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The Toilet Paper Game May 10, 2010

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Games are a vital part of your Scouting program, and some of the best games are the ones that take very little setup or supplies to do. If you have enough Scouts, and a couple of rolls of new toilet paper, you have what you need for a fun game!

We played the toilet paper game a few years ago when my den were Webelos. Due to the skill level required, I would keep this game to Webelos and above.

The rules are simple. Select teams of 3 or 4 Scouts. Have the Scouts stand back-to-back-to-back (basically so their shoulders are touching). One Scout gets the roll of toilet paper, and he has to press the beginning of the roll against his stomach and pass the roll to the Scout on one side. Then that Scout takes the roll of toilet paper, and wraps it around his stomach, and hands it to the next Scout. The toilet paper is then passed from Scout to Scout, unraveling the paper and wrapping it around the team. If the toilet paper breaks, they have to hold the broken ends against themselves and wrap the paper around the team so that it covers this break and holds the wrapping in place, and then continue to wrap. The winning team is the first to hold up the empty roll with the paper wrapped around themselves.

The main challenges are keeping the toilet paper from breaking while passing it and not dropping the roll. If the team drops their roll, then they have to figure out a way to pick up the roll without breaking the wrap around themselves.

Not only does this make for a fun game, but imagine when you hold up the bag and announce “and the main equipment for this game is…” then bring out the package of toilet paper! When I did this in my den, the boys were laughing out loud when they saw this (and so were the parents). I had 8 boys show up to that meeting, so I had two teams of 4 boys. But best of all, I had 4 parents stay for that meeting. Guess who was team 3? Right! I talked the parents into playing too! They had a lot of fun, and finished their roll first, but since they had more girth than the boys, I disallowed their score and only took the winning boy team. But all had a blast!

So if you are looking for a fun game for your older Scouts, consider the toilet paper game. It’s a fun game that they will talk about for quite a while!

In Scouting,

- Scouter Jeff <><

Lemon and Chopstick Relay Game May 3, 2010

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Hello fellow Scouters,

It’s so important to have a game anytime you have a den meeting. When I was a Cub Scout den leader, I loved relay games. You can make almost anything a relay game. A balloon that doesn’t touch the ground, an oversized shirt pulled from one Scout to the other (with both Scouts locking hands), balancing any item that will fit on a spoon, taking a bucket of water and a spoon and filling up a cup at the other end, the sweep potato game, etc. You get the idea – as long as you have enough Scouts, a level surface, and you match the relay game to their skill level, you can have a fun time.

One of my favorite relay games was the chopstick and lemon game. The equipment consisted of one lemon for each team (all lemons should be similar in size), one chopstick for each team (plus some extra chopsticks as back ups), and something to mark off your start and finish lines and something to separate the “lanes” of the relay (blue painter’s tape works well, or you could use orange sports cones). It’s always good to have a couple of parents volunteer to be line judges. The game play is easy – the boys divide into teams, get in a line, and try to roll the lemon from start to finish while staying in their lane. And they are not allowed to touch the lemon with anything except the chopstick. Since the lemon is oval, it doesn’t roll well, so that adds a lot of the fun to the game (so make sure you get really oval lemons!).

As far as the relay goes, you can split the team up and have some boys at each end of the lane, and hand off the chopstick (which works well if you have a decent number of boys in a team). Or if you don’t have a lot of boys on each team, you can have the boy run from one end of the lane back to the beginning, then hand off the chopstick to the next in line to repeat.

There are a lot of leaders that don’t like competition games, but I always liked to have games that had a winner. The boys seemed to enjoy the games more when there was something to win (I never gave prizes, though. It was all about bragging rights). To keep things somewhat fair, I usually chose the teams, and if there was one Scout who had a particularly difficult time with the skill level of the relay, I’d rotate the teams after a round so that everyone had a chance of being on a winning team. But this is how it worked for my dens. Each den has a unique make up, and what will work for one den might not work well in another.

Cub Scouting should be fun, and a great way to have fun is playing games. Relay games are a great way to have fun and burn energy off at a meeting. Plus, they can be thrown together with very little planning. You can even keep some relay supplies in your game backpack.

If you need a game for a meeting this week, raid your kitchen and see if you have a lemon and a chopstick. Then you’re all set for a fun game!

If you have a favorite relay game, please leave them in the comments so others can try the game at their den meeting.

In Scouting,

 - Scouter Jeff <><

Storing And Organizing Craft Paint October 5, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

One item I inadvertently collected as a Cub Scout den leader was PaintTraythose small tubes of craft paint. By leading two dens and working on countless crafts, I ended up with quite a collection – sometimes I feel like I have the entire color spectrum in my craft box!

One difficulty I always had was how to store them. I found a great solution at my local dollar store (the store I like to call the “Made in China” store). I found these small plastic baskets that were 3 for a dollar. They were about 5″ x 6″, and I bought because I thought they’d be great for a bean bag game. I took them home and never actually used them for a game, as I found they were great for storing the craft paints. Not only could I keep the paints from just being dumped in the bottom of my craft box, but I found that I could stack the trays of paint in my box. Plus, when I got to den meetings I used these to put paints out on the tables during craft time. I could even put similar color hues together in a tray.

I like being organized, and these trays were an inexpensive way to help me keep my craft paints organized. If you are looking for a way to store your paints (or other small items, for that matter), check your local dollar store.

In Scouting,

 - Scouter Jeff <><

Sweep Potato Game July 13, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

One game that my two dens used to enjoy playing was a game we called BroomAndPotato“Sweep Potato”. It was a fairly easy game to play, and the boys always enjoyed it. I picked up a couple of cheap brooms from a discount store, and a couple of large, similar-sized potatoes (one broom and one potato for each team). Add some cones to mark of the end zones, and we were ready for fun.

We would play this relay style, with the boys handing the broom to another player and sweeping the potato back and forth, with the winning team the first one to finish. But there are other possibilities you could do. You could make it a timed game, with points for each time they pass the line in the allotted time. You could sweep the potato one way, then run it back. You could sweep the potato down the line then run it back without using your hands. You get the idea – mix it up and have fun.

One rule we enacted when we played this was no pushing of the potatoes with the brooms. Boys are smart and will quickly learn to push the potato instead of sweeping it.

You can use other things for them to sweep. You could use lemons, balloons, footballs, etc. The point is to use something that doesn’t roll straight. It’s much more fun this way.

Have fun!

 - Scouter Jeff <><

2-Liter Bottle Bowling June 2, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Cub Scouts love to bowl, but an outing to a bowling alley can Soda_Bottle_And_Ballbe expensive. But with enough 2 liter soda bottles, a ball and a flat surface, you can bring a bowling alley to your meeting!

When I did this at a den meeting, I set up two lanes, with a wood 2×4 as a divider between the lanes. I used 10 bottles per lane, with a rubber “four square”-type ball for the bowling ball. A fence at the end of the lane was a backstop, with enough room between the end of the lane and the backstop for the pin-setting volunteer to stand. I used blue painter’s tape to mark off the rest of the lane. For my Webelos, my lanes were approx. 10′ long.

Some tips for this game: First, the bottles fall over with little effort. But if you add a cup of water to the bottle, that will give them enough bottom weight to keep them from falling over too easily. Also, by adjusting the length of the “alley”, you can make this game age-appropriate. And bringing a clipboard is a good idea for score keeping. Finally, this game could be played indoor or outside, or even in a garage.

Here are the blank score sheets that I used for this game.

 bowling_scoresheet.jpg (Please e-mail me if you would like a pdf version of this score sheet).

I had two lanes going, to keep the wait-time down (with only one Soda_Bottle_Bowlinglane, this would have been a meeting bottleneck, which as I’ve blogged about before is something you want to avoid). To run this game, I had 3 other volunteers. I had two “pin setters” that would stack the pins and make sure the balls didn’t go into the other lanes. Me and another parent were the score keepers, although you could do with only one score keeper. A den chief would be a great resource for this game, either as a helper or even setting up and running this game (with assistance, of course).

This made a great game for a den meeting. When we did this as Webelos, I had two parents set up the game in the front driveway, while me and another parent taught a Readyman lesson on the back patio. When we were done with the lesson, we went to the front and found they had done an awesome job of setting up a two-lane bowling alley. They even made those lane “hash marks” with the tape! This was a game that the boys didn’t want to stop playing.

Along with a den meeting game, this can be used as a pack game, a gathering activity, a summer camp game, etc. This game can be set up and played anywhere that you have a flat surface. So start collecting your soda bottles now.

Have fun!

In Scouting,

 - Scouter Jeff <><

Pie Tin and Washer Game May 21, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

One of my favorite games when I was a Cub Scout leader was the old pie tin and washer game. It was an easy game to PieTinAndWashermake, and was small enough that I could keep it in my game backpack.

All you need for this game are a couple of pie tins and some fender washers (the ones I used measure 1-1/4″ in diameter). I had three sets of 10 washers, each set spray painted a different color (spray painted in a water bottle cardboard packaging base). This way when we played we could have either two or three teams, depending on how many Scouts showed up to the meeting (of course, you always hope that you don’t end up with a prime number of Scouts).

One thing that’s great about this game is that it is fun at all ages. We played it as Tigers all the way through our second Webelos year. It’s important to have games that are age-appropriate, and it is easy to achieve this by adjusting the line that you throw from.

When I set this game up, I cut out some cardstock circles to go in the pie tin. This helped stop washers from bouncing out once they land in the tin. I also would put a blanket or towel under the tins to help keep the washers from ricocheting away from the playing area. Then all you have to do is count the number of each color that lands in the pie tins – it’s that easy!

We made an annual tournament out of this, and the boys chose fun team names. We would play a few rounds and I would do my best to hide the count each round, to keep the winning team a surprise (this was more difficult to do as the boys got older). Once we even played it hockey style, by using the pie tins as goal posts and having the boys try to slide their washers between the tins.

And this game is not just for kids! We used this game as a gathering activity last fall when my district held its Cub Leader Specific training. The first class of the day (the former New Leader’s Essentials) went over in time, and we filled the delay with this game. The adult leaders had so much fun playing this that they didn’t want the game to end when it was time to begin training.

I hope you find this game a fun addition to your selection of Scout games. Have fun!

In Scouting,

- Scouter Jeff  <><

The Candy Bar Game February 13, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

There are so many den games on the Internet, and sometimes it is candybardifficult to know if a game is fun or not. I personally like to hear about fun games that have been played in a den meeting. At this week’s den meeting, my Webelos II Scouts played the Candy Bar Game, that was featured in November’s Baloo’s Bugle (courtesy of the Capital Area Council). See the link on the right to visit Baloo’s Bugle.

The boys played for over 20 minutes, and I had to end the game so dicewe could go home – and they wanted to keep playing! It’s a fun game to play for the older boys. As with all things, remember Age Appropriate Activities – I think Tigers would be too young to play this. I wrote the dice roll results on a large sheet of poster paper, so the boys could easily see what move resulted from their dice roll. Once the game started going, I was able to step back and offer limited assistance. The game seemed to run itself. If you are looking for a fun game for your den, why don’t you try this out?

Here’s the information from Baloo’s Bugle for this game:

Candy Bar Game

Capital Area Council

Objective: Each person tries to get as many candy bars as they can.

Materials:

2 Candy bars for each player or couple

1 brown lunch sack for each player or couple

Timer, Wood die

Bowl, Good Attitude

Timer: Set timer in another room, so no one can watch to see how much time is left.  A stop timer is perfect.  Most families play for about a half-hour.  After playing a few times, you will know how much time needs to be adjusted.  It’s fun to vary the time from each game to keep them off guard.

Preparation: If using this game for a party, assign each person to bring two candy bars.  Take the candy when they arrive.  One person (mother, father, or party leader) places two candy bars in a brown sack.  Fold down the top of each sack the same.  If there are extra bars, place them in a bowl.  Place a mark, (x) on the bottom of one of the bags.

Starting the game:

1.       Have everyone gather in a circle.

2.       Place bowl inside the circle.

3.       Each person or couple picks a sack out of the center.

4.       Explain that each sack contains two candy bars and no one is to look until directed to do so.

5.       Each person looks into their own sack but does not tell what kind of bars they have.

6.       Everyone closes their bag.  Players may look inside any sack that is their own during the game.

7.       Who goes first?  The player with the mark on the bottom of their sack. That player rolls first then follows to the left.

Roll Die: A player has to follow what has been rolled.

1.       Take the Bowl: If rolled the player takes all the bars.

2.       Trade sacks: Player picks another player to trade sacks with.  Remember: You want the most candy

3.       Lose a turn:  Lose next turn.

4.       Add Bar to Bowl: The player takes a bar from his sack and adds to the bowl.  Don’t let people know your sack is empty.  This might help out when trading. If you receive an empty sack don’t say anything. Just hope you can pass is off

5.       Double take: A player who rolls this takes one bar from the players on his left and right.  If the player is out of bars, you’re out of luck.

6.       Guess a Bar: Players need to watch bars and sacks as they are exchanged.

        When rolled a player says a person name and tries to guess the candy bar in their sack. The players only need to answer with a yes or no.  If the player asked has the bar, he must give it to the roller.

Ending the Game: When the timer goes off everyone keeps the sack that they end up with.  If a player has rolled the die when the timer goes off, that player may complete his turn. At this time any bars left in the bowl must be rolled for.

 

-

 

Enjoy!

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

Mousetrap Catapult Plans January 2, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

There are several catapult plans on the Internet, for Webelos Engineer catapult#9 requirement. Here’s one using a mousetrap that I made twice with each of my Webelos dens, that I want to share with you. This one’s not too complex to build, and having a miter saw and a drill press will make it fairly easy (but these are not necessary). This catapult takes quite a bit of prep time, and with the Webelos Engineer activity pin scheduled for February and March, there is plenty of time to work on this.

When I did this in the den, I had all the items pre-made and in bags at catapultsideviewthe beginning of the meeting. It took one meeting to build, and at the end of it we had a fun game of shooting pennies into cups. You can choose to pre-fab all the material or if you want you can have the boys do some of the prep work. (As a reminder, the boys cannot use power tools).

Materials:

Mousetrap with the bait-holder and hold down bar removed.

Base: 3-1/2″ x 3/4″ pine or other soft wood, 15-1/2″ long.

Sides: 2-1/2″ x 3/4″ pine x 6″ high. You will need two of these.

Cross bar: 1/2″ dowel x 5″ long. This stops the forward motion of the launch arm.

Wood connectors (to connect mousetrap to launch arm): 2 quantitycatapultconnection 2″ x 2″ wood pieces 1/8″ thick (these need to be wide and tall enough to fully enclose the mousetrap snap bar).

Launch arms: good quality paint stirrers from a home improvement store, with a small wood piece glued near the top (used to hold item being launched).

Screws for wood connectors: 2 quantity machine screw/washer/nut, 1/2″ long, #6 size.

Wood screws (to mount mousetrap to base): 3 quantity #6 x 3/4″.

Finish nails: 4 quantity 4d finish nails to attach sides to base.

Firing pin: 1/4″ dowel approx. 2″ long (cut to fit your particularcatapultfiringpin firing layout). Also a wood screw to pull the firing pin, #4 x 3/4″ (or you can use a nail for this).

Firing pin holder: 2 quantity eye bolts that will fit a 1/4″ dowel (the ones I found at the home improvement store were labeled #206).

Pre-drilling

The following items were pre-drilled before the meeting, using a drill press, to get exact 90 degree holes. Without a drill press you will need to carefully drill to get as close to perpendicular holes as possible.

1)  A 1/2″ hole drilled through the side arms, centered and approx. 1″ from the top. This is for the stop bar (the 1/2″ dowel piece).

2)  Two small holes drilled through the bottom of each of the side arms, for the finish nails (pre-drilling prevents the side arms from splitting when hammering the nails through them).

3) A small hole drilled through the firing pin, to hold the wood screw.

4) Three holes drilled through the mousetrap, for the wood screws that would attach it to the base.

Step By Step Instructions

Below is a link to a scan of the step by step instructions that I prepared for our district day camp last summer. This should walk you through how to put these together. (If you would like these instructions in a Word document, please e-mail me and I can send them to you).

Step by Step Instructions

As with all crafts, it’s important to build one well before the meeting, to make sure everything works and can be done in the allotted time. Please note that the firing pin is actually one of the most difficult steps, and can be skipped to save time.

Good luck with this! I hope these are as much fun for you as they were for my dens. Please let me know if you have any questions.

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

Game Backpack December 1, 2008

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Hello fellow Scouters,

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Here’s a tip I learned at our council’s 2005 Pow Wow, that I wanted to pass along. One of the areas backpackI’ve struggled with is games, so I took the Pow Wow class on games to help me with this area. Before this, I would spend all my time working on the den meeting plan, and I’d often forget to plan a game for the meeting. The results of that class were not life-changing, but they were den-changing. The class helped me rethink my approach to games. Games help liven up a den meeting and get the boys excited to come to the den meeting. I learned to plan my den meeting around a game, instead of planning a game for a den meeting.

One of the teacher’s suggestion was to keep a game backpack. It’s a backpack filled with games3various items for quick game ideas. As you can see from the picture, which has some of the contents of my backpack, there’s a lot of things that can be turned into games. Among the contents are balls, balloons, note cards, spoons, sticks, ropes, game tokens, dice, and a really old cell phone (which I love – and it always gets a laugh). So now even if I don’t have time to research a game, I have one at hand. We can do a spoon and ping pong ball relay. We can do a game where you pass the balloon along without using your hands. We have bean bags that we can use for a bean bag toss. We have a great giant cell phone to play Guess Who’s Calling. And of course a notepad and pencil to keep score, or use for a quick game of hang-man. I don’t even have a game in mind for some of the items. But in a pinch, you can make a game out of almost anything.

Not only does this help at den meetings, it’s great for outings as well. Now if we are out and we have to wait in line for something, I can pull out something from the backpack and pass the time, without the boys getting rowdy! I carry this everywhere we go, because you never know when you are going to have some downtime and need a diversion.

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

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