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.