Patrol Games – Small Space

Blow BallThese games can be played in a smaller space. They’re not about putting Scout skills into action—they’re mostly just about having fun. Depending on the activity, Scouts will find some of them more challenging than others. Some are more mental, and some are more physical. All of them provide the grounds for cooperative team effort and a chance to get involved in a Scouting activity that is light-hearted and fun.

“small” = small area for those activities that do not require as much space, or can be carried out in close quarters, or with a smaller number of Scouts
“in” = indoor activity
“out” = outdoor activity

Download PDF File of Patrol Games – Small Space

Materials:  blindfold for each Scout, selection of “sound sources” (things that can be used to create a recognizable sound), “smell sources” (cans of things that have a distinctive smell), several specific objects that can be picked up
Method – Part 1:  Patrols are shown several objects, such as a coil of rope, a cooking pot, a sheathed bow saw, a baseball hat, etc., that are spread out about 15 feet away in the center of the meeting room. It would be appropriate to have the same number of objects as there are numbers of patrols in the troop. All Scouts are instructed to observe the location of each object. One Scout in turn from each patrol is blindfolded. A different object is called out for each patrol, and the Scout who is blindfolded must walk to where he remembers the object to be, and pick it up. Repeat this with three members of each patrol.
Part 2:  Scouts are seated in patrol corners in relative close proximity. All patrol members are blindfolded. Recognizable sounds are produced from the center of the meeting room, equidistant from each patrol, such as an object being dropped, striking a match, pouring water, etc. In whispers, the patrols try to identify the sound by, discussing their impression amongst themselves in whispers until they get a consensus. After about 15 seconds, each patrol in turn reports to the SPL, out loud, what they conclude caused the sound.
Part 3:  On signal, with all patrol members blindfolded, the patrols each walk together for a prescribed number of steps, turn around, and walk back to their exact positions in their patrol corners.
Part 4:  Back at their seats, with all patrol members blindfolded, one at a time, each patrol sniffs a can containing a distinctive smell such as ground coffee, onions, cloves, mint, etc. When, each patrol has sniffed the contents of each can, once again, they discuss their impressions amongst themselves in whispers until they get a consensus. After about 30 seconds, each patrol in turn reports to the SPL, out loud, what they conclude the things were they smelled.

BLOW BALL  (small, in)
Materials:  ping pong balls
Method:  Scouts divide into two teams and take their positions at each side of a 6-foot table. A ping pong ball is placed in the center, and each team tries to blow it off the table on their opponents side. If it goes off the ends, it does not count, but is put back in the center again. The game soon develops strong lungs, but needs composure just as much because the best player is the one who can blow without laughing at the faces of those opposite him as they blow. It is best to play kneeling or sitting round the table.
Variation:  A more complicated way for five players on a team is to have a goal at each end marked on the table. Both teams select a goalkeeper, two forwards, stationed at the other end to blow into the enemy’s goal, and two backs to pass the ball to their forwards.

CAN IT!  (small, in or out)    View Video
Materials:  two No. 10 cans, one pine cone, stick, and stone for each patrol
Method:  Patrols sit in a straight line with their legs extended. Each patrol counts off so there is an even number in each line. One can is placed at each end of the patrol lines. The three objects are placed in the can at the head of the line. The leader calls out a number and a name of an object. Scouts having that number race to the can, pick out the object named, transfer it to the can at the other end of the patrol line, and return to their places. (Scouts must keep track of objects as they are transferred from can to can. When their number is called, they must know where to find the object.)
Scoring:  The first Scout back in place with the object transferred wins a point for his patrol.

FIRST AID SCENARIOS (small, in or out)
Preparation:  The following scenarios can be printed out and distributed as a point of reference:
• Scenario A:  A Scout zigzagging on a bicycle is hit by a car. He receives a cut on his left forearm that severs an artery. He also sustains a simple fracture of his right leg.
• Scenario B:  A driver is speeding along a country road when one of his tires blows out. The car crashes into a pole. The driver receives a simple fracture of the right forearm and a gash on his right shoulder, causing arterial bleeding.
• Scenario C:  While on a hike, a Scout patrol finds an electrical repairman lying at the bottom of a transformer pole. He is not breathing and has burns on both hands.
• Scenario D:  While swimming in a country pond, one Scout jumps from a rock ledge and does not come back up to the surface. The other Scouts notice he is gone, jump in, and pull him out. He is not breathing and has a gash on his forehead that is bleeding profusely.
• Scenario E:  A Scout is riding his bicycle when a dog bites him on the right ankle. The Scout swerves to get away, and falls heavily on the road. He lacerates a large area of his left elbow into which dirt and sand are ground. His left wrist is swollen and painful.
• Scenario F:  A woman is pinned under a pickup truck that has overturned at the side of the road. When she is released, it is found that she has a cut over her right eye and is spurting blood. Her right ankle is very painful and swelling rapidly.
• Scenario G:  On an extremely hot day, several Scouts are sitting on a fence in front of their high school, watching a parade. One of the Scouts falls to the ground. His face is hot, dry, and flushed, and his pulse is exceptionally rapid. His left ear is torn and bleeding profusely.
• Scenario H:  On a very cold day, an unconscious man is found lying behind a train shed. It is evident that he slipped on the railway track and struck his head. There is a gash running five inches from the front to the back of his head and it is bleeding profusely. The skin on his face is very cold, and his ears are pale.
Method:  Depending on how much time is to be allotted for the activity, one or two scenarios are assigned to each patrol. After two minutes of deliberation, in turn, each patrol narrates a course of action detailing the correct approach to administering appropriate first aid.
Scoring:  As determined by a panel of judges, depending upon the details and accuracy of their presentation, a patrol can score up to four points pertaining to their scenario.

FOUR SQUARE  (small, in or out)
Materials:  playground ball, 16-foot x 16-foot playing area on wood, tile, or concrete
Method:  This game can be played by four Scouts, four patrols, or four teams. Four 8-foot squares are marked out inside the playing area. The squares can be numbered 1 to 4. Each of four patrol or troop teams are assigned a square. One Scout from each team starts inside their square with the rest of the team lined up single file at their corner. The Scout in square 1 serves the ball in volleyball fashion so that it bounces in square 3. He then runs to the rear of his patrol’s line. The Scout in square 3 hits the ball on the first bounce to either square 2 or square 4. The game continues with each Scout hitting the ball so that it bounces into either of the two opposite squares. He cannot return it to the square it came from. After each hit, the Scout goes to the end of his patrol line, and the next in line becomes the Scout for his team. When a shot is missed, the last Scout who successfully played the ball resumes the game by serving the ball to the Scout diagonally across from him.
Scoring:  Score one point against a team that fails to return a shot properly. The team with the fewest points wins.
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HUNKER DOWN  (small, in or out)    View Video
Materials:  20-foot length of 1/2-inch soft, synthetic rope, two platforms 6 to 8-inches tall (two halves of a cinder block or two cuts from a downed tree, 8-inches in diameter)
Method:  Two Scouts stand facing each other 12 to 15 feet away on the platforms. On signal, each tries to unbalance the other by either pulling or letting up the tension on the rope. Both must hold onto the rope at all times while trying to unbalance the other. Have a troop tournament, play patrol against patrol, or Scout against Scout as a gathering period activity.
Scoring:  The Scout left standing the longest on his platform while still holding onto his rope wins. If a Scout lets go of the rope, he’s out, even if he’s still standing on his platform.

HUNTER, GUN, OR RABBIT  (small, in or out)
Method:  Two patrols compete in each round. The patrols are seated in a circle. Before the round, each patrol secretly decides whether it will be the “hunter” (all standing with their hands on their hips), the “gun” (pantomiming aiming a gun), or the “rabbit” (making long “ears” with their hands at their heads). On signal, each patrol instantly strikes the pose they secretly selected. The gun defeats the rabbit, the rabbit defeats the hunter, and the hunter defeats the gun. For example, one patrol strikes the pose of hunter, while the other poses as the gun. This would score for the hunters. Had the second patrol selected rabbit, it would have won, since the rabbit defeats the hunter. If both patrols pick the same pose, the round is repeated.
Scoring:  The losing patrol is replaced after each round by a new patrol.

IDENTIFYING SOUNDS  (small, in)    View Video
Materials:  a tarp or blanket to use as a curtain, a variety of items that will produce a recognizable sound
Method:  The patrols are seated in front of the curtain. Behind the curtain are one or two leaders who produce various sounds for those gathered in front to recognize and remember, such as turning the pages of a book, crumpling a cellophane wrapper, breaking a stick, striking a match, hammering a nail, and so on. After the demonstration, the patrols return to their corners to make a list of the noises they heard.
Variation:  Each Scout is furnished a pencil and paper and in turn writes down what he thinks each sound is, after which, patrol members compare notes and come up with a list of their best observations based on a patrol consensus.
Scoring:  Award a point for each sound correctly listed. The patrol with the most points wins.

KIM’S GAME  (small, in or out)
Materials:  twenty or thirty assorted objects, a large cloth or tarp, paper and pencils for each patrol
Method:  The objects are spread out and covered with the cloth or tarp. Patrols gather around. The cloth is lifted and the patrols study the objects for one minute. After the minute, the objects are covered back up. The patrols confer and list all the objects they can remember on a piece of paper.
Scoring:  Award one point for each correct object listed. The patrol with the most correct objects listed is the winner.

KIM’S GAME – UP AND DOWN   (small, in or out)
Materials:  fifteen objects tied onto a length of cord that has been draped over a tall crossbar or tree limb
Method:  The objects are hanging down out of sight in a pack or large case. The game leader pulls the rope, revealing the objects for one minute, then lowers them again. The patrols must list the objects in the correct order.
Scoring:  Score one point for each correct object, and one point for each object named in order.

LIFE’S LITTLE LISTS  (small, in)
Materials:  for each patrol, four blank index cards and a pencil or pen
Method:  Patrols are in patrol corners. One Scout in each patrol is selected to write the answers, but all patrol members are relied upon to contribute to their patrol’s lists. The first directive is read out and patrols huddle for two minutes to list as many answers as they can on the first card, after which the next directive is read out.
• Name Santa’s reindeer.
• Name Snow White’s seven dwarfs.
• Name the nine planets.
• Name the original 13 colonies.
Scoring:  The patrol with the most correct answers wins. One point is deducted for each incorrect answer.
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MAP SYMBOL KIM’S GAME  (small, in)
Materials:  nine flash cards, each with one map symbol, blanket, pencil and paper for each patrol
Method:  The flash cards are arranged on a surface, and a record is kept of how they are arranged. The display is covered with a blanket or large cloth. Patrols gather around the display. The blanket is carefully removed for exactly one minute, then replaced. Back in their patrol corners, the patrol have two minutes to write the names and meanings of all of the map symbols they remember and place them in the proper position as displayed.
Scoring:  Score one point for each symbol listed by a patrol, one extra point for the correct meaning. If there is a tie, the winning patrol is the one with the most accurate positioning.

NAIL DRIVING RELAY  (small, in or out)
Materials:  For each patrol, a hammer, a log or a piece of two-by-four, and one 1-inch nail for each patrol member
Method:  The patrols line up in relay formation. Each patrol’s log, nails, and hammer are placed at a turning line 20 feet in front of them. The first Scout from each patrol goes to the line and drives a nail into the wood. He returns and tags the second Scout, and so on until all of the patrol’s nails are hammered down. Bent nails must be extracted, unbent, and driven in again.
Scoring:  The first patrol to drive in all its nails wins.
Variation:  Each Scout is allowed only one swing of the hammer. He runs up to the line, takes one swing at the nail, and then returns to tag the next Scout.

NAME THAT FISH  (small, in)
Materials:  pictures or silhouettes of several kinds of game fish (large mouth bass, perch, sunfish, marlin, striped bass, northern pike, bluegill, crappie, trout, sheepshead, sailfish, etc.), paper and pencil for each patrol
Method:  Post the fish pictures on a wall of the meeting room. The patrols huddle to try to identify the fish and list them on the paper provided. Allow three minutes.
Scoring:  Score two points for each fish correctly named and deduct one point for each fish incorrectly named. The patrol with the highest score wins.
Variation:  Use other pictures from nature, e.g. birds, trees, flowers, reptiles, etc.

OVER-UNDER RELAY  (small, in or out)
Materials:  playground ball for each patrol, equal numbers of Scouts in each patrol-sized team
Method:  Patrols line up in relay formation. The first Scout in line passes the ball over his head to the next Scout who passes the ball under his legs to the next Scout and so on, always alternating over head and under legs until the ball reaches the last Scout who runs with the ball to the front of the line. The last Scout is now the first Scout and passes the ball over his head to the next Scout in line and so on. This process of alternating over and under repeats until the patrol is once again in its original order.
Scoring:  The first patrol to regain its original order wins.

PASS THE CAN  (small, in or out)
Materials:  a Number 10 tin can for each patrol
Method:  The patrol sits on the ground in a circle with their feet pointing to the inside of the circle. The starting patrol member has the can between his feet. On signal, they attempt to pass the can from person to person using only their feet. If something other than their feet touches the can, if it touches the ground, or if the can is dropped, they must start over.
Scoring:  The first patrol to pass their can completely around the circle with only their feet touching it, and without it dropping, wins.

SILENT SIGNALS  (small, in or out)
Method:  The senior patrol leader gives a series of silent Scout signals for troop formation: troop line, “U” formation, troop circle, patrol file. The patrols are to follow each signal as quickly as possible.
Scoring:  The first patrol to properly obey a silent signal scores a point.
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SKY HIGH  (small, in)
Materials:  a pile of newspapers and a role of masking tape for each patrol
Method:  The challenge is for each team to build the highest freestanding structure they can using only those materials they have been given, within a set time limit. All structures have to be able to stand upright without help for at least one minute.
Scoring:  The tallest structure wins.

STEPPING STONES  (small, in or out)
Materials:  6-inch x 6-inch wooden block (“life-support capsule”) for each patrol member, except the patrol leader
Method:  The patrol must get from point A to point B, about 15 to 20 feet, without touching the ground, using the life-support capsules as stepping stones. If anyone touches the ground, the patrol must start over. Each life-support capsule must be in contact with at least one Scout at all times. The capsules can be touched by more than one person. If a capsule loses contact with a person, it is taken away.
Scoring:  The first patrol to reach point B wins.

TRAIL SIGNS  (small, in)
Materials:  two sets of 3-by-5 index cards for each patrol (each of the first set bearing a drawing of a trail sign; each of the second set with the definition of one of the trail signs)
Method:  Patrols are seated around their table with the two sets of cards in the middle. The cards with the pictured trail signs are placed face down; the cards with the definitions are spread out face up. On signal, the first Scout from each patrol draws one of the face down cards and places it on the correct definition card. Continue until all cards are matched.
Scoring:  The first patrol to correctly match all cards wins.

WALL STREET  (small, in)    View Video
Materials:  two identical decks of playing cards
Method:  This game works best if you have at least four patrols. Shuffle the two decks of cards together and deal them into equal stacks, one stack for each patrol. Before giving the stacks of cards to the patrol leaders, instruct the troop that they are to try to get a complete suit (hearts, diamonds, spades, or clubs) of cards (ace through king) by trading cards with the other patrols.
Scoring:  The first patrol to collect a complete suit wins.

WHAT HAPPENED?  (small, out)
Materials:  a tracking pit prepared by digging up and raking smooth an area about 10 by 15 feet, a cane, a small picnic table, four track makers
Preparation:  Before patrols arrive, each of the following scenarios are enacted, clearly leaving their tracks in three areas of the pit:
• The Good Turn – A blind man with a cane walks into the tracking pit. A Scout joins him, takes his arm, and leads him out.
• Table Carry – Four men carry a small picnic table (with benches attached) into the tracking pit. They stop, set the table down, rest on the benches, stand, pick up the table, and carry it off.
• Tired Scout – A Scout stumbles into the pit and sits down. Another Scout enters, picks him up, and carries him off.
Method:  The patrols study the tracks for five minutes, huddle, and then present their deduction verbally. The game leader does not indicate right or wrong, but rakes the pit and calls in the original track makers to repeat their actions.
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Planning Scout Meetings that are Meaningful, Engaging, and Fun