These games require a large area. 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.
BALLOON BOUNCE (wide, in or out)
– Materials: different color inflated balloon for each patrol
– Method: Give each patrol a balloon. The object is for each patrol to try to keep their balloon in the air the longest by hitting it back and forth between the members. A patrol is out when their balloon touches the floor or bursts. It is not permitted to catch or hold a balloon. It is permitted to redirect the flight of other patrols’ balloons.
BUCKET BRIGADE (wide, out)
– Materials: for each patrol, two 5 gallon buckets, one marked with a line 1-inch from the top and filled with water up to that line, and the other with a line 1-1/2-inch from the top and empty, one plastic 16 oz. cup (red solo cup) for each Scout
– Method: The patrols line up in single file with the patrol leader facing the filled bucket. The empty bucket is positioned behind the last person in line. On signal, the patrol leader fills their cup with water from the bucket. They pour the water into the cup of the next Scout in line, who pours it into the next Scout’s cup, and so on to the last Scout, who pours the water into the bucket at the end of the line. This process is repeated until one patrol has emptied the front bucket and filled the other bucket.
– Scoring: The first patrol to fill the second bucket up to the 1-1/2-inch mark is the winner. If too much water is spilled, it’s certain that the patrol will be unable to reach the mark even though it empties the front bucket.
CHRISTMAS CARD GAME (wide, in) View Video
– Materials: a set of old Christmas cards (about three times as many cards as there are Scouts)
– Preparation: Cut each card into two pieces, making two sets of half-cards so that each half-card in one set has its counterpart in the other. Some of the cards should be cut so that the halves are easy to spot as belonging to each other, e.g., by cutting vertically down the middle of a colored picture of a vase of flowers, and others should be made difficult to spot, e.g., by cutting along the horizon of a seascape.
– Method: Distribute one set of half-cards all over the room (they should be visible but not necessarily obvious). One half-card from the other set is given to each Scout and the rest are kept with the game leader. On the word “Go,” all the Scouts try to find the other half of the pieces they’ve been given. Whenever they can find a matched pair, they can get a fresh half-card from the game leader until there are none left.
– Scoring: The patrol with the largest number of paired pieces wins.
– Note: If all the paired pieces are kept together, they can easily be redivided into separate sets for next time.
– Variation: This activity can be presented as a troop game by sending Scouts out as individuals and rewarding each with an individually-wrapped piece of candy every time they bring back a matched pair.
FIRE BUCKET RELAY (wide, out)
– Materials: for each patrol, a fire bucket with a bail (No. 10 can size), filled 1/2-inch from the top, with an indelible mark in the bucket, one inch below that (at 1-1/2 inches), a cone or stake driven into the ground 50 feet from each patrol
– Objective: Be careful and don’t lose more than an inch of water.
– Method: The patrols line up in relay formation, in front of their cone or stake driven into the ground 50 feet away. The patrol’s filled fire bucket is placed at the head of their line. On signal, the first Scout in each patrol line carries the bucket to the cone or stake and brings it back to their patrol where they hand it off to the second Scout in line. The first Scout now takes their new place at the back of the line. The second Scout starts the bucket passing from Scout to Scout in line, down one side of the patrol and back up the other. When it reaches the front of the line, the second Scout carries the bucket to the cone or stake 50 feet away and back to their patrol where they hand it to the third Scout in line. The second Scout goes to the back of the line and the third Scout starts the bucket passing from Scout to Scout, down one side of the patrol and back up the other. When it reaches the front of the line, the third Scout carries the bucket to the cone or stake 50 feet away and back to their patrol where they hand it to the fourth Scout. The process is repeated until all Scouts have had a turn carrying the bucket to the stake and back, at which time its handed to the Scout who was originally at the front of the line. If patrols contain odd numbers of Scouts, some patrol members will have to go more than once.
– Scoring: The first patrol to run the bucket the predetermined number of times, depending on the amount of Scouts in each patrol, without losing more than 1 inch of water wins.
HIT THE CAN (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: wide playing area, No. 10 can, Scout stave, and a blindfold for each patrol
– Method: The patrols line up in relay formation with at least 25 feet between them. An upside down can is placed ten paces in front of each patrol. The first Scout in each patrol is blindfolded and given the Scout stave. On signal, they must step out three paces, turn around three times, and then take six more paces towards where they think the can is. They have three tries to hit the can with the stave. After their turn, the next Scout in line is blindfolded until an equal number from each patrol has gone.
– Scoring: Patrols score a point each time one of their members hits their can.
HULA HOOP HORSESHOES (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: large open space, hula hoops, three socks filled with coarse sand for each patrol
– Method: Use hula hoops as targets and sand-filled socks as horseshoes, and play regulation “Horseshoes” rules. A sock inside the hoop is a ringer. Patrols line up in relay formation behind an assigned hoop. Each Scout takes a turn to land a sock inside the hoop from 25 feet away.
– Scoring: Each “ringer” equals a point.
– Variation: Set out three hoops per patrol, the nearest one worth five points, the next farthest worth ten points, and the very farthest worth fifteen. Each patrol member gets three shots. Tally the score and the patrol with the most points wins. (This game can also be presented as a pre-opening gathering period activity.)
HUNT THE CANDY (wide, in)
– Materials: individually wrapped pieces of candy
– Method: Hide candy all over the room. Upon spying a piece, each Scout must point their nose at it and give their patrol call, where upon their patrol leader comes and collects it. Patrols finally eat the candy collected.
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INTERPATROL TUG OF WAR (wide, in or out)
– Materials: one 50-foot x 1/2-inch rope, a neckerchief or bandanna for each patrol
– Method: The ends of the rope are joined together with a sheet bend. One Scout from each patrol takes hold of the rope with their right hands, equidistant from each other, so that the rope forms an equilateral triangle or square, etc. depending on how many patrols are entering. With the rope pulled taut, evenly by the participants, a neckerchief is positioned about two feet behind each Scout. On signal, all Scouts try to pick up their neckerchief.
– Scoring: The Scout who is first to pick up the neckerchief scores a point for their patrol.
LOG ROLLING RELAY (wide, out)
– Materials: for each patrol, one log 3-foot long and 12-inch diameter, eight stakes
– Method: The stakes are set in the ground in a zigzag pattern. The patrols line up in relay formation facing the course. Two Scouts in each patrol roll the log through the course, between the stakes, around the turning point, and back through the stakes to the starting point. The next two Scouts take over and repeat the process, and so on until eight Scouts have participated.
– Scoring: The first patrol to roll the log four times through the course wins.
NITRO TRANSPORT (wide, out)
– Materials: for each patrol, a 16 oz can filled with water 1/4-inch from the top, a 12-inch x 12-inch board with four 6-foot braided nylon cords tied through a hole drilled at each corner, (marking pen to draw a fill line for each can)
– Method: The patrol must move a can of “radioactive nitro” (the can full of water) from point A to point B (a distance of about 25 to 30 feet) by lifting the can on the board without spilling any water. If any water spills, the Scouts must start over. This activity can be run as a relay or simply a challenge for the best time.
– Scoring: The fastest time, spilling the least amount of water, wins.
– Variation: Instead of a 16 oz can, use a No. 10 sized cans filled 1/2-inch form the top.
OBSTACLE RACE (wide, in or out)
– Materials: an obstacle course that includes a horizontal bar to climb over, a rope suspended from a tree branch to swing over an 8-foot “river,” a low horizontal bar to crawl under, a 6-foot-wide area to jump over, a narrow board on the ground to walk along, a row of old inner tubes or tires to run through, an empty barrel to crawl through, etc., a stopwatch or a watch with a second hand
– Method: Line up the patrols at the starting line. If you have laid out two parallel courses, start two patrols at the same time and make it a race. If you have only one course, time each patrol separately. On signal, the first Scout in line goes through the course, runs back, tags the next in line, and so on until the whole patrol is through. If a Scout fails to pass the obstacle course correctly they may be called back for a second try.
– Scoring: The patrol with the best time wins.
POCKET ROPE COMPETITION (wide, in or out)
– Method: Patrols are given 2 minutes to plan, then, 4 minutes to finish. On signal each patrol tries to make the longest “rope” they can with the things they have in their pockets or on their person. (belts, socks, neckerchiefs, shirts, etc.).
– Scoring: Longest “rope” wins.
SHOE HUNT (wide, in or out)
– Materials: 10-foot circle inside a 50-foot circle marked out on the ground
– Method: Each patrol enters the same maximum number of participants. At the start, all Scouts remove their shoes, place them in the center circle, and go to the outer circle. They may not tie their shoes together. A Scout in the role of judge thoroughly mixes the shoes in one large pile. On signal, all of the Scouts rush to the center circle, search out their own shoes, put them on, lace them if necessary, and return to the outer circle.
– Scoring: The winning patrol is the first one with all of its members standing together, at attention, with their shoes on, around the outer circle.
SPIES IN THE WOODS (wide, out)
– Materials: Several blank sheets of paper, one pencil for each Scout, a notebook or piece of paper (the “black book”) for each spy, a large wooded area
– Method: Post the sheets of paper 2 or 3 feet from the ground on different trees and bushes. Two or three leaders become spies and roam about a given area in which the papers are posted. (The number of spies depends on the amount of space allotted to the game.) Each Scout tries to write their name on the different papers without being seen. The Scouts may write their names only once on each paper. Of course, locating the papers is part of the game. If a spy sees a Scout within 15 feet of a paper, they write the Scout’s name in their “black book.”
– Scoring: The number of names in the spies’ books is deducted from the number of signatures on the papers. The patrol with the best score wins.
STANDING JUMP RELAY (wide, in or out) View Video
– Method: Patrols line up in relay formation. First Scout in line performs a standing broad jump. The next Scout in line jumps from where their patrol mate landed and so on. Patrol members might have to jump twice to make patrols equal in numbers.
– Scoring: Patrols win points for the longest combined distances.
TIRE ROLL RELAY (wide, in or out)
– Materials: for each patrol, an old tire and seven stakes, or cones
– Method: Lay out a course for each patrol consisting of a straight line of stakes or cones. The Scouts line up in relay formation, facing the course. The first Scout in each patrol rolls their tire through the course, in and out of the stakes or cones, around a single end marker, and back through the course to the starting line. The next Scout in line repeats the process, and so on until the tire has been rolled through the course eight times. (Some patrol members might have to run the course more than once.)
– Scoring: The first patrol to complete eight trips through the course from start to finish wins.
WHEELBARROW RELAY (wide, in or out)
– Method: Establish a starting line and, 20 feet away, a turning line. The patrols line up in relay formation at the starting line. On signal, the first Scout from each patrol places their hands on the floor and the second Scout grasps their ankles and lifts their legs. In this position, they travel to the turning line, with the first player traveling on their hands. On reaching the turning line, they reverse positions and return, tagging the second pair of Scouts, who follow the same procedure. Continue the relay until all patrol members have competed with the same amount of entries.
– Scoring: The patrol to finish first wins.
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