six inches deep should be dug in the ground in the middle of the stream to provide pivot points that will not slip for the two long lashing poles at the bottom of the tripod.
  • How to Play: All players are located on the same side of the stream. Players may not step into the stream. On signal, each team lashes a "puddle jumper" tripod. The shorter bottom crossbar should be located about a foot above the bottom ends of the two longer upright poles. The two upright poles should cross about two-thirds up from the bottom of the tripod. Ropes are also attached to the tops of the two upright poles. The two feet at the bottom are then manuevered into the two holes in the ground to provide a secure pivot point. One player then sits on the cross joint near the top of the tripod and may hold onto the top of the tripod. While the puddle jumper is leaned back, the stick with the padded "boxing glove" can be used to push the seated player on the seat of the pants. While the puddle jumper is leaned forward, the players on the ropes keep it from falling quickly forward.
  • Not for Speed: This is an activity where judging for speed may cause players to disregard safety.
  • Variations: (1) Place players on both sides of the stream and use only the ropes, not the stick, to make the puddle jumper pivot back and forth across the stream. (2) Begin with one stranded player on the far side of the stream. Throw rope across the stream to that player, who feeds it through two pulleys attached to a large tree and then throws it back across the stream.

5.1.4 Chariot Race

  • Equipment: Per team:
  • 3-4 lashing poles
  • 3-6 lashing ropes
  • How to Play: On signal patrols lash the three poles into a triangle (a "chariot"). One player sits on the chariot, and the rest of the team carries the chariot a set distance or around a course.
  • Variations:
  • Lash a fourth pole halfway up the chariot as a seat to sit on. Tie a pulling rope to the top or front of the chariot, and pull the chariot.
  • Have the pulling players each tie a bowline on a bight or overhand knot on a bight and place the resulting loop across their shoulders to pull the chariot.

5.1.5 Pyramid Lashing

  • Equipment: Per team:
  • 3-6 lashing poles
  • 2-5 ropes
  • How to Play: Each team must lash a three-legged tripod. Optionally, three more lashing poles can be lashed around the base for stability. a rope is attached to the top of the pyramid and a loop is tied in the rope above ground level. One team member stands in the loop and is supported above the ground by the pyramid.
  • Variations:
  • Place the tripod in the center of a marked circle, hang a bell from the tripod, stand outside the circle, and ring the bell by hitting it with a tennis ball.

5.1.6 High Hot Chocolate

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) 4 long and substantial lashing poles; (2) 6 additional lashing poles around the base; (3) rope; (4) a 3 foot square piece of plywood; (5) sand; (6) metal cup; (7) water; (8) hot chocolate mix; (9) spoon.
  • How to Play: Each team must lash a four-legged tripod with about a third of the lashing poles above the lashing. Four poles are then lashed around the base, and two more poles are then lashed diagonally through the base for stability. The plywood is then placed diagonally between the four poles above the lashing. One team member then climbs onto the platform, lays a bed of sand for the fire, builds a small wood fire, boils a cup of hot water, and adds the hot chocolate. The first team to give the scoutmaster a cup of hot chocolate wins.
  • Variations: (1) a cooking stove can be used instead of a wood fire; (2) The 3 foot square piece of plywood can have a large hole drilled along the middle of each side for rope to pass through so it can be tied securely into place. (3) This can be done on a smaller scale so that the plywood square is only about 4 feet above the ground like a stove rather than a perch that someone must climb onto.

5.1.7 Reactor Transport

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) Six small lashing poles; (2) Lashing ropes; (3) Metal can or bucket with a wire handle; (4) Nut (as in nuts and bolts); (5) Short length of string.
  • How to Play: Each patrol lashes three poles with a tripod lashing. They then lash the other three poles around the base of the tripod with square lashings to form a three-sided pyramid. Another rope is attached to the top of the pyramid, and the bucket is suspended from this rope. The string is then suspended from the handle and the nut is attached to the string so that it is suspended within the metal bucket. The team must then pick up the pyramid and transport it a set distance, but sufficiently gently that the bolt does not swing into the side of the bucket and clank.

5.1.8 Pole Fishing

  • Other names: Snapper Fishing
  • Equipment: (1) Surveyor's ribbon; Per team: (2) 2-3 lashing poles; (3) Lashing rope; (4) A mousetrap.
  • How to Play: Mark two "riverbanks" 12 feet apart to mark an area that may not be entered. A cocked mousetrap is placed on the opposite riverbank from each team. On signal, each team must lash their poles together to make a single pole of sufficient length to reach across river. Another rope is attached to the end of the pole. This dangling rope is used to "fish" for the mousetrap. The first team to catch their mousetrap wins.
  • Variations: (1) Attach a clue or some other object or piece of information to the mousetrap.

5.1.9 Flagpole Raising

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations: (1) Lay out a large circle, prohibit anyone stepping into the circle, and require that the flag pole be located in the middle of the circle. (2) Attach a rope to the top of the flag pole, tie a loop in the rope near the bottom of the pole, and require that a team member must stand in the loop for thirty seconds before time is called without the pole falling over.

5.1.10 Miniature Monkey Bridge

  • Equipment: (1) Lashing poles; (2) Lots of rope; (3) strong stakes.
  • Preparation: None.
  • How to Play: Build a ten foot long monkey bridge as described in the Pioneering MB Book.
  • Variations: (WW 149).

5.1.11 Minimal Rope Bridge

  • Also Known As: Over Crocodile Creek
  • Equipment: Per team: (1) Two large trees about 10 feet apart; (2) Long and strong ropes.
  • How to Play: Each team musty tie a rope between two trees about 3 - 4 feet above the ground, and a second rope about 6 or 7 feet above that. Players then cross by standing on the lower rope while hanging onto the upper rope.

5.1.12 Ladder / Monkey Bars

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

5.1.13 Catapult / Trebuchet

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

5.2 Others with Rope and/or Sticks

5.2.1 Tarp or Tent Pitching

  • Equipment: Tarp or tent with all necessary Equipment to pitch including poles, ropes, stakes, groundcloth.
  • How to Play: Each team must properly set up a tarp or tent. Shortest time wins.
  • Variations: (1) Players are blindfolded and/or speaking is prohibited.

5.2.2 Remote Clove Hitch

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) A long rope; (2) A large tree or light pole
  • Preparation: Mark a large circle around each tree.
  • How to Play: On signal, each team ties a clove hitch around their tree without stepping into the circle.
  • Variations: (1) Tie other hitches such as two half hitches, lark's head/girth hitch, etc.

5.2.3 Transport

  • Equipment:
  • 2 staves (per team)
  • A bottle or can (per team)
  • How to Play: Patrols line up. On signal first two scouts use staves to pick up and carry bottle between them to point 30' away. They set it down, run back, and tag next two. Next two run to staves and bottle and bring them back in the same manner. First patrol to do this four times wins.
  • Variations:
  • Use three players with three staves, and prohibit the staves from being parallel to each other so the third stave becomes necessary.

5.2.4 Bomb Squad

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) An open area surrounded by trees with low branches; (2) Six or more 50 foot ropes; (3) Heavy wire hook; (4) Small plastic bucket with a handle; (5) cardboard box; (6) Timer.
  • Preparation: Locate six or more trees around an open clearing at least 20' in diameter. Attach one end of each rope to the wire hook. Run the other end of each rope over a tree branch. Place the box on the edge of the clearing. Set the timer for five minutes and place it in the bucket in the middle of the clearing.
  • How to Play: With one scout on each rope, hook the bucket and move it from the middle of the clearing into the box at the edge of the clearing.
  • Variations: (1) Vary the time on the timer. (2) Use an explosion sound on a telephone as the alarm. (3) Blindfold one or more players. (4) Prohibit all talking. (5) Instead of using tree branches, tie a rope around the tree trunk with an overhand knot on a bight, and pass the rope through the loop created by the overhand knot. (6) Instead of using tree branches, lash tripods and pass the ropes over the top of each tripod lashing between the tops of two lashing poles.

5.2.5 Radioactive Isotope

  • Other Names: Hot Isotope
  • Equipment: Per team: (1) Rope to mark a circle that players cannot enter; (2) A can (or a bottle); (3) A strong rubber band or bungee cord; (4) One rope per player; (5) A second, smaller can or bottle, or a bell, to place inside the first, larger can (optional).
  • How to Play: Set the can in the middle of the “infected” circle. On signal each player ties their rope to the rubber band. Without stepping into the circle, the team reaches the rubber band over the can and then causes it to grip the can. The can must then be lifted out of the circle.
  • Variations. (1) Inside the can there can be a second smaller can or bottle that must not be allowed to touch the sides of the first, larger can; or a bell that must not be allowed to make any noise. (2) You can experiment with cans and bottles of varying shapes and weights. (3) You can experiment with rubber bands and bungee cords of varying sizes and strengths.

5.2.6 variation

  • Another variation uses three ropes and two sticks but no rubber band. I need to figure out how this would be accomplished and whether it is better. Maybe you just hold the poles at the end but can step wherever you want.

5.2.7 Radioactive Isotope: Bull Ring Variation

  • How to Play: Tie several strings to a metal ring. Put a tennis ball on the ring and move it around an obstacle course by holding on to the ends of the strings. You can put a knot in each string a certain distance from the ring and only allow holding the string beyond that point. Use different balls and different sized rings.

5.2.8 Blindfolded Radioactive Isotope

  • Other Names: Plutonium Portation.
  • Equipment: (1) Cup with water; (2) Rubber bands; (3) Strings or ropes; (4) Blindfolds.
  • Preparation: (1) Fill the cup with water. (2) Select a rubber band to be the central rubber band. Attach each rope to a rubber band, and then attach each of those rubber bands to the central rubber band.
  • How to Play: Player are divided in pairs, and one member of each pair is blindfolded. The blindfolded players each take one rope at the end. Sighted players give instructions to their blindfolded partners. Sighted players may speak only to their partners. Blindfolded players are to pick up the cup of water by pulling on their ropes to expand the central rubber band and slip it over the cup. The blindfolded players are to then move the cup to a marked destination.
  • Variations: (1) Not all of the rubber bands are identical that connect the ropes to the central ribber band. (2) The winning group is the group who spilled the least. (3) The cup is filled only 3/4 full, spilling any water disqualifies the group, and the winning group is the group with the shortest time. (4) Blindfold all players but one. (5) Remove blindfolds but prohibit speaking.

5.2.9 China Syndrome

  • How to Play: The group must prevent a 'China Syndrome' from occurring by pouring the contents of one bucket into another using only the materials provided and staying outside a large circle. This can be a variation of Radioactive Isotope where a second lower rope is used to pour. Any person using the materials must be blindfolded. Give a short timeline.
  • Review all of these games as a group

5.2.10 Snaking Sticks Obstacle Course

  • Equipment: (1) 2 or 3 lashing poles; (2) Lashing ropes; (3) Stakes to mark out an obstacle course; (4) Surveyor's ribbon to mark no-man's land.
  • Preparation: Place the stakes in the ground to mark out a twisting obstacle course. Place the surveyor's ribbon to make the area that players are not allowed to step into.
  • How to Play: One signal, each team must lash the 2 or 3 poles end to end with bending tripod-style lashings to form a snake. Additional ropes are then attached at the ends and joints so that players can control the snake's movement and cause it to bend as needed. The team pulls its snake to the entrance of the obstacle course and then must pull it through the obstacle course without stepping across the surveyor's ribbon, using only the ropes to make the snake bend as needed to fit through the obstacle course.

5.2.11 Blind Square

  • Equipment: (1) A blindfold for each player; Per Team: (2) A long rope tied into a loop.
  • How to Play: Each team is blindfolded, given a loop of rope, and told to form the rope into a perfect square. They remove their blindfolds when they think they have succeeded. Each player must at all times hold onto the rope with at least one hand.
  • Variations: (1) Form different shapes such as triangle, circle, figure 8, etc. (2) Instead of blindfolding players, prohibit talking. (3) Once players become proficient, blindfold them and prohibit talking.

5.2.12 Five-Pointed Star

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) A long rope tied into a loop.
  • How to Play: Each player grasps the rope with both hands. Without letting go, the team tries to form the rope into a five-pointed star including the overlasps and criss-crosses drawn by young children.

5.2.13 One with the Rope

  • Equipment: One rope per player
  • How to Play: Can split the group into teams (optional). Each player ties their buddy rope around their waist. Each player than ties their rope to another teams member's rope so that each team is connected by a single long rope. The team must then tie a single overhand knot (or a square knot or any other knot) in the center buddy rope.

5.2.14 Suspend a Pulley and Hoist a Scout

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

5.2.15 Team Skis

  • Other Names: Trolley Walk, Centipede
  • Equipment:
  • How to Play: Group coordinates efforts to walk while standing on wooden trolleys (long boards with ropes to hang on to every few feet).

5.2.16 Human Ladder

  • Equipment: Per two players: (1) One strong stave, lashing pole, or other stick about (or at least) 4 feet long.
  • How to Play: Each pair of players is given a stick. Several pairs standing in a line form a horizontal ladder. One player (the Climber) climbs onto the ladder and climbs forward. As the Climber passes each stick, the pair holding that stick moves to the front of the line. Continue for until a set distance has been covered. Repeat until all have been the Climber. Players holding sticks cannot walk forward.
  • Variations: Travel around an obstacle course.

5.3 Others with No Rope or Sticks

5.3.1 Island Hopping

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

5.3.2 Everybody Up

  • How to Play: Two players sit on the ground facing each other, soles of the feet touching, knees bent, tightly grasping each other's hands. The goal is for both to pull themselves up into a standing position. Players can be added up to 50 or more. Large groups will require some problem solving.
  • Safety Issue: If played back to back, do not lock arms because this can create a risk of dislocating a shoulder.

5.3.3 All Aboard

  • Other Names: Shrinking Vessel
  • Equipment: A non-slippery blanket or cloth.
  • How to Play: Spread a cloth on the ground. Call out "All Aboard," and all players must stand on the cloth. Have the players move off of the cloth, fold it in half, and repeat. Repeat making the platform smaller and smaller.

5.3.4 Scout Shuffle

  • Other names: Move It
  • Equipment: A telephone pole laying on the ground.
  • How to Play: Players split into two groups, with one group on each end of the telephone pole, the two groups facing each other. The goal is for the two groups to trade places without touching the ground. Rules: (1) Only one person may move at a time. (2) A person may not move around anyone facing the same direction. (3) No one may not move backward. (4) A person may not move around more than one person on the other team at a time.

5.3.5 Tangle Knot

  • How to Play: A group of 10-15 players stand in a tight circle facing inward. They close their eyes, reach both hands into the center of the circle, and grasp two random hands. The players then open their eyes and attempt to untangle the know without breaking any grasp to form a circle. Grips can change and palm may pivot, but contact may not be broken. Crossed arms are acceptable.
  • Variations:
  • This can be simplified by breaking on grasp and forming a line.

5.3.6 Skin the Snake

  • How to Play: Players can divide into teams, or all play together on single team. Players (or teams) line up in single file. On signal, each player bends forward and, with right hand, grasps the left hand of the player behind. When all have joined hands, the last player lays down on his or her back with their feet together, and all other players walk backwards over this player. Each player lays down in turn as they reach the back of the line. Eventually all will be laying down on their backs. At this point the last player in line can get up and walk forward, reversing the entire process. A team cannot continue at any time when a hand grasp is broken. The first team too complete the entire process is the winner.

5.3.7 Old Plug

  • Equipment: A dodgeball.
  • How to Play: Four players are in the middle and the rest form a circle around them. The four players in the middle form a line with their arms on the waist of the player in front of them. The last player in this line is "old plug." The players in the circle pass around and throw throw the dodgeball trying to hit old plug. The first three players in the middle try to maneuver to protect old plug. When old plug is hit, that player joins the circle. The player who hits old plug becomes the first player in the line, and the third player in the line becomes old plug.

5.3.8 Ships in the Fog

  • Equipment: Blindfolds for most players.
  • How to Play: All but one member of each team is blindfolded and stands in a line with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The remaining player from each team is a navigator who stands at the back of the play area, is not blindfolded, and is not allowed to move from that location. Two chairs or adult leaders, etc. are placed three feet apart as goal posts representing the entrance to a harbor. On signal, each blindfolded team begins moving, guided only by the shouted instructions of its navigator. First team into the harbor without crashing wins.
  • Variations: (1) Have the first player, or all players, stand and walk backwards.

5.4 Aquatics

5.4.1 Cardboard Boats

5.4.2 PVC and Tarp Boats

  • Equipment: Per team: (1) A tarp; (2) PVC Pipe; (3) Duct tape; (4) String; (5) Two paddles.
  • How to Play: Each team uses these materials to build a boat and paddle it in the lake.

5.5 Group Puzzles

5.5.1 Bidding Game

  • How to Play: Announce that you will auction a $5 bill. The only rule is that the unsuccessful lowest bidder will have to pay their bid. Bidding will likely start low. As bids get higher the awful trap starts to emerge, but there is nothing they can do about it: no one wants to lose and have to pay a few dollars in order for someone else get the prize for free. And so it goes. Bidding will often go higher than the face value of the $5 bill. The only winning first bid is $4.99.
  • Variations: Instead of money that has a clear monetary value, use a bag of candy or other object whose value is not as clearly fixed.
  • Lesson:
  • Greed.
  • The difference between marginal cost and sunk cost. Sunk cost is all the cost that you have already spent. Marginal cost is the amount it will cost to participate one more time. Decisions should typically be made based upon marginal cost wihtout regard to sunk costs.

5.5.2 Prisoner’s Dilemma

  • How to Play: Players are divided into two teams. Each team must select each round whether to "defect" or "cooperate." Scoring is based on the selections of both teams. The point of the game is to demonstrate that poor co-operation leads to winners and losers, and ultimately everyone loses as a result of retaliation. When teams decide to cooperate, everyone wins. The facilitator acts as the 'banker'. The game is better with two teams, but it will work with several teams.

5.5.3 Pit

  • Equipment: A deck of PIT! cards.
  • How to Play: The PIT! trading card game - based on collecting a set of the same sort of cards - normally based on the commodities exchange - wheat, barley, rye etc., The game needs at least five separate playing individuals or teams. Shuffle cards and distribute evenly. Players swap cards 'blind' (by shouting how many they wish to swap - not showing or revealing what type of cards they wish to swap or acquire) - equal quantities of the same sort of card for each trade, which produces chaotic and enjoyable trading as players hold cards aloft shouting 'two, two,' or 'three, three', etc, (being the number of cards they are wishing to swap). Winner is first team to collect all same cards. For still more chaos encourage/permit cheating, shouting, standing on tables, etc.
The actual PIT game has seven suits of nine cards each, which is adequate for up to seven teams of threes, but for larger teams and added interest you could use two PIT game cards. As a rule of thumb, allow at least 3 cards per team member so there will be plenty for each team member to do.
Teams of three naturally self-organize and self-manage very well, so to demonstrate chaos use teams of four or more.
Normally to develop organization and management experience you would suggest teams elect traders/collectors who go out into the melee to swap cards, and one or two collector/coordinator/compiler/organizers who give the instructions to the traders as to what cards to collect. Therefore to maximize chaos and chaotic systems examples don't give them this advice and start the game giving the teams very little preparation time to organize team tactics (another lesson: poor preparation = more chaos).
Strictly speaking you should play the game with the same number of collectible 'suits' (card types) as the number of teams, but for added chaos, and a potentially unwinnable game have one set less card 'suits' than the number of teams, which dramatically reduces the chances of any team managing to collect an entire set. Or make the last set all various rogue cards.
After the game, or each round, or even during a round, involve all the teams in the review of the points of note and the experiences and lessons that you want to highlight. An example of a useful review technique is to ask individuals and teams to talk about or present their reactions and feelings while subject to chaos and disorganization. You can also involve the teams in suggesting ways to change the rules to increase or reduce chaos, or indeed to demonstrate any other aspect of organizational systems.
Some other PIT game adaptation pointers:
The more on a team, the more chaos is experienced, but also the more team members with nothing to do near the end of a round.
Remember: More teams = more chaos, so try to have as many teams as possible (the lesson is that more teams and relationships need more organizing and communications). Also: Minimal guidance and organizational advice to the teams = more chaos (another lesson).
There will be more chaos (resulting from difficult communications) if the card collector(s)/holder(s)/coordinator(s) are in a different place/room to the trading area - this will require people to run back and forth and will be very physical as well as chaotic. Alternatively the trading area can be in the middle of a large area, surrounded by the collectors/coordinators for each of the teams.
You can also run the exercise in two different ways during the same activity (firstly traders and collectors all in the same room, and then the second round put the traders in a different room to the collector/coordinators). This will emphasize the effect of communications logistics upon chaos.
If you have time available the activity is best played with a number of rounds - this enables you to increase the team competition element - you can keep a score on a blackboard or flip chart. You can award points for 2nd and 3rd if you want - the scoring is very flexible - however you think it will work best. You can stop the round when a winner wins and then identify 2nd 3rd 4th etc based on which teams have collected most cards.
Five minutes is a reasonable maximum to impose per round. If there is no winner in the time allotted, the winning team is the one with most cards (or points of same, if you are ascribing points values to the different suits) collected of their chosen suit or set.
  • Lessons: Illustrates principle of trading, rather than simply giving away (concessions, discounts, etc). Also demonstrates enthusiasm and determination, which hopefully can be applied to business. Large teams will need leaders, and so can be used as a leadership development exercise, including the need for planning, checking and communication. Teams will sometimes cheat - swapping cards of mixed varieties - which is technically not allowed, but the strictness of this rule is up to the facilitator. Use this point also to illustrate importance of integrity - teams and players will be reluctant to trade with people who cheat. Also, cheating in this game can create a climate in which other teams begin to cheat as well, with chaotic results.

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6 Campwide and Field Games

These are activities that can be added to a campout to provide structure during down time.

6.1 Throwing and Kicking Games

6.1.1 Soccer

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.2 Triad

  • Equipment:
  • 3 soccer balls
  • 6 cones or other objects to mark three goals
  • How to Play: Divide players into three teams and set up the three goals in a triangle shape. All three balls are put into play at the middle with a jump ball. The object is to get a ball through either of the other two teams’ goals. Balls may be rolled, kicked or thrown. Balls may not be carried. Balls may not be held for more than 5 seconds.

6.1.3 Blindfolded Soccer

  • Location: A large open area either indoors or outside
  • Equipment: (1) A large open area with marked boundaries; (2) A soccer ball; (3) Blindfolds.
  • How to Play: Players are split into two teams. Players on each team are paired off. One player in each pair is blindfolded. The sighted partner gives instructions to the blindfolded partners. The sighted partner may not kick the soccer ball, and may not touch the blindfolded partner in an effort to communicate. There are no goalies. A point is scored each time the ball is kicked past the other team's goal line. When the ball is kicked out of bounds, it is thrown back into play.
  • Variations:
  • Add a second soccer ball.

6.1.4 Kickball

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.5 Frisbee Golf

  • Equipment: (1) A frisbee for each player; (2) A way to mark targets.
  • Preparation: Set up baskets or mark targets. Targets can be trees, large rocks, small buildings, etc.
  • How to Play: Played like golf. From a starting point, players count the number of throws it takes them to hit each target in sequence.
  • Variations: (1) Instead of playing for the fewest throws, play for the shortest time to complete the course regardless of the number of throws. (2) Use hazards such as streams, ravines, and slopes.

6.1.6 Ultimate Frisbee

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.7 Aerobic Tag

  • See above

6.1.8 Water Balloons and Squirt Guns

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.9 Water Balloon Toss

  • Equipment: (1) Water balloons.
  • Preparation: Fill water balloons.
  • How to Play: Players form two lines about two yards apart and toss a balloon back and forth once. If a balloon bursts, that pair is out. Each remaining pair takes one step backward and repeats. The last pair left wins. Change partners and repeat again.

6.1.10 Horseshoes

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.11 Touch or Flag Football

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.12 Ball Over

6.1.13 Moonball

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.14 No Dead Tennis Balls

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.1.15 Throwing Sharp Objects

  • Equipment: (1) Tomahawk / Spear / Atlatl / Slingshot / Throwing Stars (2) Targets with stands.
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.2 Stealth and Pursuit Games

Only infiltration games for large outdoor areas are listed here. Infiltration games for indoors or small areas are listed above under Preopening Activities > Games of Infiltration and Wits.

6.2.1 Tag

  • See Tag above in Preopening Games.

6.2.2 Hide and Seek

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.2.3 Whistle Tag

  • Other Names: Pursuit
  • Equipment: (1) A whistle for each player who is pursued.
  • How to Play: Hunted players are given a 2 minute head start. The other players are split into teams of 6-8, and each team must remain generally together. Hunted players may hide or be mobile, but must each blow their whistle at one minute intervals. Each team tries to tag as many hunted players leaders as possible within the time limit. Hunted players are not captured, but remain free to be tagged again by the same or other teams. The team tagging the most hunted players wins.
  • Variation: At night use flashlights instead of whistles.

6.2.4 Hunt and Seek

  • This is a team variation of Tag.
  • Equipment: Armbands, bandanas, or flags in five colors for each player.
  • How to Play: Divide players into 5 teams. Each player wears an armband or flag with that team's color. Each team can only capture players of one other team: Yellow chases orange, orange chases red, etc. A player is captured by tagging (or by removing the player's flag from a back belt loop). Captured players join the team that captured them. Some teams try to get other teams to help them; this is where an odd number of five teams becomes more fun than four. Can play for a set time.

6.2.5 Run Sheep Run

  • This is a team variation of Hide and Seek.
  • Equipment: A large outdoor area with cover.
  • Preparation: Divide the participants into two equal teams and identify a large tree or other location as "home base."
  • How to Play: Team A remains at home base while Team B goes off and hides. Once Team B is hidden, the captain of Team B returns to Home Base. Team A, accompanied by the captain of Team B, then begins searching for Team B. When any member of Team A sees a member of Team B, he or she tells their captain, who yells "Run Sheep Run." Or, whenever the captain of Team B thinks his team can get back to home base first, he yells "Run Sheep Run." In either case, the team who is first with all team members back to home base is the winner.
  • Variations:

6.2.6 Capture the Flag

  • Equipment:
  • How to Play: A dividing line is agreed. Each team, on its side of the line, posts its flag and sets up a jail with a 30' rope circle. The winner is the first team to penetrate the other team’s side, grab the other team’s flag, and bring the flag back to its own side. Any player may be tagged while on the other team’s side of the field of play and then taken to the jail and left there. Once in jail, a player must stay there until another untagged player from the same team penetrates to the jail and tags the jailed player, thereby freeing him. Typical strategy is for each team to keep some players back to guard the flag and jail. Players guarding the flag must stay 15 feet away from the flag unless chasing someone. If player bringing flag back his own side is tagged before crossing line, flag must remain where that player was tagged.
  • Variations: (1) Freed players get a free walk back to their own side of the center line. (2) At night: Two lanterns mark the dividing line and one lantern illuminates the general area of each team’s flag and jail. (3) At night: Instead of a flag, each team has a candle in a pot with a lid next to it. The object is to extinguish the other team’s candle by putting the lid on the pot. (4) For small teams: Eliminate the jail and simply have a single check point at the middle where pairs of opposing players are simultaneously and automatically freed.

6.2.7 Jailbreak

  • How to Play: There are two cops and one jailer, the rest of the players are robbers. A jail area with boundaries is marked out in the open. Robbers are given a head start of 1 minute to hide. Two cops then go looking for the robbers as in hide and seek. When caught, a cop takes the robber to the jail. As in Capture the Flag, untagged robbers may get to the jail and yell Jailbreak. The jailer and cops must then give a 15 second head start before again pursuing the robbers. If played more than once, the last three robbers can be the new jailer and cops.
  • Variations: (1) After dark adopt flashlight tag rules of tagging a player by illuminating with a flashlight or correctly identifying the player.

6.2.8 Get the Message Through

  • Equipment: (1) A large field; (2) An identifiable home base area about 4 feet square, can be identified with a rope circle; (3) One "message" per team; (4) one "flag" per player, each team with a different color
  • Preparation: None except perhaps marking the home base area.
  • How to Play: Each team is given a piece of paper or other object representing a "message." Each player is given a bandana or other "flag," which is tucked into each player's belt in back. During play, a player is "captured" if their flag is removed by a member of another team. Each team is sent off an equal distance in a different direction. On signal, each team tries to get its message to home base. Each team also tries to prevent other teams from getting their messages to home base by capturing the members of other teams. If a team's messenger (the player who then has possession of the message) is captured, then the team's message is also captured. A team's message may be freely passed from one team member to another. A team's message may be folded and hidden in a pocket so that other teams do not know which player is currently the messenger. But if a messenger is captured, the messenger must admit to having the message. Play continues until every message has either made it to home base or been captured.
  • Scoring: Each team earns 10 points for delivering its message, 5 points for capturing another team's messenger, and 2 points for each other player captured by that team.
  • Variations: Many scenarios can be imagined to explain why each team might want to get its message or object to home base first.

6.2.9 Flashlight Tag

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.2.10 Light, No Light

  • Similar to Red Light, Green Light
  • Equipment:
  • How to Play: Best in a large open wooded area. Players line up at one end of area. "It," holding flashlight, starts at the other end. The object is to move from end of the playing area to the other, past the person with the flashlight. It stands with their back to the other players. Every five seconds It turns around, turns on the light, and scans for three seconds for moving players. Players are safe when seen if they remain motionless. But any player caught moving when the flashlight is on them must return to the beginning. The first person across the finish line is the winner and becomes It.
  • Variations: (1) it scans continuously for the other players who are dressed in dark clothing.

6.2.11 Commandant

  • This is a variation of flashlight tag.
  • Supplies: (1) Best played at night on a field with some cover; (2) A powerful flashlight.
  • Setup: None.
  • Objective: Identify a home base and two other "mandatory touch objects" that are located far apart from each other such as a car, tree, or large rock. The commandant closes their eyes and counts out loud to fifty. The other players scatter but can be no closer than 10 yards to any of the mandatory touch objects. When the commandant reaches fifty, the commandant opens their eyes and may then turn the flashlight on and off at will. The other players try to touch each of the two mandatory touch objects and then reach home base without being "caught" by the commandant. A player is caught if the commandant can either identify the player by name or hits a player with the flashlight beam and identifies that it is a player. The first player to touch both mandatory touch objects and then reach home base without being caught wins and becomes the commandant in the next round.
  • Variations:

6.2.12 Infiltration

  • This is a variation of flashlight tag.
  • Equipment: (1) Best played at night on a field with some cover about the size of a football field with a goal line at each end; (2) Two flashlights.
  • Preparation: None.
  • How to Play: Players are divided into two teams and sent to opposite starting goal lines. Two sentries walk back and forth across the field at the mid point between the two goals. Each player tries to cross the field from their starting goal line to the opposite goal line. If a sentry shines their flashlight on a player (an infiltrator), then that player must go back to their starting goal line and wait 5 minutes before resuming the attempt to cross the field. One point for each player who makes it safely across within 30 minutes.
  • Variations: (1) Players can play individually with the winner being the player who makes it across the field back and forth the most times within 30 minutes. (2) An adult umpire can be stationed at each goal line to keep score.

6.2.13 Lamp Chicane

  • Directions are unclear. The game is played in the dark between two teams. Two lamps are placed about 100 yards apart as the two home bases. Two more lamps mark a dividing line halfway in between about 40 yards wide. One team is divided in half with each half at one of the two bases. They must try to get from one base to the other. The only restriction is that they must pass between the two lamps in the middle. Score one point for each player who gets to the other base. Does the second team try to catch them and then trade places or take them out of the game? Would it best be played with three teams so there are fewer chasers than runners?

6.2.14 Obstacle Course

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.3 Searching

6.3.1 Scavenger Hunt

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.3.2 Treasure Hunt

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.3.3 Search and Rescue Exercise

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.3.4 Orienteering Course

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations: (1) Lay out a comapass course to be completed on bicycles with bearings given from one road or trail intersection to the next.

6.4 Other Activities

6.4.1 Cardboard Boats

  • Equipment: (1) Large pieces of cardboard; (2) Lots of duct tape.
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:
  • Variations:

6.4.2 Firebuilding

  • Equipment: (1) Fire pits; (2) Stakes; (3) Strings; (4) Matches; (5) Fuel for fires
  • Preparation: Two stakes are set into the ground on opposite sides of each fire pit. Two strings are then tied between the two stakes, usually at 6 inches and 18 inches.
  • How to Play: On signal, a team builds and lights a fire. The fuel cannot be stacked higher than the lower string. The goal is to burn through the upper string in the shortest time.
  • Variations: (1) The variation described above is often called Sting Burning. (2) The string can be attached to a bag of water suspended over the fire to douse it. (3) The goal is instead to boil a small can of water. (4) Teams can be given a 2 foot length of 2x4 as their only permitted fuel. Teams are given 15 minutes to break down the 2x4 before time begins.

6.4.3 First Aid Encounters

  • These are staged activities that occur mostly while Scouts are outdoors. Scouts may go looking for a victim as part of a search and rescue exercise, or may stumble across a victim while traveling down the trail.
  • How to Play: A person who appears to be in need of first aid is encountered along the trail or comes into camp. The group must render appropriate first aid to the victim.

6.4.4 Rope Climb

  • Equipment: (1) One thick rope;(2) Secure anchors.
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:

6.4.5 Top Rope

  • Equipment: (1) One thick rope;(2) Secure anchors.
  • Preparation: Attach a rope between two trees across a stream.
  • How to Play: Scouts cross the stream hand over hand suspended from the rope.

6.4.6 Rope Swing

  • Equipment:
  • Preparation:
  • How to Play:

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7 Party Games

  • These are games for sitting around the campfire, waiting to get picked up after a campout, etc.

7.1 Zoom Bop

  • How to Play:

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8 Learning from Activities

8.1 Post-Activity Questions

  • When the activity is completed, you can ask some of these questions:

8.2 Games with Specific Lessons

8.2.1 Punctured Can Relay

Punctured Can Relay - The cost of paying interest

8.2.2 Agenda Wall

  • Equipment:
  • How to Play: This exercise illustrates the importance of having a clear collective aim for any group, and how poorly a team or organization functions when individuals (or teams within the whole) have different aims within it. The parameters of the exercise can easily be changed according to group numbers. For large groups create pairs or threes to work together. Issue the group a box of toy building blocks, such as Lego, with various different bricks (color, length, features, etc). The group task is to build a wall of certain dimensions (you as the facilitator state height and width according to time and group numbers). Issue each group member (or pair or threesome) with their own 'hidden agenda', which they must keep secret and try to achieve. The hidden agendas can be anything that conflicts with other hidden agendas, which will create conflict while the main task of building the wall is under way. Check that each hidden agenda is possible, albeit at the expense of other agendas. Here are some examples of hidden agendas to issue. It's easy to think of others when you have all the bricks in front of you.

- ensure there are three red bricks on each row - ensure no red brick touches a yellow one - ensure a blue brick touches a yellow brick on each row - ensure every row contains two yellow bricks - ensure there is a vertical line of touching white bricks, one block wide, from top to bottom - ensure no row contains more than three different colored bricks - ensure one row contains only single blocks (no doubles or trebles etc) - ensure every row contains at least one double-block brick

  • Variations:

8.2.3 Team Islands (for Cit Comm)

  • Equipment: (1) Very large sheets of paper; (2) pens.
  • How to Play: Gather the team around a large sheet of paper - the bigger the group the bigger the paper - four sheets of flip-chart paper joined together makes a good work area for a team of four to ten people. Using felt tip marker pens team members begin by drawing their own section of coastline for one whole team island, with whatever features are desired, so that sections are connected with those of adjacent colleagues to create one big island. Next, team members can mark out the territory working inland from their own sections of coastline with whatever features are desired - residential, industrial, transport, geographical and countryside features - try to agree a suitable scale before this commences, although the facilitator can deliberately leave this vague so as to demonstrate the challenges of scaling, interpretation and compatibility as the activity unfolds. As team members begin to meet the intentions and drawn features of neighbors they will encounter a variety of issues and situations that need discussing, negotiating, agreeing, etc., just like those of any growing community or organization. These will commonly involve issues about boundaries, roads, communications, resources, culture, environment, cooperation , dispute, factions and decision-making. Many parallels will be observed - between the game and the actual team's work issues and dynamics - and life. This exercise can be used as a sand-alone activity, or at the beginning of a long program and then repeated at the end to identify the change in communication and understanding that has occurred as a result of the program or session concerned.

8.2.4 There Ought to Be a Law (for Cit Nat)

  • How to Play: A simple exercise for individuals, pairs, threes or a whole group exercise: the aim of the activity is to suggest a new law, with reasons for it. The game can be extended into a clear-communications and writing exercise, by asking the delegates to write the new law in clear terms that explain it absolutely clearly, with minimum leeway for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. The clarity of the writing can be tested by group questions and review. This exercise is particularly relevant for people who will benefit from improved awareness of communicating, delegating and briefing skills. Also helpful for people with responsibility for writing instructions and manuals. Also a good personality and attitudinal indicator exercise when used as an activity for individual candidates in recruitment group selections.

8.2.5 Group Juggling

  • Equipment: (1) Balls.
  • How to Play: Stand in a circle, facing the center, with hands raised in the air. Starting with one ball, catch it and throw it, establishing a pattern. One person tosses the ball to someone on the other side of the circle, say, and she tosses it to a third person who tosses it to a fourth and so on, until everyone has tossed and caught the ball once. (We each drop our hands when we've had a turn.) The last catcher tosses the ball back to the player who started the pattern, and we all run through the sequence again, for practice. Now the real juggling can begin. With one ball or other soft object on its way around the circle, we add another, so that we have two objects in the air following the catch-and-toss pattern. Now we add another object, and by this time we should be watching carefully for midair collisions, trying to toss the ball so that the intended receiver can catch it, and perhaps calling out the names of the receivers as we toss the ball to them. We should remember that this is a cooperative venture: We want to keep as many balls in the air as we can, but if one drops, we should just pick it up and keep the pattern going. To focus the team building activity on turnover and group dynamics, get two or more groups juggling separately. Then, start moving one person at a time from one group to the other while still expecting the groups to continue juggling.
  • Variations: Multiple teams, each in its own circle, compete to see who can keep the most balls in play.

8.2.6 Up in the Air

  • Equipment: (1) Balls.
  • How to Play: A group of 6 to 20 stand in a circle facing each other. The facilitator must participate as well. The facilitator explains to the group that they will call out a person's name and toss a ball (such as a stress ball or juggling ball - any soft object actually, even fruit or cuddly toys will suffice) to the named person. That person must then call out another person's name in the circle (who has not yet had the object tossed to them) and then throw the object to that person. This continues until everyone in the circle has thrown and caught the object. The facilitator must explain to the group that each person must remember their catcher. When the object has been thrown to everyone in the group, the ball returns to the facilitator, and is then thrown around the circle again, in the same order as before. This cycle continues until the facilitator is happy that the whole group is comfortable with the exercise. (You'll know this because people are actually listening for their name to be called out and catching the object.)
When the group is competent with the first ball, the facilitator introduces a second ball (or suitable object), which must follow the same order as the first, so that two objects are being passed around the group. When competence is reached with the two objects, a third is introduced, and still, every thrower must announce the name of the catcher before throwing. And so on.
At some stage between three objects and saturation point (as many objects being passed as people in the group - it's up to the facilitator) without warning the facilitator instructs the group to begin tossing the objects in the REVERSE order (catchers call out names of, and throw to, the people who previously threw to them). Chaos at first, but all great fun, and gradually people learn, which after all, is the point of the game.

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9 Other Resources

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