Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy Cub Scout Mother's Day Craft Giraffe Recipe Holders

When my 23-year-old, married son was in cub scouts, he made a giraffe recipe card holder as a gift for Mother's Day.  I did it with my cub scouts this year.  It was a great activity and was done in one day, with some prep work ahead of time.  After my 8-year-old was finished, my older son rebelled: "You can't get rid of mine!"  I now have two giraffes in my kitchen!


  • Old lids to aerosol cans or liquid laundry soap cups
  • Wooden dowels -- one for each boy
  • Wooden clothes pin -- one for each boy
  • Wood glue
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Yellow and brown acrylic paint
  • Paint sealer
  • Little googly eyes


  • Cut each dowel to 12 inches long.  
  • Cut the dowels on a 45 degree angle.
  • Using wood glue, glue each clothes pin onto the dowel
  • Let dry for 24 hours or more


When the boys arrive, mix the plaster of Paris.  Scoop it into each lid and have the boys hold the dowels in the upright position until the dowel dries enough to stand on its own.

Take a break and play games or work on other achievements.

After about 20-30 minutes from the time when the last one was finished, bring the boys back to the table.  Dob some yellow and brown paint on a plate and let them design their own giraffe.  After they are done painting, have them glue on the little googly eyes.

When they are done, you may want to take them into your house and let them finish drying.  After they are dried, spray them with paint sealer.  Have the boys come back and pick them up before Mother's Day.  It would be fun to have a recipe card in the giraffe's mouth when the boys take it home:

  • A personalized note from the boy to the mother
  • A favorite recipe
  • One of the fun recipes below: 

Recipe for Preserved Children

1 large field
Half dozen children
2-3 small dogs
Pinch of a brook
Add some pebbles

Mix the children and dogs together well.  Put them in the field, stirring constantly.  Pour the brook over the pebbles; sprinkle the field with flowers.  Spread over all a deep blue sky and bake in the sun.  When brown, set aside to cool in the bathtub.

Recipe for Happiness

2 heaping cups of patience
1 heartful of love
2 handfuls of generosity
Dash of laughter
1 heapful of understanding

Sprinkle generously with kindness.  Add plenty of faith and mix well.  Spread over a period of a lifetime.  Serve everyone you meet.  You don't need a bowl, spoon, or mixer, but it really works great!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bike Rodeo

One of the best activities we've had all summer was our bike rodeo today.

I found a bike rodeo for cub scouts on the on the internet.  Click here for a link to print a PDF of the rodeo.

Equipment Needed:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Tape Measure
  • String or yarn 60 feet long
  • Large empty parking lot
  • Cones or 2-liter pop bottles (optional but helpful)


Before the boys come, go to the parking lot and draw the rodeo tracks on the parking lot with the chalk.  It is helpful to have one or two other people help set it up.

Bike Rodeo:

After opening ceremonies, we discussed bike safety rules.  To make this a little more engaging, we played the repeat game.  The first boy identified a rule.  The second boy said the first rule and then identified a rule.  The third boy repeated the first two rules in order and then came up with his own rule.  If you have a boy with learning disabilities, be sure to start with him so that he won't have to remember all the rules but can still play the game.

Next I had all the boys stand next to their bikes and we identified things they should check often on their bikes to make sure they were in good working condition.

                brakes  *  tire pressure  *  spokes  *  reflective lights  *  seat  *  chain  *  light  *  pedals

The rodeo itself was a lot of fun.  We only had eight boys, so we did each station at the same time.  The boys waited in single file until it was their turn.  We had enough time to go through each station twice.  We didn't do every station on the list, but we did enough to pass of the requirements for Bear Achievement 14c.  These are the stations we did:

#1  Mount and Dismount.  We drew two straight lines 60 feet long about 3 feet apart.  This was a great warm up to get the boys used to staying in the lines.

#5  Stopping.  We used the same track for the stopping ability.  Just draw a line 10 feet from the end where the boys are to start their emergency stop.

#2  Figure eight.  This was tricky for the boys and most of them didn't stay within the figure 8, but they could at least follow a winding path.

#3 Diminishing Course.  Instead of a diminishing track, we ended up with just a narrow track.

#4 Weaving.  We started with 2-liter pop bottles as cones.  But the bottles were empty and the wind kept knocking them over.  So we drew an X on the ground instead of the bottles and the boys tried to weave in between the X's.

#8  Turns.  We didn't do the tight turns as shown on the diagram, but the boys all did sharp right and left turns to pass of the achievement.

The skills of the boys were varied.  Some were much better than others.  We emphasized that the effort was important and put little emphasis on the actual feat itself.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Using Feats of Skill in Games

Completing the requirements for Achievement One is fun!  Because it is so hard for boys to sit still and have a lecture, I love to use the feats of skill in other teaching situations.

Whenever there are lists to make or discussion points to cover, you can use the feats of skills.  Here are two easy suggestions:

1.  Taking turns, have each boy go from point A to point B and back again doing one of the requirements from Achievement 1.  When he gets back, he identifies a meaning to the Pledge or a safety rule, or how to protect our environment, etc.

Example:  have the boy elephant walk to the corner of the room and back to the table then identify whatever it is you're talking about.

2.  Number different feats of skills one through six.  Have each boy roll a dice.  The number it lands on determines the feat they perform.  I have even created three different sheets that can be rotated with the dice game.  Feel free to use them if you would like (Numbered Feats of Skills for Dice Game).

Health Habits Chart

Here is a chart I created called Health Habits Chart to help make tracking the health habits more fun.  My son put his on the fridge.  He used washable markers to fill in the boxes.  The colors were not color coded, but whatever he felt like at the time.  By the time he was finished, most of it was simple orange.

At round table, it was suggested that you could laminate the charts and turn them into place mats. Then while the boys are eating, they can color in the appropriate square.

Bike and Street Safety Bingo

Playing Bingo is a fun way to to discuss both street safety and bike safety.

Don't be put off by the thought of creating a Safety Bingo game.  The best trick to this game is to have the boys create it themselves.


Create a 4 x 4 grid on a sheet of paper with blank squares, one for each boy

How to Play

1.  Ask a boy to identify one rule for street or bike safety.
2.  Have each boy either draw a picture of the rule just identified or write the words.
3.  The den leader writes or draws a picture of the same rule on a card or small square of paper.
4.  Repeat steps 1-3 with a different boy identifying a rule until all 16 rules squares are full.
5.  The den leader mixes up the  cards and calls out a rule.
6.  Each boy places a marker on the rule that was called out until Bingo or Blackout is achieved.

To make it more fun, whenever a boy got a bingo, I gave him a small piece of candy (like one MnM).  When I did this, we only identified 16 rules, so all boys reached Blackout at the same time.  Then they all got another piece of candy.

Food Pyramid Go Fish Game

Recently the government has changed the food pyramid to "My Plate."  At some point in time, the Cub Scouts may change their book to My Plate instead of the food pyramid.  Either way, a fun way to teach the different healthy food groups is to play "Go Fish."  This game is all done and ready to print.  It was put together by the USDA for classrooms.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Treasure Hunt

6 boys + 1 yard + 1 hot muggy afternoon = 6 completely different treasure maps and an over an hour of great entertainment!

One of the Treasure Maps
Before scouts began, I took brown lunch sacks and cut the bottom out.  Then I burned the edges and wrinkled the paper to give it an aged look.

Each boy scouted out the front and back yard.  With crayons or markers he drew his own treasure map, complete with treasure at the end.  Six small containers safely nestled 8 whoppers each.  (The whoppers came out of one box of candy from the dollar store!) When the maps were draw, each boy came and got a container and placed it at the end of his treasure hunt.

We started with the first boy who was finished, then the second boy, etc.  The next boy in line was the boy who held the map for the current hunt.  The creator was supposed to hang back and let the others figure out his map.  That was just too hard for the excited boy to accomplish, which was a good thing, because most maps were indecipherable without help!

Throughout the activity we even talked about a great classic "Treasure Island" and a name that all should be familiar with:  Long John Silver.

After it was over, some of the boys wanted to take home extra blank maps and create a treasure hunt for their family.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Hot Dog Roast

This summer I have been working with both Wolf and Bear dens.  Most of the time we have met separately, but not always.  With some creativity, I can plan activities that meet achievements for both dens.  Holding a hot dog roast was just one of those activities.

Before we actually started the meal, we planned what we should eat (most of which I had already purchased; I had planned on taking them to the store, but that fell through), where we should have the fire, and how we were going to do it.

We have a portable fire pit that I put on the driveway.  The boys brought the little twigs and other pieces of wood to the driveway and eagerly helped prepare the fire.  First each one had to crumple one or two newspaper pages each.  Then all the left over pine needles and small twigs from our Christmas tree were put on top followed by thicker pieces of wood.

One match.  That's all it took.

We stirred and poked and watched the flames.  After they started to die down, each boy took a turn roasting a hot dog over the dying flames.  A few minutes later, marshmallows were toasted to perfection over the coals.

My favorite comment was from one boy who didn't like his toasted marshmallow because it was squishy.

The boys all loved the opportunity to "play" with fire--what an adult thing to do!  Cooking the food was secondary.  That night I asked my son what was the best part of his day.  "Having a hot dog roast!" topped swimming and other activities.

Game with a purpose.  That's what Baden Powell promoted.

Faith in God and Cub Scouts

With a little planning, you can help your boys earn the religious knot from Scouting while they are in the Bear program.  The Faith in God requirements meet the requirements for achievements and electives. (Click here for a link Faith in God online.)

Faith in God guidelines are to do two requirements each year from each section.  This fits nicely with the Wolf and Bear requirements and allows the boy to earn Bear Achievement 2.  I've put together a tracking chart that lists each requirement and what Wolf, Bear, an Weblos achievements and electives each item fits with.  Feel free to download this chart and use it.  The chart can be passed along to each scout leader when the boy moves to another program as well as copied and given to the parents.

Faith in God Requirements

Learning the Gospel (do two as a Wolf and two as a Bear)

* Teach the First Vision in family home evening and discuss prayer
* Give opening and closing prayer in primary or family home evening
* Share story from Book of Mormon that teaches faith in Christ
* Make a pedigree chart and family group sheet; discuss temple work

Serving Others

* Write letter to parents, grandparents or teacher express thanks and respect
* Read the 12th Article of Faith and discuss your actions.

Developing Talents

* Write poem, story, or short play about Gospel principle or one of God's creations

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cub Scouts in the Woods -- Stories of People Protecting our World

Participation stories are a great way to get the boys involved and teach them to protect our environment.  

Assign each boy or a small group one of the characters (i.e. sparrow, snake, etc.).  Give each group a chance to practice their noise.  During the story, each time they hear their assigned character, they all say it.  When you read the story, emphasize the character in the story to catch the group's attention.  Pause and let them say their part and then continue with the story. (This story was found at MacScouter PowWow Books, April 1999, p. 12.)


Sparrow(s): “Chirp, chirp”
Snake: “Sssssssssss”
Squirrel: “Chatter, chatter”
Rabbit: “Hippity, hoppity”
Tree(s): Stand up and sway
Cub Scout(s): “Do your best”

A flock of SPARROWS swooped into the woods and settled on the branch of a TREE. Their chirping quickly caught the attention of the animals in the forest.  The RABBIT and the SQUIRREL came close to listen to the news.  The SNAKE pretended he didn’t care. “It’s terrible news!” said one of the SPARROWS.  “That pack of CUB SCOUTS is coming to spend the day again.”  “Oh, no!” sighed the TREES.  “Last time they came we lost branches and leaves.  Two of them built a fire so close to us the oak TREE almost caught fire.”

The RABBIT’s ears had positively frozen in place when he heard the words CUB SCOUTS.  “I had to run for my life.  They chased me until I was about to pass out.”  The SQUIRREL almost fell off the branch he was sitting on and the SNAKE forgot that he was pretending not to hear.  “CUB SCOUTS,” the SNAKE hissed.  “Why do they have to come here!  Last time, they caught me and tried to put me in a bag to take me home with them.  I barely escaped with my life.”

“They are coming tomorrow,” chirped the SPARROWS.  “Tomorrow,” sputtered the SQUIRREL.  “I’ve got to gather acorns before they come and take them all.”  The RABBIT hopped off muttering about how he could reinforce his home.  The SNAKE just lay there trying to think of hiding places.

The next day dawned clear and pretty, and the CUB SCOUTS, their parents and their leaders arrived.  The TREES rustled, the RABBIT trembled, the SNAKE hid, and the SQUIRREL jumped to the highest branch and stayed there as quiet as he could. Then they all saw an amazing thing. 

The CUB SCOUTS started picking up all the trash and putting it in big plastic bags.  Some of the boys saw the SQUIRREL.  They pointed at him and told the others what he ate.  Some of the CUB SCOUTS gathered a pile of acorns and left it under the TREE.  The SNAKE was hiding beside his favorite log.  He looked pretty much like one of the old branches, but one of the sharp-eyed CUB SCOUTS spotted him.  They came close to him quietly, looked at him and talked in a whisper.  They did not try to catch him.  The SNAKE couldn’t believe it.  Some of the CUB SCOUTS tried to break a branch off a TREE but other boys told them that it was not a good idea. 

That evening the SPARROWS returned to see how the day had gone.  They couldn’t believe how clean the forest looked with all the trash gone.  The RABBIT told them, “The CUB SCOUTS picked up all the trash.”  The TREES and animals were glad the CUB SCOUTS had come

Friday, March 11, 2011

Game for Meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance

Here's a game that I used to help teach the meaning of the Pledge.  The boys really got involved.  This can be done outside or inside.

Print the Pledge and meaning of the Pledge sheets
Cut the Pledge into strips and mount onto colored paper
Cut the meaning into strips and mount onto a different color of paper
(I liked blue and red.)

How to Play:
There are many different variations.  Be creative.  I used the three listed below.

1.  Randomly distribute the Pledge strips to the boys and have them put them on the ground in the proper order.  For the next part, the pledge needs to be in order vertically rather than horizontally.  After the pledge is in the proper order, mix up and  distribute the meaning strips.  Taking turns, each boy puts his meaning strip next to the corresponding phrase in the Pledge.

For more active boys that need to move here is another variation:

2.  Mix up and distribute the Pledge strips.  Taking turns, have each boy go from point A to point B and back again doing one of the requirements from Achievement 1.  For example, have the boy elephant walk to the corner of the room and back to the table where the strips are being arranged.  Or, he can crab walk down the sidewalk from the starting point to the ending point  where you are arranging the strips.  When he has completed his feat of skill,  he then places the Pledge strip in its proper order.  After the Pledge is done, repeat the whole process for the meaning strips.

Sometimes I even number the "feats of skill" in Achievement 1 and have the boys roll a dice.  The number it lands on determines the feat they perform.

3.  For even more excitement, repeat either variation one or two.  Time each round with the second hand on a watch to see if their time improves.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Makes Best Compost Experiment -- Stories of People Protecting our World

 Here is a story from the internet about a boy's efforts to help reduce garbage waste.

Compost and Recycling Experiment

Matt Fisher, age 13
John Adams, Junior High, Charleston, West Virginia

What He Did


America faces a “garbage crisis;” we’re running out of places to dump our trash.  We have to throw less away but how?  One way is to compost at home—put organic materials like leaves and grass in a backyard bin instead of throwing them out—and let them decompose (rot) so they become part of the Earth again.  Matt’s family had a big yard, and every time the grass was mowed, their 40 gallon trash can was filled. Matt considered this a waste and told his parents that he would do a science project to see how quickly can break down into compost. 


Matt estimates he kept 30-40 trash cans full of yard waste from being thrown away that year.  His science project won first place at his school and third in the county.

How He Did It

1.      Matt and his father built a wooden compost bin.
2.      His hypothesis was: Grass and leaves would decay faster than any other material.
3.      He put a box in his room with the “control” materials all mixed together: grass, leaves, newspaper, glossy newsprint ads, a brown paper bag and a magazine.
4.      He put identical items in the compost bin, then covered them with grass and leaves.
5.      He checked the temperature of the compost pile to see if it was heating up (decaying material “cooks” itself) Sometimes it got as high as 120°
6.      After 9 months, he analyzed a sample of compost from the middle of the pile.  His hypothesis was right; the grass and leaves had decayed the most.  Newspaper came in second.  The glossy newspaper inserts and magazine had hardly changed at all.

Story was published in the California Riverside County Newsletter, June 2005

Friday, February 11, 2011

Penny Collection

Penny Collection
I have a difficult time planning activities some times. Out of my four boys, three of them have already earned their Wolf rank. Each den meeting I try to work on achievements for the one boy and electives so the three can at least keep getting recognition.

Today we had a highly successful activity. Since the three boys had already done a rock collection, I didn't want to do that. I received an idea from round table about a penny collection.

I created a table, six by six and made "My Penny Collection." I started in the upper left corner and wrote the years in each square. I started with the year 1980 and went through 2010. There were a few blank squares left, so I typed 19___ and let them put pennies they found from earlier years. 

At den meeting each boy received a roll of coins to sort through and glue on the appropriate square. They loved it! When my son got home he had to finish searching through our pennies to find the few squares that were left blank after den meeting. Because the pennies kept popping off, I stretched packing tape over them and then put the collection in a sheet protector.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Using a Secret Code

Secret Codes....Oooooh!

There is something magical about trying to decipher an unknown code.  Today I created a secret code by using the WingDings font.  Their fun and easy.

1.  Type the alphabet twice, one on top of the other.
2.  Change the  top line  WingDings font and leave and the bottom line the regular font.
3.  Type a message that you want to be decoded and change it to WingDings.
4.   Underneath each letter of the message, type a few connected underscore marks for the boys to write the letter when they discover it.

The fun thing was that I could choose any message I wanted.  I purposefully kept the messages simple, but I also wanted to reinforce messages of my choice.  If you want to look at my codes or print them out, click here.  My messages were:

  • I love Jesus
  • Do your best
  • I can pray
  • God loves me

The Wolf book gives some great ideas for using a secret code.  The nice thing about their suggestions is that is can easily be replicated by the boys.  That was the main fault of the code I used.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Learn about Your State and State Flag


That's what they think about when you ask questions like "What does this mean on the flag?"  "What about this?"  Talk about a recipe for distraction, goofing off, and frustration on the part of the den leader.

Instead, we created a state flag.  Our state is Utah.  I got some blue construction paper for the background.  I trimmed gold strips for the three edges.  Then I copied a coloring book page of our state seal for each boy.  While we talked about the meaning of the flag, they cut, glued, and colored their own flag to take home.

You can get coloring book pages and other state information at Kid Zone.   If you want, you can make your whole flag cut and paste.  That was too complex and time consuming for my state.  Coloring the details worked just fine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Litter Bug -- Stories of People Protecting Our World

This is a fun story that you can do with the boys or a larger group. I feel like picking up litter is a way that boys of this age can begin to take care of our world. You can find this story and a lot of other participation stories at:


Divide the group into four smaller groups and assign each group one of the words listed below. Read the story. After each of the words is read pause for the group to make the appropriate response.
PAPER "Crackle, Crackle"
CAN(S) "Clatter, Clatter"
TRASH "To the dump!"
LITTERBUG "Toss and throw"

God put bugs in this world for many a reason.
He made them to live in every kind of season.
But the pesky LITTERBUG___, with his PAPER___ and CANS___
Was made through neglected TRASH___, by the foolish man.

To keep
America beautiful, get rid of the LITTERBUG___,
So beach goers can, again, lunge on a clean, sandy rug.
because of this pest, we must wallow around
In PAPER___ and CANS___ and TRASH___ all over the ground.

Do you ever really see them toss that PAPER___ or CAN___?
Quite often the LITTERBUG___ is a sneaky guy.
And at dumping his TRASH___, he's oh, so sly.
So most of the time, it just appears everywhere.

As if it had dropped right out of thin air.
could it be we are so used to throwing things here and there
That we dump that PAPER___ and CAN___ without being aware?
Without even thinking, we toss TRASH___ and waste.

We could be an unconscious LITTERBUG___ in all of our haste.
So when you unwrap that piece of candy or gum,
Before tossing that CAN___, thing of this, chum:
If every single person would take note of his habit,
That pesky LITTERBUG___, we could certainly nab it!

Then that terrible bug we would surely stamp out,
With no more PAPER___ or CANS___ or TRASH___ all about.
To keep
America beautiful, we must all do our part.
By taking care of our TRASH___ properly from the start.