Pack meetings are a cornerstone of the Cub Scout experience, fostering unity and inclusion among the various dens. These gatherings, as highlighted by the Scouts BSA, serve a multifaceted purpose: they celebrate Cub Scouts' accomplishments, disseminate crucial information about upcoming events, and offer enriching programs that elevate the Cub Scouting adventure. Understanding the significance of these meetings, and the challenge of engaging a broad age range, this article presents 30 versatile games guaranteed to captivate Cub Scouts of all ages.
Cub Scouts, ranging from seven to ten years old, progress through six distinct ranks, starting with the foundational Bobcat badge, which every Scout earns upon mastering the basics of Scouting. From there, Scouts advance to age-specific ranks: Tigers (seven-year-olds or first graders), who thrive on a mix of competitive yet gentle games; Wolves (eight-year-olds or second graders), who enjoy more physical activities like dodgeball or tag, along with games that spark their creativity; Bears (nine-year-olds or third graders), ready for strategic games such as Capture the Flag; and Webelos (ten-year-olds), the elder statesmen of Cub Scouts, who are prepared for any game, provided there's adult supervision. The pinnacle of Cub Scouting, the Arrow of Light, bridges the gap to Boy Scouts, emphasizing the application of Scouting principles, scout law and scout oath, in all areas of life.
For Cub Scout leaders, or Den Leader/Den Chief, planning pack meetings, the key is selecting games that unite rather than divide, ensuring every Scout, regardless of rank, feels engaged and included. This guide offers a starting point for leaders to tailor activities that resonate with their unique pack, fostering a sense of camaraderie and adventure at every gathering.
Easy Games for Effortless Entertainment
Sometimes, the best entertainment is the simplest. In this section, you will find games that are effortless to set up and offer establishment of safe scouting during all of their scouting activity. These games will use cheap materials and won't take long to set up.
- Candy Tape Ball
Most activities won't go wrong as long as they involve candy. Candy is an easy way to get all of the Scouts involved and excited about the fun activity. One of the best games with candy is the Candy Tape Ball. All you will need is a lot of masking tape and a variety of candy. First, you will need to create the ball. Take a handful of candy and wrap it up in the tape. Then, add more candy on top and add another layer of tape. As you make the ball bigger, continue to add more candy. By the time you run out of tape, you should have a large ball full of candy. Once the ball is ready, you can start the game.
To play the game, sit everyone in a circle and start the candy ball with one person. Then, give the person a random amount of time (no longer than ten seconds) with the candy ball and instruct them to unwrap the tape. The boy gets to keep any candy that falls out while the boy is unwrapping the tape. After the random amount of time has passed, the scout has to immediately pass it onto the boy sitting next to him. That person will also get a random amount of time to unwrap the tape. The ball continues to be passed around the circle until the ball is entirely unwrapped.
- Giant Marbles
Whether you're holding your meeting inside or outside, you can play giant marbles. Giant marbles is a variation of the classic game Marbles. To play marbles, each person has a set of marbles and try to get the most number of marbles inside the bounds, while also knocking other marbles out of bounds. This game can be adapted on a larger scale to make it easier to play for younger kids or to encourage more interest and engagement. To play giant marbles, all you will need is a rope that will show the lines of the boundaries and balls. The balls used for the game can be anything on hand; you can use bouncy balls, basketballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, and volleyballs, or a combination of everything you have on hand. Once you have everything set up, hand a ball to each team and give them a chance to throw the ball into the boundaries, knocking other balls out of the position with each throw.
- Splatter Paint
Boys of all ages enjoy expressing themselves through art. Whether it's coloring, painting, or drawing, art is fun and helps young children learn more about their talents and abilities. Art can be used as a visual lesson or as a well to encourage boys to interact with one another. One of the best activities to inspire artists in your group is to have a splatter paint party. Splatter painting takes little preparation and can be done inside or outside. If you are planning the activity inside, you will need tarps or newspaper to cover the area around each work of art. To do splatter painting, each boy will need a space to work and a piece of paper, as well as access to a variety of paint colors. When you have everything set up, let the boys use their imagination. They can splatter the paint on their canvases using paint brushes or their hands. They can also paint on the canvas and then splatter on top. The purpose of this activity is to encourage the boys to be creative.
- Bean Catapult
Bean Catapult is a simple game that requires a small amount of preparation. To play, you will need to create the catapult itself. This activity can be included as part of the Cub Scout meeting or done outside of the meeting. To create the catapult, you will only need two large popsicle sticks and eight small popsicle sticks for each boy (to help reduce cost you can split the boys into teams and make the activity for of a team building opportunity versus a competition). First, cut a small grove at one end of both large popsicle sticks in the same place. Then, tie together the eight small popsicle sticks in one large bundle, one on top of the other. Take one of the larger popsicle sticks and place it in between the second to last of the smaller popsicle sticks. Some of the younger boys may need help separating the sticks since the bundle should be tight. Slide the bundle to the opposite side of the grove in the large popsicle stick. Then, place the second stick on top and tie the two large popsicle sticks together at the groove using a rubber band (wrapping it three times if the rubber bands are smaller). Once the two sticks are tied together, slide the bundle between them. This should create tension between the two sticks. If you apply pressure to the other end and let go, the stick should snap upward, creating a catapult. For more instructions on how to create a catapult using popsicle sticks, watch this YouTube video.
The boys can put beans on the catapults and have competitions on how far they can launch the beans. You can also glue a bottle cap to the top of the catapult to create a basket for launching items.
- Painting Rocks
You can never go wrong during a Cub Scout Meeting by bringing an art activity. Young boys have vivid and fun imaginations. If you can capture their imaginations in a wholesome way, it can help the boys mold their imaginations for better purposes as they grow up and enter Boy Scouts. One fun way to help the boys embrace their imaginations is by painting pet rocks. A pet rock is just a rock that the boys can paint anything they want on. Some might choose to paint a frog, a dinosaur, or a rainbow. Simply bring a bucket of smooth rocks and some paint. Then let the boys choose their rocks and encourage them to paint as many rocks as they want.
Who doesn't like to tie-dye? Tie-dying shirts is a fun way to encourage all of the boys in the pack to participate in an activity. For this activity, tell each boy to bring a white shirt (or you can buy a bulk pack of white shirts for the scouts from your local store). You will also need a tie-dye pack and some rubber bands. Gather the boys together and show them the different patterns they can do with the tie-dye shirts, and show an example of creating one. After the tutorial, help those who need help creating the shirts and let them have fun making their own shirts.
Games for Exercise After the Cub Scout Pack Meeting
Pack meetings are important to recognize the boys' achievements and encourage them to continue working hard in their Cub Scout, or Boy Scout, experience. However, after the meeting, the boys are likely to be anxious and ready to run and have fun. Here is a list of ten things that will encourage the boys to get out their energy while learning valuable skills:
After a good meeting, it's fun to have a game or two that will let the boys get their energy out. One of the best games for young boys (or people of any age and gender) to have fun and exercise is by playing nine-square. 9 square is a game played on a court that has nine squares suspended above the ground. Each person playing stands below one of the squares. The middle square of the three-by-three grid is the King square. When a person either hits the ball out of the square or the ball hits the ground inside a person's square, that person is out, and all the people below the person will move up while that person will move to the last square. The game is similar to four-square but has a twist that ensures that all players stay on their toes, literally. Because the court is above their heads, it makes the players think more about their actions and encourages more jumping, increasing the physical exercise for avid players. It's the perfect game for Cub Scouts because the Scouts are challenged with a new, yet familiar, game.
- Red Rover
The game Red Rover has been popular on school grounds for years. It's most popular among younger children, making it the perfect game for Cub Scouts. Red Rover can be played with any number of people and is best in large groups. To play Red Rover with your Cub Scout pack, separate the group into two teams. Both teams will line up and hold hands or link elbows. The starting line will chant, "Red Rover, Red Rover, let [name of a person on the other team] come over." The person called will leave their place in line and try to break through the other team's linked arms. If the person breaks through the arms, he or she brings back one of the players who broke the chain back to the running team. If the runner wasn't able to break the chain, the runner joins the team who called out his name. The game continues until all players stand on one side. Red Rover is a great game for Cub Scouts because it encourages them to exercise while still having fun.
- Balloon Tag
Balloon Tag is another fun game that encourages the Cub Scouts to run and exercise. To set up the game, prepare two to four balloons per person who will be participating in the game. Tie a balloon to each foot of each boy (two balloons to each foot if you're playing with fewer people). Then, instruct the boys that the last person with a balloon wins the game. Once the game starts, the boys will chase each other, trying to stomp on each other's balloons. This game is perfect for groups of all sizes because it encourages everyone to run and participate. The Cub Scouts leaders should also prepare a treat for after the game.
- Tiny Bow and Arrow
This activity includes both a craft and a game. For this activity, your Cub Scouts will be making a harmless tiny bow with tiny arrows. You will need craft sticks (one per bow), dental floss, cotton swabs, a crafting knife, scissors, and a cutting board to make the bow. Because you will be using a knife for this craft, make sure that there is enough supervision to keep all boys accountable. Take the crafting stick and cut two tiny notches on either side of the stick on both ends. The stick will need to soak in water for about an hour to make the wood flexible (this step can be done before handing the sticks out to the boys). Then, give each boy about 12 inches of dental floss. At one end, tie a slip knot and place the slip knot into the grooves on one side of the wet stick. Wrap the floss two or three more times around the notches until it feels secure and then tie a square knot. Slowly and gently bend the stick into a bow shape and then repeat the knots on the other side of the stick to create a tight bowstring with the floss.
Next, you will need about five cotton swabs per person. Cut off one side of the cotton swab so it only has the cotton on one end. Once the cotton swabs are cut, your arrows are finished! The boys can then take the cotton swabs and launch them using the bows. This creates a fun and harmless way for the boys to practice their target practice. Once the bows are finished, create a game by setting up a target. Cover the target with a sticky substance that the cotton swabs are likely to stick. You can also dip the tips of the cotton swabs in paint before launching them to leave a red mark on the paper target. Make sure to tell the boys not to shoot the cotton swabs at any of the other boys' faces.
For more detailed instructions on how to make these harmless bows and arrows, click here for instruction/activity videos.
- Popcorn Foot Race
A popcorn race is a great way to mix the youth from different troops who attended the gathering activity. Teams participating in the popcorn foot race should be a combination of older scouts and younger scouts, proportioned evenly so that no team has an advantage over another team. A popcorn foot race is a fun game that encourages participation and teamwork. To create the game, use paper cups and poke a small hole in the cup's bottom using a pen. Then string a rubber band through a paper clip and put the paper clip inside the cup. This could make it so when the rubber band is pulled, the paper slip stays inside the cup. Each team (separate groups into groups of four or five) will need one cup per person and line up on one side of the field. On the other side, there will be a large bowl of popcorn. The players will run down to the popcorn with the cup on top of their shoe. They fill the cup with popcorn without using their hands and then run back to their team. Once back, they will attempt to empty the cup into their team's bowl without using their hands. Once the person has finished emptying the cup, the next person runs out. The team continues to rotate until the first team fills their bowl with popcorn.
This fun game is perfect for a den meeting or a pack meeting. It helps the boys to mingle and learn from one another. Rather than keeping one troop separate from another, it pulls the boys together and encourages them to learn from one another.
At the end of the day, boys will have fun as long as they play with their friends. It's important to expose the scouts to new experiences and new games that will help build skills and help them to improve their teamwork. Scout leaders can foster the right environment by simply making all of the activities available to the boys at the same time. Have 9 Square, Gaga Ball, the basketballs, soccer balls, and volleyballs out after the meeting and let the boys have fun playing games of their choice.