Scavenger Hunt and Water Games

Table of Contents

Scouting Scavenger Hunt

Each patrol has 10 minutes to solve the riddles and find the corresponding Scouting or nature objects. They must give the correct numbers for each item:

1. You use this to find NEWS.
2. This silver life saver can be used on anything from tents to camera cases.
3. When the wind blows and the snow comes down I'll still be around.
4. Flash this for someone and they may just come to the rescue.
5. It's always greener on the other side of the road.
6. Sounds like something that would help an orchestra.
7. I'm created by rivers and streams and thousands of years.
8. It can help you on hot days, cold days, and while you sleep.
9. Be sure to take this if you want to pack light.
10. Keeps you from wearing embarrassing garbage bags.
11. If you're falling off a cliff, it's good to be able to do this.
12. You don't have to be a Star Scout to wear one of these.
13. If you served in the military in Geneva, you might be issued one of these.
14. It's whipped but it's not cream.
15. You see me in red superimposed on red and white stripes sometimes.
16. With these you can do something you also do in baseball and bowling.
17. It's pretty much isosceles in shape.
18. It's the opposite of "can oot"
19. Useful for ticks every time.

Scouting Scavenger Hunt Answers

Each patrol has 10 minutes to solve the riddles and find the corresponding Scouting or nature objects. They must give the correct numbers for each item:

1. You use this to find NEWS. Compass
2. This silver life saver can be used on anything from tents to camera cases. Duct Tape
3. When the wind blows and the snow comes down I'll still be around. Pine Needles/Branch
4. Flash this for someone and they may just come to the rescue. Signal Mirror
5. It's always greener on the other side of the road. Grass
6. Sounds like something that would help an orchestra. Band Aid
7. I'm created by rivers and streams and thousands of years. Sedimentary Rock
8. It can help you on hot days, cold days, and while you sleep. Hat
9. Be sure to take this if you want to pack light. Flashlight
10. Keeps you from wearing embarrassing garbage bags. Poncho
11. If you're falling off a cliff, it's good to be able to do this. Tie one-handed bowline
12. You don't have to be a Star Scout to wear one of these. Service star (or Baden-Powell Star)
13. If you served in the military in Geneva, you might be issued one of these. Swiss Army Knife
14. It's whipped but it's not cream. Whipped Rope
15. You see me in red superimposed on red and white stripes sometimes. Maple Leaf
16. With these you can do something you also do in baseball and bowling. Matches
17. It's pretty much isosceles in shape. Triangle Bandage or neckerchief
18. It's the opposite of "can oot" Canteen (can't iin)
19. Useful for ticks every time. Watch


Akela has invited one patrol to work with the Cub pack next week. To help the Court of Honor decide which patrol will best represent the troop, here is a test for your patrol. By no later than...., bring back the necessary ingredients for staging successful demonstrations of:

1. a left-handed non-Scout
2. a left-handed cat
3. how to separate a mixture of salt and pepper
4. how to determine which is more dense: apple or carrot
5. what happens when you add two spoonfuls of vinegar to one spoonful of dish washing liquid and mix in one big spoonful of baking soda
6. a southbound footprint

Scouter's Notes

2. I'm not sure there is any such creature, but a Scout once assured me that his cat was left-handed. Another Scout brought in a cat and left it to me to prove it wasn't left-handed.
3. Pour mixture into a glass of water. Salt sinks; pepper floats.
4. Again water. Carrot sinks and apple floats, ergo carrot is denser.
6. Perhaps a compass set alongside the footprint or a photograph of a footprint relative to an object that has a definite direction.

Space Age Technology

Space invaders have demanded that you produce evidence of the earth's current level of technology by no later than.... You must collect samples that demonstrate our society's use of: transistors; incandescence; fluorescence; luminosity; polystyrene; polypropylene; polyester; acrylic; latex; nylon; laser; liquid crystal display (LCD); light emitting diode (LED); magnetic diskettes; magnetic recording tape; electricity (plug in); electricity (battery power); stainless steel; molded plastic; sheet plastic; laminated plastic; metal alloy.

Scouter's Note: Relate to the Engineering and Science Challenge badges.


Mr. Wizard blew up his laboratory. He needs your help to replace some parts of his physics experiments. By no later than...., bring in as many examples as you can of the six basic machines: screw; wedge; inclined plane; lever; pulley; wheel & axle.


With your Polaroid camera, take one photograph of each of the following situations. You have film for 20 attempts. Don't let any other patrol photograph a member of your patrol. No later than..... deliver photographs of: the whole patrol inside a telephone booth; a Scout at least 5 m up a tree; three Scouts blowing bubble gum; all the members of the households of two Scouts; the Canadian flag; a woman on a bicycle; a Scout in the back seat of a bus; two Scouts in a police cell; three Scouts on the back of a fire truck; a suspicious-looking character often seen walking near the troop's meeting place about 30 minutes after the meeting starts (don't let this person see you take the photo); a Scout from another patrol; a Scout beside a statue; a Scout holding a chicken.

Scouter's Notes: You have to provide your own suspicious-looking character. Relate to the Photography Challenge badge.

One is One

In the words of the song, "One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so." Some things are found only as solitary items. Other things occur only in groups of two, three, four, or more.

By no later than...., bring back one sample item from each of these groups: one; two; three; four; five; six; seven; eight; nine; ten; eleven; twelve; twenty; twenty-five; fifty; one hundred.


We have received a message from the planet Graidot in the Garbajio Galaxy. Their environmental pollution is so bad that their world is slowly becoming a colourless, featureless gob of gray goo. Unless they install some sensory organisms soon, they will lose touch with reality. We have agreed to help.

By no later than...., bring back one each of something: hot; frozen; sweet; sour; sticky; rough; smooth; slippery; squishy; rubbery; wobbly; perfumed; stinking; salty; bitter; cheesy; prickly; corrugated; colorful; pure.

One Square

The television game show, Scouting Squares, is offering a grand prize of one trillion dollars. How to win? Examine a 2.5 cm square of an object and, from that, identify the whole object then bring in an example. The patrol with the largest collection of objects wins.

Scouter's Notes: You need to assemble a series of 2.5 cm squares of different items. To avoid cutting an object of value, make a template with a 2.5 cm square hole in it. The template must be large enough to cover the object, except for the critical 2.5 cm square. Invite patrols to challenge each other by producing their own series of samples.

Tape Recorder

The National Center for the Visually Impaired is compiling a library of sounds to use in their training programs. By no later than...., use your tape recorder to record 5-10 seconds each of: cash register operating; telephone ringing; book pages flipping; washing machine agitating; backpack zipper opening or closing; typewriter pounding; Scout belt buckling; cloth ripping; group committee chairperson singing O Canada; Scout with mouthful of crackers whistling; your PL at the other end of a telephone call; piano playing; brass wind instrument blowing; Scout playing Happy Birthday on paper and comb; shoes being brushed; newspaper tearing; bell ringing; Scout blowing over the mouth of an empty bottle; three hole punch punching; cellophane paper crackling; deck of cards riffling; coffee pot percolating; popcorn popper popping; television commercial blaring; paper bag bursting; magic marker squeaking; car starting; referee whistle whistling; dog barking; three adult non-Scouts responding to your polite request for their opinion of Scouting.

Earn bonus points by recording a sound that no other patrol can identify.

Water Games

From: Jim Speirs

A Little Inconvenience

Water game, outdoors.

Equipment: 1 soccer ball; 2 inner tubes; 1 water ball; 2 water basketball hoops; blindfolds; string.

Formation: teams.

The object of this game is to allow players to experience the sensation of having a disability.

Divide the players into four teams, and set up a rotation so that each team takes part in each of the following activities:

1. Sensitivity walk,

2. Obstacle course in water, using inner tubes.

3. dodge ball, and

4. water basketball.

Each activity is performed with a specific handicap:

1) When a team goes on the sensitivity hike, all participants are blindfolded. They simply go on a short hike, and experience it without sight.

2) In a short obstacle course in shallow water (through an inner tube, crawl on the bottom then through a second inner tube) players must not use their arms.

3) In the dame of dodge ball in shallow water, each player's ankles are tied together. (One player in the center of the circle tries to hit another player with the soccer ball.

4) In a game of water basketball, players may not speak.

Following ten minute rotations of each event, the group can discuss the sensations experienced by being temporarily handicapped.

We can soon learn it is not what you cannot do -- it is what you can do !

Slash hike

Water game, outdoors.

Equipment: None

Formation: group

This is a super small group game. Ask everyone to wear bathing suits and an old pair of shoes (a pair they can get wet). The game takes place in a stream or along the shallow shoreline of a lake or river.

The leader steps into the water, and instructs the group to 'follow the leader'. Everything the leader does is copied by the followers. After a few minutes of hiking, the leader falls to the back of the line to let a new leader take over. The hike can be as long or as short as time allows - it is fun to walk back to home base in the water, rather than by land; see if the group can hike backwards for some of the return distance.

Some 'follow the leader' ideas:

Sit down on a stone; hop on one foot; play leap frog; skip a flat stone out to sea; jump from one stone to another; build a small castle on the shore; climb a tree; stop, take off one shoe, empty water from it, and put it on again; crouch so that all of you is under water; sing a song about the sea; try to catch a frog.

Monster Relay

Water game, outdoors.

Equipment: none.

Formation: teams

Divide the group into teams of 8-10 players.

Set up a 'monster' relay where every player has a role. Some swim through shallow water, some through deep water. Have some do cartwheels through shallow areas, while other swim with one hand in the air.

The design of the relay depends on your waterfront set-up and the abilities of your swimmers.

End the relay by having one player piggyback a teammate across a finish line, located in shallow water.

Save the Insulin

Place the insulin (a plastic bleach bottle) in the lake or river about 20 feet from shore. Patrols equipped with a pike pole, two 8 ft. planks and some rope must try to retrieve the insulin needed by a dying man. The water is full of man-eating sharks which will instantly attack anyone who steps or falls into it.

Marathon Obstacle Race

Of course, this must be set up according to the location and equipment available, but here are some examples. Make it a timed relay in which one boy from each patrol starts off. He swims to a raft or dock, enters a canoe or rowboat, paddles it in a certain manner, jumps out or capsizes it and stays underneath to sing for 10 seconds, pushes or tows the craft back to the dock. Or, he picks up a passenger from dock or raft, paddles around a buoy, jumps out into the water and climbs back in, etc., etc.

Punctured Drum

Although this challenge doesn't happen in the water, it should be done near the water. Provide plastic detergent bottles or other convenient containers for transferring water, and patrols must try to use them to fill a drum in which you've banged as many holes as possible. The only things boys can use to plug the holes are parts of their bodies. Fifty holes will occupy all of the fingers of five boys.

Floating Fire Bombardment

For this effective night activity, you need wooden logs for raft-building; lashing twine; matches and fire-lighting materials; and a source of small rocks for ammunition. Each patrol constructs a small lashed raft and arranges fire materials on it. They tow each raft to an equal distance off shore and light the fires. Patrols then line up on shore (make sure boys stay in line to prevent injuries) and, on signal, start bombarding their rafts. A "direct hit" which splashes water onto a burning raft counts 10 points. The first raft to be extinguished wins. Alternately, you can use just one raft and judge the direct hits.

Mystery Meal

Here's a traditional challenge that means buying enough tins of food to provide six tins for each patrol. You can keep down the cost by buying from "bash and dent" bins, but make sure the cans aren't damaged enough to be leaking or bulging. Mix it up so that you have soups, vegetables, fruits, stews, spaghetti, puddings, etc. Peel off all the labels, load the cans into a boat and dump them at a marked spot in the river, lake or pond. Avoid muddy bottoms and strong currents.

One boy from each patrol dives for the cans. He must bring up only one at a time and toss it to other members of his patrol who are on shore, on a dock, or in a boat. When he has retrieved six cans, the patrol must leave the area. Back on shore they open the cans and decide how to prepare a meal from the offerings. Swapping between patrols is not allowed and, in order to win the challenge, every member of the patrol must eat and all food must be consumed.

Operation Neptune

Operation Neptune pulls together a series of aquatic challenges for a summer camp "funoree", a swim meet at the "Y", a camporee or jamboree, or a pool party.

Have each patrol adopt an aquatic name (Barracudas, Sharks, Porpoises, Fin-Busters, etc.) and make themselves an identification poster for the operation. Encourage the boys to prepare and practice special patrol cheers to add spirit to the event. You may want to design a "Neptune Scroll" to award the winning team when scores from all events have been tallied.

Plan the program to make participation possible for every boy in the troop--not just the good swimmers. To keep things moving along, arrange for a megaphone so that you can announce each event and have contestants assemble in a special staging area.

If you use a blackboard to display up-to-the minute scores, you'll keep spirit high with spectators cheering for their teams. You'll need extra help on hand to keep spectators under control, and you can recruit parents as timers and judges.

Success depends upon preparation. All necessary equipment must be ready and lifeguards in attendance. In all events, water safety regulations must be observed. For an outdoor meet, the boys should each keep a towel and sweater handy.

You can choose from an infinite list of possible events. Mix up skill and fun challenges to make a well-rounded meet in which every boy can take part.


Devise contests for the best straight dive, the best fancy dive, the best crazy dive, or the biggest splash.


Try a dog-paddle race in which the boys must bark while swimming; lifejacket race; dead man's float glide; free-style underwater distance swim; free style leaders vs boys relay; front and back crawl race; side or breast stroke race; towing rescue where a boy must tow a buddy for a certain distance; team relay.

Operation Neptune Novelty Races

Pyjama Relay

Each team has one pair of pajamas. The first boy must put on the pajamas, swim across a given area, take off the pj's and hand them to the second boy, who puts them on, swims, removes them and hands them to the next, and so on.

Candle Race

One boy per patrol must swim a certain distance with a lighted candle. To prevent hot wax from dripping onto the swimmer's skin, push the candle through a hole in the center of a foil plate. The plate will act as a hand guard.

Spoon Race

One boy per patrol swims a certain distance holding an apple, potato or rock-filled spoon in his mouth (sideways works best). If he drops the object, he must dive to retrieve it.

Newspaper Race

One boy per patrol swims a certain distance on his back carrying a newspaper. He must hand the paper to a judge at the finish line. The judge decides the winner on the basis of whose newspaper remained the driest.

Blow Ping Pong

One boy per patrol blows a ping-pong ball ahead of him as he swims a given distance. He cannot touch the ball with his body.

Underwater Knotting

One boy per patrol must submerge and tie a given knot underwater; a round turn or a clove hitch around his leg, for example. You can do this in shallow water for junior boys.

Match Race

One boy per patrol swims a given distance with a match. The object is to keep the match dry because he must strike it for the judges at the finish line. The winner is the first to light his match after the swim.

Obstacle Relay

Four boys in a team. The first boy dives through the legs of a partner who is standing in a shallow area. The partner then must swim to a finish line while carrying a ball between his legs, after which the third boy picks up an object (puck, rock, ring) from the bottom of the pool or lake. When this is accomplished. the fourth boy swims a given distance with a Frisbee on his head and finishes by tossing the Frisbee to the judges. Winner is the first patrol to complete the series.

Operation Neptune Fun Events

Human Chain

Members of a patrol sit in a line on the edge of a dock or pool and link arms. On signal, the boy at the starting end lets himself drop into the water. Each successive boy in the chain must be pulled into the water by the boy who precedes him. They cannot help things along by jumping in. First chain to slide off the deck is the winner.

Mounted Wrestling

Hold this in shallow water and supervise closely. Each patrol is represented by either one or several teams of "horse and rider". On signal, riders engage other riders in an attempt to pull them from their horses. When a rider is down, the team must immediately leave the playing area. Last horse and rider standing is the winner.

Greased Watermelon

Two teams, each defending a goal line. The object is to get the watermelon to touch the enemy's goal line. The melon cannot be carried.

Water Tug 'o War

Hold in shallow water. Each patrol competes against all others, then winners against winners and losers against losers.

Candy Dive

Each patrol is given three minutes to dive for candies you've thrown in the water. Wrapped caramels work well. Boys who retrieve the largest number of sweets are the winners.


This is a water version of British Bulldog. Choose one or more of the good swimmers to stay in the middle as "Jaws". On signal, each patrol tries to swim from one side of the circle to the other without being touched by Jaws. When caught, a boy joins Jaws. Continue crossings until time is called. The patrol with the largest number of boys to escape Jaws is the winner.


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