Camping is an essential Cub Scouting activity that gives the youth and their families useful foundational knowledge for surviving and thriving in the outdoors! Still, camping should offer much more than facts and instructions. That’s where playing some fun and educational Cub Scout camp games comes in!
What are the best Cub Scout camp games? The best Cub Scout games, like “Kick the Can” and “Capture the Flag,” combine fun, teamwork, and real skills. These activities not only entertain but also build essential skills like strategy and communication, creating a fun camping experience for any pack. Games are key to creating memorable and educational outdoor adventures for Cub Scouts!
In this article, get ready to learn a variety of outdoor games that are super popular with children both in and out of Scouting. You may have heard of a few, or they all might be entirely new to you! Either way, these games have a lot of fun to offer, and will be sure to improve any Cub Scout camping trip!
P.S. This article is a guest post collaboration with Eagle Scout and AOL recipient, Michael M🙂
As you go through our article, I’d recommend picking out a few favorite games and jotting them down for the next time your pack is on a campout and needs something entertaining to do. Or, even better, you can share this list with your den and decide on a game together. The possibilities are endless, so let’s get started!
The Best Cub Scout Pack and Den Camping Games
Cub Scout Game #1: Kick the Can
No doubt about it, the first game on the list is a classic! Now, let’s break down how Kick the Can works. The game starts when the player who’s “it” (we’ll just call them “It”) kicks the can. “It” counts to a certain number with their eyes closed as the other players search for places to hide.
Once “It” is finished counting, they look for the other players. Their goal is to tag all the players on the opposing side, sending them to “jail” one by one. However, if another player manages to “kick the can,” all their teammates in jail are freed! The game continues until the entire team is in jail. Here’s a quick video (1:46) demonstrating the game!
It’s worth noting that the “can” doesn’t have to be a can. It can be an object of any kind, just so long as you can kick it the way you would a can. If it can be launched a long distance, then you’re good to go!
By the way, there’s a variation of Kick the Can where “It” just has to say the name and hiding place of a player to send them to jail. This version is a lot simpler, but it also gives the players less of a chance to move their bodies and exercise. You can decide with your pack which version sounds better to you!
Cub Scout Game #2: A Nature Scavenger Hunt
Chances are that you’ve heard of scavenger hunts! They’ve been around for a while now, and they’re a pretty common activity when it comes to camping. This particular version is a bit unique, as it uses objects out in nature as the items you and your Scout buddies will need to find and collect.
The nature scavenger hunt encourages Cubs to look closely at their outdoor surroundings and engage with the objects all around them. At the end of the activity, you can even go over each item and dish out some interesting facts! For example, if one of the items were a pinecone, you could teach the Cubs about:
- Different ways a pinecone can be used
- The various types of pine trees
- The pinecone’s symbolism and meaning
I highly encourage you to get creative with the facts you present! If you dig deep into researching the items on your list, you’re bound to uncover lots of cool information you never even knew. In other words, this activity can be a great learning experience for every last person in the pack, yourself included!
Here’s a short list of items that Cub scouts could consider searching for during a camp:
- Something man-made (wear gloves if it’s litter!)
- An indicator of animal life
- A native species
- An invasive species
- a stick longer than 3 feet
- A smooth stone
- A type of tree
- Insects (if they’re careful and responsible)
As a child, scavenger hunts were one of the activities I loved most. There’s something so thrilling about searching for items outdoors! Plus, it feels so good each time you cross a find off the list. Don’t be surprised if this game becomes a favorite among your Cubs 😀
Cub Scout Game #3: SPUD
SPUD is a popular game in many circles! The game starts with a specific player tossing the ball vertically into the air and calling out a name. Whichever player that name belongs to then tries to catch the ball. While the ball is in the air, all the other players start to run.
Once the player catches the ball, they call out “SPUD!” At that point, the other players freeze in place. The player with the ball takes three steps toward another player, and then rolls the ball at them. Here’s a short video (1:07) that demonstrates the rules! Please note that despite what you see in the video, your Cubs should not throw the ball at each other.
Before the game starts, it’s important that you take proper safety precautions. First off, only a soft foam ball should be used. In addition, the location must be completely safe for play. Also, please make clear to your Cubs that throwing the ball at each other is not permitted. (This is a rule set out in Part VII of the Guide to Safe Scouting!)
There’s a variation of the game where the player with the ball actually takes four steps instead of three, spelling out the letters of “SPUD” one by one. The first step would be “S,” the second would be “P,” and so on!
Cub Scout Game #4: Red Light, Green Light
Here’s another outdoor classic! Just like the scavenger hunt, this game has been around for quite a while. It’s also one of the simpler ones on the list! Unlike SPUD and Kick the Can, it doesn’t require any equipment or objects. All you need is a group of players who are looking to have some fun 😀
Red Light, Green Light can help its players grow in a whole lot of ways! Here are a few of the most impressive and noteworthy ones:
- Improves motor skills
- Enhances mindfulness
- Develops balance
Pretty awesome, no? This game is a great choice for children, as it helps them practice physical and mental skills during the key stages of their development. In other words, Red Light, Green Light has a lot more to offer than fun alone. Now, let’s take a look at how the game works!
Before the game starts, each Cub must go to the starting line while you stand at the finish line. When you’re all set, call out the signal: “Green light!” That’s the cue for the Cubs to run toward the finish line. Meanwhile, “Red light!” is the signal for them to stop. If a Cub keeps on running after that cue, they’re sent back to the start!
Cub Scout Game #5: Capture the Flag
I have very fond memories of Capture the Flag from my childhood — especially one match at my middle school that I remember vividly to this day! Capture the Flag also shows up in ScoutSmarts’ very own list of outdoor games for BSA Scouts. Since it’s appropriate for ages seven and up, it can be played with many Cub Scouts, too!
Like many of the games on this list, Capture the Flag is more than just fun. If you’re curious about how this game can benefit each of its players, then you’re in luck! Here are just a few long-term advantages it offers:
- Provides exercise
- Enhances coordination
- Improves flexibility
- Emphasizes teamwork
Now, the rules! The players start by splitting into two teams, each on opposite sides of a divider. Each team has a flag to hide in their zone. Once the game starts, players from each team can cross the line and go for the opposing team’s flag. If a player is tagged, they have to go to “jail,” and only a tag from a teammate can free them!
Wondering what exactly you should use as a flag? Anything from a bandana to a shirt will work just fine — even a neckerchief will get the job done! What’s more important is that your Cubs get moving and have fun. I’m confident that once the game gets underway, everyone will have a blast!
Cub Scout Game #6: Charades
It’s hard to think of a game more well-known than Charades! A big reason it’s so widely recognized is just how long it’s been around. You may not know this, but charades actually goes back hundreds of years! And do you want to know the best part? It’s just as fun now as it was back then. 😀
When played in teams, Charades reinforces the importance of collaboration. It may not get your heart rate up, but it does so many wonderful things for your Cubs’ mental and social development! Here are just a few ways that the game helps its players to grow and have a blast:
- Rewards imagination
- Exercises creativity
- Develops communication skills
Another plus is that the game is pretty simple! There aren’t many rules to remember or memorize in Charades, so it’s perfect for players of all ages. Charades may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to outdoor games, but it’s still a great fit for a camp environment. Now, here are the rules!
To start the game, a selected player picks a phrase from a pile or a bowl. They then use gestures and movements to hint the idea to the other players! Whoever guesses the phrase first gets a point. Keeping score is optional, but it can amp up the excitement. Here’s a little video (4:24) to show how it’s all done!
Here’s a helpful tip: while your Cubs could come up with the phrases themselves, it’s best to prepare them in advance for the players to choose from. That way, you can ensure that the choices are fully appropriate and will be fun for everyone involved!
Bonus Options: Cub Scout Camp Games Without Setup
- Scout Skills Quiz: Ask a question about a Scout skill, then give the Cubs some time to figure out the answer. Once anyone thinks they’ve got it, they can raise their hand or call it out! You can keep score, but you don’t have to. Here are some skills questions for BSA Scouts that you can use as inspiration 🙂
Although the games above are sure to entertain your Cubs, there are occasions when there’s just no time for setup. Maybe you’re around the campfire, filling a few minutes of time between activities, or just feeling low-energy. Situations like those are where these next few games really shine!
- I Spy: This one is all about the players’ surroundings! The player who begins the game selects an object in everyone’s view, then says the first letter of that item. At that point, the other players try to guess the object one by one! The one who guesses right becomes the next one to select an item.
- Duck, Duck, Goose: This one is more active than the others, but it still has zero prep time! Just like with Telephone, the players sit down in a circle. The starting player circles around the rest, tapping each and giving them a role (“Duck” or “Goose”). Once the Goose is chosen, they have just a few seconds to tag the one who tapped them!
- Telephone: This game is both fun and funny! The players start by sitting down in a circle. The first player quietly passes a message on to the second player, who whispers that same message into the third player’s ear. Once the message goes around the circle, the last player says it out loud! The results tend to be hilarious 😜
- Two Truths and a Lie: This game is often used as an icebreaker, but it’s just as fun when played with friends! The player who goes first says three “facts” about themselves, only two of which are actually true. The first to figure out the lie goes next! This game opens your eyes to cool facts about people you might never have learned otherwise.
- 20 Questions: Here’s one that just about everyone knows! The starting player chooses any noun they’d like, and the other players ask questions to try to figure it out. Once 20 questions have been asked, a different player gets a chance to choose a noun. Also, the same thing happens if the noun is guessed correctly before Question 20!
- Simon Says: In this well-known game, the starting player, “Simon,” directs the other players to do certain things. If the words “Simon Says” come before an action, the other players have to perform that action! However, those instructions should only be followed if the words “Simon Says” came before them.
I’m sure you can see just how great games can be for making Cub Scout camps even more fun! Not only are they enjoyable, but they also provide players with skills and abilities that will serve them well throughout their lives. Cubs stand to gain a lot from playing games like these, and the excitement they offer will make the campout even more special! 🙂
Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to what’s on this list. Feel free to explore all the other fun games out there! There are so many camp games to choose from, and each one offers unique benefits that are vital to proper development. Some are going to be a bigger hit with your Cubs than others, so keep working to find the ones that your Pack likes best!
I hope you found my article to be super helpful! If you enjoyed what I covered here, I’d definitely recommend checking out any of the following articles if they also spark your interest:
- Cub Scout Ranks And Advancement: Your Ultimate Guide (Also by Michael M!)
- Is Cub Scouts Still Worth Joining? 6 Personal Takeaways and Benefits
- How to Plan Cub Scout Meeting Activities (With 16+ Ideas)
- Fun Cub Scout Games: 11 Epic Indoor and Outdoor Pack Activities
- Cub Scout Camp Packing: 37 Essentials For Cubs And Parents
That’s all for now! Thanks for stopping by ScoutSmarts, one of the best online resources for preparing you to make the best of your Cub and BSA Scouting journey! Hope to see you back here again soon and, until next time, I wish you nothing but the best. 😀