Excited to earn a new Cub Scout rank? The rank of Bear is the fourth rank a Cub can earn, and it’s typically achieved in the third grade. The path to Bear rank is full of opportunities for Cubs to learn new skills, explore their interests, and of course, have plenty of fun along the way!
This guide will tell you everything you need to know to achieve the Bear rank, with a particular focus on the 6 required adventures. That’s right — just like other ranks in Cub Scouts, a Cub will be required to complete required adventures and even choose an elective adventure!
PS. This article is a collaboration between Arrow Of Light, Chandler M, and Cole 🙂
We’ll be covering each adventure in detail, and giving you plenty of tips to help your Cub through the 6 required Bear adventures in particular. For now, let’s take a quick look at all the requirements Cubs need to complete to achieve the Bear rank:
What Are The Bear Rank Requirements?
- Complete each of the six required Adventures with your den or family:
- In addition to the six required adventures listed previously, complete at least one elective Adventure of your den’s or family’s choosing.
- A Bear Goes Fishing
- Bear Picnic Basket
- Critter Care
- Grin and Bear It
- Marble Madness
- Roaring Laughter
- Salmon Run
- Super Science
- With your parent, guardian, or other caring adult, complete the exercises in the pamphlet entitled How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide
- Watch the Protect Yourself Rules video for 3rd Grade, Bear OR Earn the Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure for Bear.
In this guide, we’ll delve into every one of the required adventures. Each has requirements that your Cub may need parental assistance with, so get ready to guide and assist! Here, I’ll be providing some tips, insights, and helpful videos to explain these adventures so that your Cub will learn these useful skills with ease. 😀
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the first adventure for earning Bear rank!
Completing the ‘Baloo the Builder’ Bear Adventure
Baloo the Builder is all about learning what’s inside a toolbox, the function of each tool, and how to use it safely. More than likely, your Cub has had exposure to many of these tools but may not know how to use them properly. After completing this adventure, they’ll be well on their way to tool mastery!
There are four requirements in this adventure and all of them need to be completed. These requirements are relatively simple but will require some assistance on the part of the parent (that’s probably you 😉 ).
- Discover which hand tools are the best ones to have in your tool box. Learn the rules for using these tools safely. Practice with at least four of these tools before beginning a project.
- Select, plan, and define the materials for the project you will complete in requirement 3.
- Assemble your materials, and build one useful project and one fun project using wood.
- Apply a finish to one of your projects.
In these requirements, your Cub will be learning to use tools to turn wood into an awesome project of their own! However, tools can be dangerous, so parental guidance is a must. Ensuring that your Cub has the supervision to use their tools safely and complete a useful project is your main priority.
With all that being said, let’s dive right into these requirements and see how best to complete them!
1.1) Discover which hand tools are the best ones to have in your tool box. Learn the rules for using these tools safely. Practice with at least four of these tools before beginning a project.
There’s a heavy emphasis on learning basic hand tools for this requirement. Luckily, Cubs don’t need to learn how to use power tools yet! 😛 However, your Cub will need to identify various hand tools, learn how to use them safely, and even practice using four of them.
The tools don’t need to be complicated, so you’re free to pick ones that you’re already somewhat comfortable with — even if you’re not the DIT type! To start, choose four hand tools to try out. Here are a few great ideas:
- Hammer (to hammer in a nail)
- Pliers (to hold/turn object)
- Flathead screwdriver (to turn a screw)
- Tape measure (to measure an object)
- Level (to find if a shelf is level)
- File/Sandpaper (to sand down a wood corner)
- Wrench (to turn a bolt)
These are all really simple tools that you’ll find in every toolbox. Let your Cub handle these tools while teaching them safe usage for each one and explaining what they’re used for. Then, let them demonstrate to you the safe and effective use of each tool!
1.2) Select, plan, and define the materials for the project you will complete in requirement 3.
For requirement 3, your Cub will need to build a project using the tools mentioned above. Before that, they obviously need to plan what they’re going to build! This doesn’t need to be anything too crazy, just something useful and something fun. Here are some suggestions for projects:
- Useful projects
- A table
- Fun projects
- A pinewood derby car
- Pencil holder
- Flag stand
All of these will just require some wood, nails, and possibly some wood glue. Many of these projects are available in kits at craft stores which can make gathering materials quicker and easier. If you already have the materials available, that’s great too. Just ensure they’re easily accessible so your Cub can see what’s on offer and plan accordingly.
1.3) Assemble your materials, and build one useful project and one fun project using wood.
All the prep is out of the way, so now it’s time to build your projects! Allow your Scout to do a lot of the work themselves, but provide oversight and assistance where needed. This is a good chance for them to show that they can safely use each tool.
For tons of ideas on what to build, as well as some useful hand tool knowledge and guides, you can check out the hand tool activity article at CubScoutIdeas.com!
1.4) Apply a finish to one of your projects.
Now that the project is built, it’s time to add a finish! This is pretty easy and just requires a quick trip to the hardware store if you don’t already have any wood stain, lacquer, or varnish. Here’s a great video (6:21) to watch with your Cub that will guide them through staining and finishing their build.
For most small Cub Scout projects, I’d recommend using these finishing cloths instead of buying an entire can of finish. They’re inexpensive, effective, and have great reviews! Just make sure to wear gloves and apply the finish carefully. With that, you should soon have a beautifully constructed project of your own! 🙂
Now that you’ve finished your projects, your Cub has finished their first adventure! Hopefully, this adventure was a lot of fun. I have fond memories of these early adventures from my time working towards the Bear rank, and I still use the shelves I built for this adventure today!
Completing the ‘Bear Claws’ Bear Adventure
A key component of Scouting is safely using and carrying a pocket knife. I remember this being a big step for me as a Cub and it was something I was very excited about. This adventure will have your Cub earning their Whittling Chip as well. There are 3 requirements, with the third having a choice of activities.
- Learn about three common designs of pocket knives.
- Learn knife safety and earn your Whittling Chip.
- Do one of the following:
- Using a pocket knife, carve two items.
- With a pocket knife, safely perform each of these tasks:
- Demonstrate how to cut a piece of rope, twine, or fishing line;
- Open a sealed box without damaging the content;
- Open a can with the can opener tool on a pocket knife;
- Remove and replace the screws on an object with the screwdriver tool on a pocket knife;
- Open a letter.
And the Whittling Chip requirements are:
- Know the safety rules for handling a knife.
- Show that you know how to take care of and use a pocket knife.
- Make a carving with a pocket knife. Work with your den leader or other adult when doing this.
- Read, understand, and promise to abide by the “Knives Are Not Toys” guidelines.
- Read, understand, and promise to abide by the “Pocketknife Pledge”.
This adventure isn’t difficult, there are just a lot of parts as it also requires the Whittling Chip to be earned. I’ll go into each of these requirements to help you and your Cub complete the adventure and earn a Whittling Chip. By the end, they’ll be confident in handling and using a pocket knife safely!
2.1) Learn about three common designs of pocket knives.
There are a variety of pocket knife designs out there, but for this requirement, your Cub only needs to know three. To keep things simple, I’ve covered the four most common types of pocket knives below. If your Cub has a keen interest in knife designs and wants to explore other types, that’s fine too. 🙂
- This type of knife contains a knife blade as well as a variety of tools including pliers a can opener, scissors, a file, screwdrivers, and saws. These can vary by model and were my favorite to bring on camps.
- Swiss Army Knives
- Smaller than a multitool and lacking pliers, Swiss army knives are standard issue for BSA Scouts.
- Pen Knives
- Pen knives typically only have knife blades, one on each side, and are pretty small.
- Single Blade Knives
- These are much larger than pen knives and only have one blade. They often have a locking mechanism to keep the blade extended or folded away.
Your Cub will most likely use a multitool or Swiss army knife for this adventure, but it’s important to know of the other types of knives. These are the ones that I saw most commonly in Scouting, but there are definitively others out there if your Cub wants to look into them.!
2.2) Learn knife safety and earn your Whittling Chip.
Earning a Whittling Chip (link is to my in-depth guide to knife safety!) is a big step as a Cub Scout and requires a Cub to learn a lot of knife safety rules. Here, I’ll go into each of the requirements to help your Cub earn the ability to carry a pocket knife on Scouting adventures.
- Knife Safety Rules (Official Scouting Rules)
- A knife is a tool, not a toy
- Know how to sharpen a knife.
- A sharp knife is safer than a dull knife because it is less likely to slip and cut you.
- Keep the blade clean.
- Never carry an open pocketknife
- When you are not using your knife, close it and put it away.
- When you are using the cutting blade, do not try to make big shavings or chips. Easy does it.
- Make a safety circle. Before you pick up your knife to use it, stretch your arm out and turn in a circle. If you cannot touch anyone or anything else, it is safe to use your knife.
- While using your knife, be sure to watch in case someone walks toward you and gets too close.
- Taking Care of Your Knife
- Sharpen your knife
- Clean the blade after use
- Make a carving with your pocket knife
- This is done in requirement three of Bear Claws
- Knives Are Not Toys Guidelines
- Close the blade with the palm of your hand.
- Never use a knife on something that will dull or break it.
- Be Careful that you do not cut yourself or any person nearby.
- Never use a knife to strip the bark from a tree.
- Do not carve your initials into anything that does not belong to you.
- The Pocketknife Pledge
- I will treat my pocketknife with the respect due a useful tool.
- I will always close my pocketknife and put it away when not in use.
- I will not use my pocketknife when it might injure someone near me.
- I promise never to throw my pocketknife for any reason.
- I will use my pocketknife in a safe manner at all times.
Go over these rules with your Cub while completing these requirements. This is best done with a den leader so they can certify that your Cub has completed these requirements. This will make it easy for them to sign off your Cub’s completion of the activities and achieve their Whittling Chip.
2.3) Using a pocket knife, carve two items.
While there are two options for this requirement, I recommend doing the carving option. The reason for this is that carving something is required for the Whittling Chip. This way, your Cub can complete both of these requirements at the same time! However, feel free to complete the other option as well, as those knife skills are also super useful!
Now, before you get into the requirement, I’d suggest watching the following helpful video (3:32) and having your Cub practice whittling on a stick so that they feel comfortable and secure when carving a smaller item. A solid steady grip is a must, and that can only come from a bit of practice!
I recommend using soap for carving as it’s easier to carve and easy to clean up. Encourage your Cub to use their imagination while they carve. Just like before, this requirement is also best done under the supervision of a parent or den leader.
You can also use this awesome beginner Whittling Kit from Amazon if you’d like to keep and cherish your Cub’s creations for years to come! It contains two wood blocks, sandpaper, designs, and everything they’d need to make some incredible carvings.
Completing the ‘Bear Necessities’ Bear Adventure
The Bear Necessities adventure is all about going on outings and learning what to bring along for a safe and fun time. For this requirement, your Cub will be required to demonstrate skills needed for a campout. Cubs must complete requirements 1 through 4, while requirements 5 and 6 are optional.
- While working on your Bear badge, attend one of the following:
- A daytime or overnight campout with your pack or family
- An outdoor activity with your den or pack
- Day camp
- Resident camp
- Make a list of items you should take along on the activity selected in Requirement 1.
- Make a list of equipment that the group should bring along in addition to each Scout’s personal gear for the activity selected in Requirement 1.
- Help set up a tent. Determine a good spot for the ten, and explain to your den leader why you picked it.
- (Optional) Demonstrate how to tie two half hitches and explain what the hitch is used for.
- (Optional) Learn how to read a thermometer and barometer. Keep track of the temperature and barometric pressure readings and the actual weather at the same time every day for seven days.
As you can tell, this adventure is going to take a bit of planning to complete! Your Cub will need to plan and pack for their chosen outing. There is at least a lot of flexibility in what kind of outing they choose, so you can work with your Cub to pick something that fits in well with your family or pack’s plans. Let’s get into each requirement!
3.1) While working on your Bear badge, attend one of the following:
— A daytime or overnight campout with your pack or family
— An outdoor activity with your den or pack
— Day camp
— Resident camp
This requirement is pretty self-explanatory. Just have your Cub attend an outing from the list above! Choosing one that fits with your schedule will make things easier, since parents will typically be present for these outings as well.
Ahead of the outing, I’d recommend having your Cub make a list of things to bring, along with what their pack is bringing, so they can knock out requirements 2 and 3 at the same time. 🙂
3.2) Make a list of items you should take along on the activity selected in Requirement 1.
This is best to complete as you’re planning for the outing in requirement 1. The equipment is generally the same between outings and will include the necessities. For reference, here’s a good list of things to bring:
- Mess kit
- Warm clothes (bring extra)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- First aid kit
- Water bottles
- A backpack
You can obviously add more if you need to, but this is generally what your Cub will need on each trip. Have your Cub start the list themselves, and then you can prompt them if they get stuck or forget any of the important items. For my recommendations on what items to purchase, check out the links in this BSA Scout camping essentials article!
3.3) Make a list of equipment that the group should bring along in addition to each Scout’s personal gear for the activity selected in Requirement 1.
There are some things that your Cub won’t need to bring but their pack will. It’s important for your Cub to know what their pack’s items are, as part of this requirement is double-checking the items of the group. That way, they’ll be prepared for anything and nothing will get left behind. Here are the main group items:
- Large canopy tent
- Pegs and securing lines
- Camp stoves
- First aid kit
- Food for the trip
- Spare tents
- Cleaning supplies
These can vary between packs/dens so it’s important to check with your leaders when working on this requirement. In many cases, there may be other things to bring along if the outing location poses extra challenges, or if you’re doing activities that need additional equipment.
3.4) Help set up a tent. Determine a good spot for the ten, and explain to your den leader why you picked it.
This is an important skill to have but methods can vary depending on tent and manufacturer. For this requirement, it’s best to use your tent or the pack’s tents and learn how to set those up. That way, your Cub can practice ahead of time! This is also a great group activity where parents can help their Cubs learn how to properly pitch a tent.
3.5) Demonstrate how to tie two half hitches and explain what the hitch is used for. (Optional)
This is an optional requirement, but if your Cub is interested in completing it, here’s a video guide (1:44) on how to tie two half-hitches. Watching the video together with your Cub and practicing at home is the perfect way to prepare for this requirement, and knowing the two half hitches now will surely help in Scouts BSA!
The half hitch is a secure knot that is great for tying up large objects. It can be used to moor boats, set up tents, tie a fly, and handle livestock. Once your Cub has learned the half hitch, they’ll want to use it whenever possible, and they can have a lot of fun helping others to secure things. 🙂
3.6) Learn how to read a thermometer and barometer. Keep track of the temperature and barometric pressure readings and the actual weather at the same time every day for seven days. (Optional)
This is another optional requirement but is also useful to complete. For this requirement, your Cub needs to learn how to use a barometer and thermometer. They’re probably already familiar with thermometers but maybe not barometers.
A barometer measures atmospheric pressure. This can be an indicator of stormy weather head, so can be a vital sign of trouble for campers! The video below (2:21) is a great explainer for how they work and how to read them.
A thermometer measures temperature and your Cub will likely be familiar with the concept, though perhaps not with a physical device. The video below (6:19) has a lot of information on temperature in general, as well as how thermometers work.
Your Cub should then use both of these tools to measure the weather for a week. Keeping a journal and measuring at the same time each day is also important when doing this requirement. If you don’t have these tools, a digital barometer and thermometer on your phone can work as well!
Ready to move on to Adventure 4 of the Bear rank? Click here!
Congrats on Finishing The First Half of The Bear Rank!
Wow, we just covered a ton of useful info! Great work, Cub Scout. You now better understand knots, knife safety, how to use tools, and a lot more cool things. Well done, you definitely deserve a snack and a rest at this point; give yourself a giant pat on the back! 🙂
Once you’re ready to continue on to part 2 of my guide to the Bear rank, click here!
Also, if you’re interested in getting help with every other Cub Scout rank (along with an explanation of what you’ll learn through each one), make sure to check out my full guide here. PS: The article also links to my best resources for Cub Scouting success!