The MacScouter's Big Book of Games, Volume 1 -- Younger Scouts

Compiled by Gary Hendra and Gary Yerkes


     The MacScouter's Big Book of Games is intended to be used by Scouters and Guiders around the world to further your programs, and bring fun into your Dens and Packs. This Volume 1: Games for Younger Scouts, is intended for younger boys and girls, but it is impossible to draw a line and say you cannot use these games for boys and girls older than this. In fact, there is some overlap with Volume 2: Games for Older Scouts.
     The material here has been gathered from many sources, most of which are Cub Scout, Beaver Scout or Boy Scout related, thus the language used within the games. I believe that most games are suitable for Girl Guides, Girl Scouts, Campfire Boys and Girls, and indeed any group of young people. There are over 650 games in the Big Book, divided into many different categories.
     The MacScouter's Big Book of Games has been compiled from a wide variety of sources. It started with the Scouts-L Games FAQ. Then, we combined the Indian Nations 1994 Powwow Book games, with other Powwow Book games, games from Australia, and individual games from many people. Our sincere thanks to Jim Speirs, Merl Whitebook and a long cast of characters for contributing to this volume.

     Please note that all of the material contained herein has been provided by others, or has been compiled from material on World Wide Web sites. It is not my intent to incorporate any copyrighted material in this document. If it is brought to my attention that any material contained herein is copyrighted, and that copyright states that the material is not to be reproduced, I will immediately remove it from the electronic document and from the WWW site.

     If you have games that you do not see here, please send them to the MacScouter.

Table of Contents

The Games

Organizing and Playing Games

Games Are --
  • Lessons without teachers
  • Body builders
  • Mind stretchers
  • Friend makers
  • Building blocks
  • Most of all games are fun

Through Games, A Scout

  • Learns new skills
  • Develops new interests
  • Learns to follow the rules
  • Learns fair play
  • Learns to wait his or her turn
  • Is taught respect for the rights of others

Scouts like games in which there is a sizable element of luck. They do not require prizes, nor do they seem to worry if the game is not finished. They like games which restart almost automatically, so that everyone is given a new chance. Scouts like games whereby they gain the reassurance that comes with repetition.

Remember, the success of a game period depends greatly upon leadership. A leader can challenge and persuade the shy Scout and channel the energy of the "showoff", making meetings fun for all.

Choosing A Game:

  • Know and understand the game.
  • Be prepared to teach the game.
  • Take into consideration: Physical arrangements
    Equipment needs
    Number involved
    Abilities of the participants

* KISMIF - Keep it simple make it fun. Give it full attention; practice to make it work; then evaluate to make sure it is right.

Suggestions For Conducting Games:

  • Know the game well and the area needed before teaching it. Have all the necessary equipment on hand.
  • Remove all possible hazards from the game area.
  • Have the full attention of the group before trying to explain the rules of the game.
  • To introduce the game, name it, demonstrate it, ask for questions, then start it.
  • Always insist on fair play.
  • If a game is going badly, stop it, explain it again, then try the game once more.
  • Play, but don't overplay a game. A successful game will be more in demand if it is stopped while it is still being enjoyed.
  • Be alert to overexertion.

Pack Games

The games picked for a pack meeting should be fun to play and fun to watch. They should promote good sportsmanship, and hopefully tie into the monthly theme.

A multi-station relay can easily accomplish all of these. For instance, if the theme were space, the stations could be... spin around Saturn... drink Tang from a big dipper... eat a cracker and whistle, "When You Wish Upon A Star"... shoot the moon, etc. In between stations, the participants could walk as if weightless. This type of relay can easily be adapted to any theme. Ride a broom horse between cowboy and Indian stations, or walk like Frankenstein between Halloween stations.

Games that are fun to play and fun for the pack to watch can be designed with just a little bit of innovation. Everyone should be able to participate. Don't just pick one or two boys from each den. Be sure to get parents involved. The Cubs will love watching their parents playing a game.

One of the most important aspects of keeping a pack healthy is to make the new families feel welcome. This is true in all packs, but it is especially true in large active packs. Often it is intimidating for new people to come into a group where everyone knows each other. There are many ways to make new families feel welcome and playing an icebreaker game is an especially good way. Icebreaker games are fun and a good way to get people to meet each other. Icebreakers can be found in "Group Meeting Sparklers" and the " How To Book" available at the Scout Shop; however, designing an icebreaker for a theme is easy. For example, if the theme were patriotic, choose four patriotic songs. Have a slip of paper with the name of one of the written on it for each person attending the pack meeting. Hand these slips of paper to each person as they walk in the door and have them find the others that have their matching song. As an opening, each group could sing their song. One person from each group could also introduce a person they didn't know before.

Den Games

Den games are designed with a small group of boys in mind. Quiet games are helpful when weather prohibits outdoor activities. Den games can be relays or can be played by individual boys.

An active den game is a helpful start at den meeting to "get the kinks out". This is especially true for Den meetings that are held immediately after school. The boys have been cooped up for several hours and starting with an active den game can provide an outlet for letting off steam and may make the group easier to handle for the quieter activities later in the meeting.

Choosing up sides among the boys is not always easy. If there is a problem boy who is not well liked by all members, drawing straws, going in alphabetical order, or selecting two captains to chose alternately may be fair ways to select teams. can be used to teach fair play, promote good sportsmanship and build character..., but most of all, they should be fun.

Types Of Games

There are many types of games. Games can be quiet or they can be active. They can depend on chance or they can take skill, speed or strength. There are games for one or two persons, and games for groups of any size. Some games provide for relaxation and amusement and some stimulation through physical or mental exercise.

Play is unrestricted but games have rules. In each game there is a contest.

Game Books

From: Danny Schwendener

The "BSA Cub Scout Leader How-To Book". It is built to help the cub Scout pack and den leaders running programs that kids enjoy A section of 50 pages is dedicated to games ISBN 0-8395-3831-6.

GSUSA publishes a book called "Games for Girl Scouts" which has helped me out in a pinch. The book is divided into sections such as "Travel Games", "Quiet Indoor Games", "Relays", etc. I believe it only costs 11 US dollars, and is available through the office of most Girl Scout councils. If anyone outside of the US is interested in getting copies of it, I'd be willing to act as a 3rd party. I don't know how easy it would be for someone in another country to get a GS council office to ship them a book! I wish I could give you more information on the book and some examples of games, but one of the girls in my troop borrowed it (that should tell you something--they love it!).

This book can be ordered directly from the National Equipment Service. The Address is:

Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
National Equipment Service
830 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Phone: 212-940-7655 (customer service only -- no orders)

The item number is: 20-902 Games for Girl Scouts. $6.00

Overseas delivery should include estimated shipping charges with payment. Remittance in US funds only, checks drawn on US banks only. Master Card or Visa. Prepayment required. No CODs.

Tips and Miscellaneous Items

From the Scouts-L Games FAQ

Sin Bin

It is often a problem in games where the people who are out lose interest in the game and start to mess about. The Sin Bin gets over this problem very nicely. Somewhere in the hall you put six chairs in a line, this is the Sin Bin. As each person is out they go and sit in the first vacant chair in the line. When the line of chairs is filled up, the next person out changes places with the first person who was out who then goes back into the game. This can be continued for as long as the games last and keeps the boys interested in the games.

How To Get Equal Size/ Weight Teams

In many games where there are two teams, it is a good idea if opponents are similar sizes. An easy way of achieving this is given below:

  1. Get all the lads to line up at one side of the hall, tallest at the left shortest to the right.
  2. Tell the lads to count off in twos down the line.
  3. Get all the number two's to take two steps forward.
  4. You now have two teams, get each team to count off left to right 1 to N.
  5. Tell team 2 to walk in a line anti-clockwise around the hall until they are lined up along the opposite wall of the hall.
You will now have two teams of boys where each number on one team has an opponent on the other team of a similar size. Another advantage of this system is that if lads have to race to the center, they will have an equal distance to run.

Leaders Are Fragile

Please try not to get involved with actually playing the games. Although we as leaders are probably a lot bigger than the lads, we are also more fragile. By this I don't mean that we are all a load of old codgers, but we don't heal as quickly and our bones are more brittle. TAKE CARE!!!!!

Giving Out Instructions

You will find that prior to starting a game, it will help if you get the lads to sit down when giving the instructions on how the game is to be played. This ensures that they are not walking about or looking somewhere else, so they are more likely to be listening to what you are saying.

Emergency Games Box

Over the years this has proved to be a real blessing. My box is a small plastic toolbox. In this box I have an assortment of bits and pieces with which I can make up games and other activities at very short notice. Listed below is a list of items that you could put together to make a similar emergency games box.

A large bag of elastic bands (rubber bands).
Boxes of chalk, white and colored.
4 candles or night lights, 1 per patrol.
Boxes of safety matches.
A miniature cricket bat, wicket and small soft ball for indoor cricket.
Ball point pens.
Markers or felt tip pens.
Short lengths of soft white rope with the ends whipped for knotting games.
Round balloons.
Pipe cleaners.
A reel of cotton for making trip lines for minefields.
Roll of sticky tape.
Blu-Tak or similar for sticking things to walls.
A couple of large dice.
Blank cards or small sheets of paper for writing instructions.
Box of thumb tacks or drawing pins.
A small torch (flashlight) with spare bulb and rechargeable batteries.
4 small pairs of scissors.
A pack of playing cards.
A packet of Alka-Seltzer tablets or similar.
Various whistles and noise makers.
Paper clips
Safety pins
4 triangular bandages

Some of Mike Stolz's items include:

4 orange plastic 'Track cones' (highway departments also use these)
An assortment of balls (soccer, basket, Nerf football, etc)
Assorted balloons
Cloth strips in 3 colors -- 25 strips (each) are 3 inches wide and 18 inches long (great for arm bands or blindfolds). 5 strips are 6 inches wide, with an overhand knot in the middle (great for 'Bacon', or 'Capture' flags)

Motion Detectors

It is often useful to know when an object has been moved beyond a certain amount or with what severity it has been moved. There are many ways of doing this some of these are listed below:

1. An oblong tobacco tin with a layer of paper punch chads sprinkled in the bottom. A thin layer of something sticky such as syrup is smeared on the underside of the lid and the lid placed on the tin. If the tin is tipped over or subjected to violent movements, some of the bits of papers will stick to the lid. Penalty points may then be deducted for the number of chads that are stuck to the lid of the tin.

2. A mercury tilt switch can be connected in series with a small electro-magnetic relay and a battery. There should be a set of hold on contacts on the relay. These should be connected across the mercury switch, so that when there is even a brief connection of the mercury switch, the relay will hold itself on through it's hold on contacts. When the relay actuates it could also be wired to sound a buzzer or switch a light on. As an alternative to a mercury switch you could have a simple hanging metal rod or pendulum within a metal ring. Any severe movement would cause the pendulum to touch the metal ring and complete the circuit. There are available on the surplus market re-settable electro-magnetic counters, you could use one of these in place of your relay and it would count the number of times that the device had been moved.

3. A number of small ball bearings on a dish inside a box. Any slight movement will cause the balls to move. Severe movements will cause the balls to roll off the dish. Penalty points are taken off for every ball off the dish.

4. When laying out obstacle courses or minefields, it is nice to have trip lines that will operate switches to set off lamps, buzzers etc. A simple but effective switch for this can be made from a spring loaded wooden clothes peg. A metal drawing pin or thumb tack is pushed into the inside of each jaw and a wire is connected to each one. The heads of the drawing pins are the switch contacts. A piece of card connected to your trip line is pushed between the contacts to open the switch. When a player snags your trip line, the card is pulled from the jaws of the clothes peg and the circuit is made. How you fix the clothes pegs is left for you to decide.

Pressure Pad

What devious people we leaders are, but isn't it fun. How about pressure pad switches to put on the floor which will switch on a circuit when stepped on. You can make these very easily and can throw them away when the game is finished. All you need is two sheets of aluminum foil about the size of a standard sheet of paper for each switch and some paper or plastic drinking straws. The aluminum foil should be as flat as possible. Connect a wire to each sheet using a small crocodile clip or paper clip. Lay one sheet on the ground where it is likely to be stepped on. On top of this lay some drinking straws, these are to keep the two sheets apart. Lay the second sheet on top of the straws. Wires can be taped to the floor or covered with carpet. [Connect the wires to a battery and small light bulb. when the sheets of aluminum foil touch each other, the bulb should light up.]


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