Observing a Tree

Find an outdoor area with trees and very little underbrush.  Have blindfolds for the boys.

 Blindfold one player at a time, spin him around and take a circuitous route walking him to a tree and placing him in front of it.  He should feel the texture and irregularities of its bark, rub his cheek against it, smell it and walk slowly around it, feeling with an outstretched hand for trees or plants growing close by.  He may be guided toward any special features of the tree that he is missing.

Be sure he raps his arms as far around the trunk as he can, to get an idea of its size.  When he's finished exploring, lead him away by a roundabout path and remove the blindfold.  Now he has to try to find his tree from the observations he did with the blindfold on.


Code of Nature

When hiking, give each Cub Scout a small bag for collecting treasures such as acorns, pinecones and leaves from the ground.  Identify the items collected and assign a special meaning to each, such as "hop" or "clap your hands."  Play the game like "Simon Says" by holding up items.  While an acorn, pinecone and maple seed might mean lunch to a squirrel, to a group of Cubs with a special code of nature, they might mean "jump, turn around, sit down."


Twig Horseshoes

Use two straight twigs for pegs and four forked twigs for horseshoes.  Tap the pegs into the ground about four feet apart.  Paint two of the horseshoes red and two of them yellow.  A ringer counts for 3 points; a leaner counts for 2 points.  If there are no ringers or leaners, the horseshoe closest to the peg counts for 1 point.  The winning score is 21 points.

Petrified Wood

Cubs are scattered on the playing surface.  Two are chosen to be the "Chasers."  One is chosen to be the "Good Woodsman."  When a Cub or sibling is touched by either of the Chasers, they become petrified.  When the Good Woodsman touches the petrified player, this player is free to run again.  Play for a few minutes at a time, then change the players so everyone gets to be a Chaser or the Good Woodsman.


Leaf Identification Relay

Set up two tables with about 8 different tree leaves.  Write the names of the trees on two sets of paper and place them in a group next to the leaves.  Divide the group into two teams.  On signal, the first player of each team rushes to his leaf display, selects a slip of paper, and places it on the correct leaf.  Play continues in relay style.  When all the leaves have been identified, the leader checks them.  The leader may award a point for every correct identification or request play to continue until all leaves are correctly identified.  Omit the relay style and use team effort to identify the leaves if this is their first experience with leaf identification.  Then move into the relay game.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

"The den leader has been stricken with a strange disease!"  The boys have to gather all these ingredients to make a potion needed for the cure.  Speed is important - the symptoms are bad!

examples: leaf, round stone, white stone, pine cone, etc.



One person is the "stalked, and stands at the top of a wooded or rock-formation-ridden hill/slope, with his back to the other players who start at bottom of the slope.  While the stalked player counts to 10 out loud, the other players rush up the slope towards the stalked player.  When the stalked player is done counting he turns around and look for players.  The players must try and hide before the stalked can detect them.  Any player the stalked can visibly see must return to the bottom of the slope.  When the stalked can no longer see anyone, he turns around and begins counting again.  This cycle is repeated until one of the players reaches the stalked player and takes his place.  This should be done so that it would take a player several cycles to reach the top.  It is a lot of fun in large groups.


Learning Directions

At first you divide part of a room or open area or whatever into different sections.  These become N, W, S, E, NW, NE, SW, SE, and so on depending on the number of kids.  Put one participant in each section and have everyone sit down while you stand in the middle.  When you call East, the kid in the east has to stand up and so on.  Have them all change positions and continue.


Compass Rose Game

There will be two teams.  Each team should have a stack of 16 cards with the directions of the compass on them: N, S, E, W, NW, SE, ESE etc.  Mix the cards and turn them so the labels are not showing.  Use rope or chalk to make the outline of a compass rose for each team and place the N card at a different spot on each circle (to keep them from easily copying).  To play, one player from each team runs up and pick up a card and places it on the rose where they feel it goes.  Each participant takes a turn until all the cards are used.  When they are done the whole team checks the positions of the "compass rose" they just built.  As a group, they can change any position until they are

satisfied with the results.  The winning team is the first to get it correct.  This is a great game to teach the younger Cubs the compass points.


Colored Circles

Materials: 5 color markers: red, blue, green, yellow and brown

Split the group or pack into equal teams and get them to number themselves off in their teams.  Then draw a number of circles on the floor, several of each color.  The leader now calls out an object and a number e.g. "GRASS 2", and the number two person in each team now has to run and stand in a circle that matches the color of the object.  The first person standing in the correct colored circle wins a point for his team.  Some suggestions:

RED = blood, cherries, ruby; BLUE = violet, sapphire, electricity; GREEN = grass, emerald, cucumber; YELLOW = lemon, primrose, sulfur; BROWN = earth, potato, leather

Please remember that some boys may have trouble with colors and so you may have to point out which circles are which.  To give this a hiking theme, try to call out only items that can be seen or found on a hike.


Compass Game

Have everyone stand spread out around the room (arms length) and tell them to orient (face) themselves to "north".  North could be real north or a convenient wall or corner in the room.  Everyone except for the caller and the referees closes their eyes (blindfolds can be used if you want).  The leader calls out a direction, like "east" and then everyone must turn (eyes still closed) and face east.  Other leaders/adults act as referees and go around tapping the shoulder of anyone not facing the right direction.  These players go to the sidelines to watch the rest of the game quietly.  The game continues until one player is left. If the game gets too long, add bearings with the direction.  This is a good game as it only discriminates by your sense of direction, which improves as you play.

Variation: Have everyone line up in a grid and blindfold them as above.  Then give them directions, one after the other: Go west, two steps.  Go north, one step etc.  As the Cubs are not compass-machines, they eventually bump into each other, and that, to a Cub Scout, is so much fun.


Stay Out Of The Puddle

Establish two lines about 20' to 30' apart.  Divide the group into two teams, then divide each team in half.  One half of each team stands behind each line on the playing field.  The object of the game is to move each half of each team to the opposite side of the "puddle" (playing field).  This is done using 2 large juice cans or 3lb coffee cans.

 To begin, the first players from each team stand on a can behind one of the lines while holding another can in one hand.  When the leader says "Go,"  each player places the second on the ground in front of the line and steps on it.  While balancing on this can, the players pick up the

first one and put it in front to serve as the next step.  If a player loses his or her balance and touches the ground, that play must start again from the beginning.

When players reach their team members on the other side, they place a can in back of the line for the next player to stand on to get his or her balance.  The first player hops off in back of the line and hands the next player the free can.  The next player crosses back across the "puddle."  The game continues until one team has successfully switched all players from one side to the other.


Nature Alphabet Game

Divide den into two teams.  Give each team a pencil and paper and ask them to list growing things for each letter.  (Example:  Ant, Butterfly, Crocus, etc.).  Set a time limit.  The team with the longest list wins.



Dive the boys into two parallel lines about ten feet apart.  The leader stands at the head to call the names of vegetables.  When corn is called, the Cub Scouts are to grasp their ears, on carrots they point to their eyes, for onions they hold their nose.  When cabbage is called they place both hands on their head, and for potatoes, they point to their eyes.  The leader referees to see which line responds first with the desired action.  The first line to have all its members perform the correct action scores a point.  The winner is the line that scores ten points first.


Apple Race

Contestants are required balance an apple on top of the head and walk to a goal line.  If the apple falls off, the contestant must go back to the starting point and begin again.  This race could be done with almost anything on top of the head, apples, oranges, books, etc.

Outdoor Nature Hunt

Make up a list such as the one below for each boy. Boys can hunt in pairs in your backyard or in the park. See which pair can find the most within a limited amount of time.

  1. Something alive that flies
  2. A cup of wet sand
  3. A worm
  4. A cup of pink water
  5. Five maple leaves
  6. Three rocks at least two inches in diameter
  7. A piece of string
  8. A dandelion


That's My Leaf

Each boy takes a leaf from the same kind of tree and looks at it carefully for one minute. Then put all the leaves in a pile and stir them up together. Can you find your one-of-a-kind leaf? What makes it special -- different from all the other leaves? Press the leaf carefully. Send pressed leaves to one of a kind friends, and tell them how they are like the leaves.

One Leaf Trail

A trail is laid using one kind of leaf as a marker, letting the stem point in the direction to be followed. At the end of the trail, the players hunt for the tree whose leaves were used.

Compass Points

From "Scouting Games", Sir Robert Baden-Powell

With a piece of chalk, draw eight lines, intersecting in "star" fashion, all radiating from the center, to indicate the points of the compass. One line should point due north. One Scout now takes up his position at the outer end of each line and represents one of the eight principal points of the compass. The leader now calls out any two points, such as SE and N. and the two Scouts at those points must immediately change places. Anyone moving out of place without his point being named, or moving to a wrong place, should lose a point. When changing places, Scouts must not cross the lines, but must go outside the circle of players. When a Scout loses three points, he is out of the game.

Stay At The Head Of The Line

This is a good hiking game. The first person in line asks the next person to identify the object at which he is pointing. If he answers correctly, he goes to the head of the line. If he misses, he goes to the end. This continues until all boys have had a turn.