Are you planning the best Cub Scout meeting activities possible? After reading this article, you will! Effective den and pack meeting activities provide a framework for Cub Scouts to advance and learn, but do so in a sneaky way. The kids get so much enjoyment from what they’re doing, they don’t even realize they’re completing tasks to advance in rank!
In this article, I’ll share tips on planning and running activities for Cub Scout meetings, describe the two main types of activities, and share numerous examples that your pack can try out ASAP. The activities serve a variety of purposes that include knowledge growth and reinforcement, skill building and practice, and relationship building and fun!
PS. This article is a guest post collaboration between Cub Scouting volunteer Jaci H and Cole 🙂
Cub Scouts leaders want their kids to learn, succeed, and have fun while doing so. By incorporating exciting, educational activities into the program, this makes checking those requirements off easier and less “work” for any Cub!
“When we planned our den-based activities, they were always related to the different adventure requirements so each Scout was able to derive benefit from that meeting and work towards his advancement. That way we not only all had fun, but targeted the fun to benefit everyone.”–Former den leader Nick S. from California
My son really enjoyed the educational Cub Scout meeting activities I’ll be sharing with you here. In fact, he enjoyed them so much that he advanced through all the Cub Scout ranks and didn’t even realize it! Today, he’s just about to begin his Eagle project for a local Boys & Girls Club. 😀
Planning a Cub Scout Den Meeting
Before you even choose and plan your den meeting activities, how do you know where to start? The first step to planning a Cub Scout den meeting is to review the requirements for the Cub’s current rank. For example, a Lion has five requirements with three to five steps under each of them.
Helpful Link: If you’re new to the Cub Scouting world, Cole has a great guide on Cub Scout ranks and basic requirements. This will essentially walk you through everything you need to know about Cub Scouting when just starting out!
Once you’ve selected a few requirements you’d like the Cubs to work on, then you can schedule the activities. You’ll have to determine what other goals you have for the meeting and weave those two elements together. The best way to do this is to combine learning and fun in an engaging activity!
Dr. Nisha Zoeller, who is a BSA troop committee chair, developed a helpful guide several years ago to show the connections between various BSA requirements. While the document is not an official guide from Scouts BSA, you may still find it as a super helpful reference!
How to Choose Cub Scout Meeting Activities
You can choose to schedule the activities before the meeting or during the meeting. It depends on how much prep time you need for the meeting. Maybe you are covering something a bit more complicated and you don’t have a lot of time to prepare. If that’s the case, a simple pre-meeting activity (while kids are arriving at different times) might be what you need to keep them busy.
Another important question to ask: do you need an activity to gain momentum or quiet the Scouts? If you’re looking to go low-key, you’ll probably want a stationary activity. If you want a lot of energy, choose something with movement. If you have more than one activity, you may have a combination of the two!
Stationary Activities for Cub Scouts
When you’re looking to calm your Cubs, a stationary activity might be the way to go. Below, you’ll find some examples of stationary activities like knowledge reinforcement, memorization, games, demonstrations, taste tests, and knot challenges!
Work on Required Memorization
One thing that stood out in my review of Scout requirements is the number of things Cub Scouts have to memorize — the sign, handshake, motto, salute, law, and outdoor code. You will want to help reinforce all of these through various activities.
Check out this quick video (2:31) showing Cubs practicing the Scout Law.
Play Some Good Old-Fashioned Games
A game doesn’t have to be new to be fun and educational! You can create classics like word searches, crossword puzzles, or bingo on your own or find them online. Some places to start: a word search generator, a crossword puzzle generator, and Cub Scout bingo! 😀
You should also check out my article on Fun Cub Scout Games to learn about 11 epic indoor and outdoor den and pack activities!
Help Bobcats Learn Scout Oath and Scout Law
The Bobcats level is a unique one to Cub Scouts as it is not grade based. This level is completed by all kids new to Scouts. It helps the kids become familiar with Scouting and rank requirements. They need to learn the Scout Oath and Scout Law, for example. Having the Cubs engage in an activity that reinforces this knowledge is very beneficial.
Using large popsicle sticks, write one word each of the Scout Law on them. Then proceed:
- Have the Scouts read the words aloud as they pick up the sticks in a version of the game Pick Up Sticks.
- Partner the Cubs and have them work together to put the words in order of how they are recited aloud. Who can do it the fastest?
To use the Scout Oath for this exercise, separate out each sentence and have the Scouts work to put them in the correct order. For older Scouts, make it more complicated by cutting some of the sentences apart. You can also use this activity with phrases from the Outdoor Code.
Get Creative with an Alphabet Game
When it comes to the alphabet, there’s always a game you can create! Have the Cub Scouts sit/stand in a circle and, one at a time, name something related to Cub Scouting from A to Z. You can have them go in order or allow anyone to jump in with each new letter. Encourage creativity with the tougher letters!
Create a Scout Game or Item
You can take a typical household game and turn it into a Scout-focused game. For example, with Jenga you can print the Scout Law onto the blocks (try a P-touch machine) and have the Cubs say the word when they use one of those blocks. Tic tac toe is another simple game that can serve as a starting point.
“In our Cub Scout den, we designed a lot of instructional hands-on activities. We had the Cubs build a wooden tic tac toe game (which helped fulfill a Bear requirement) and then the boys used marbles to play it — and separately learned how to play marbles.”–Former den leader Christina O. from Montana
In Christina O.’s case, the Scouts physically constructed the game, played the game, and then learned another game as well. Way to combine several things into one activity! In this Weekend Scouter video (8:50), learn how to build a birdhouse, which is part of the Tiger adventures.
Memorize the Six Essentials of Hiking
To learn the six essentials of hiking, play a memorization game at your Cub Scout den meeting. Place the six essentials in a box or on a tray, along with completely random, non-Scout items. For example, you could add a comb, dog collar, and roll of tape.
Proceed with the activity as follows:
- Give the Scouts one minute to view what’s in the box. Then take it away and ask them to recite what they remember. The non-Scout items are simply to throw them off a bit and again, should be very random and not possibly connected to an essential item.
- Finally, ask the Cub what did NOT belong as a hiking essential.
Practice Flag Folding
To practice flag folding, Scouts can compete to see who can fold the flag the fastest — and neatest. Or, you can set a timer for a certain number of minutes and see who gets the farthest in the task. At a pack meeting, which includes all the dens, older Scouts could work with younger Scouts to reinforce this duty-to-country skill required of Wolf Scouts.
Do a Blind Taste Test
To introduce fruits and vegetables to the kids, you could do a blind taste test. This activity will add some mystery and excitement to trying a new food, which is connected to a Tiger adventure! Have the kids wear a blindfold and taste, smell, and feel the different foods to see how well they can identify them.
Get Tied Up Learning Knots!
Throughout their Scouting journey, boys and girls will learn a total of seven knots. Like the other requirements, the knots will get more difficult as the Scouts get older. The Scouts learn and advance in so many ways, from knot tying to first aid skills to water safety!
Here’s a fun video (2:44) of Scouts tying knots.
The Scouts often forget how to tie the knots, so you could offer a simple activity to practice a newly learned knot. Have a Scout who has mastered it show the others, provide step-by-step photos, or a combination of the two. Then, you could hold a knot challenge!
Helpful Link: Cole offers tons of useful tips for this in his article on how to tie every essential scouting knot!
High-Energy Activities for Cub Scouts
Stationary games can be fun, easy, and educational. But we all know that sometimes, kids need to get the wiggles out! If you want activities to help channel their energy, consider one of the ideas in this section for your Cub Scout den meeting.
Set Up a Scavenger Hunt
Are you planning a day outing for the den soon? Have the Cubs gather clues on what that outing is through a scavenger hunt. Once combined, the clues provide the answer. My daughter’s Girl Scout troop once performed a scavenger hunt during an outing as well!
The possibilities for a scavenger or treasure hunt are endless. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Hide words or phrases that make up the motto or oath. After they have found all of them, have the Cubs put them in the correct order!
- Challenge them to find each of the six hiking essentials.
- While outdoors, give the Cubs a list of specific items in nature to find and photograph.
- You can even make it into a trash pickup — whoever collects the most trash wins!
Practice Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is an important element of Scouting and part of a Wolf adventure. Why not have them get some practice? At the start of a meeting, you could have them do a designated number of pushups, followed by a run, jumping roping for two minutes, and completing an obstacle course.
Shawn W., now a First Class Scout in California, remembers a snowball “fight” played in his Cub Scout group. He said the Scouts wrote things they had learned on paper, then wadded them up, and threw them as “snowballs.”
The Cubs had to open the papers and read the responses before throwing them back. He remembers a separate teambuilding activity where the kids had to work together to “free” candy that was trapped in shipping tape. Sweet!
Engage in a Fun Teambuilding Exercise
The human knot is a great teambuilding activity for Cubs. First, everyone gathers in a circle. They cross their hands in front of them and hold hands with the person next to them. They must keep holding hands while untangling themselves until their arms are no longer crossed.
Check out this video (1:25) for an awesome demonstration!
Ball tossing can be turned into a learning reinforcement and teambuilding combined. Take a beach ball and write one word from the Scout Law on each color section. The Scouts then toss the ball around. When the Cub catches the ball, they must recite the word closest to their right thumb and give an example of how they fit the quality!
Another option for simple team building is to write various short questions (make sure they are not yes/no questions) on the ball and follow the same routine as above. Here are some sample questions to get you started:
- What is your favorite animal?
- How many siblings do you have?
- What is your favorite subject at school?
- When is your birthday?
- What is your favorite song?
Imagine you went to work one day and after a team building meeting with colleagues, your boss told you that you had one less work task to do for the day! Wouldn’t that be amazing? In Cub Scouts, when you plan fun, yet efficient meetings designed to fulfill rank requirements, you are doing your part to help the Cubs advance and make terrific memories at the same time!
I hope this article has given you an overview of planning those meetings and various ideas on how to implement activities to connect to the requirements you are working toward. If you’re reading this piece and are new to Scouting, I’d highly recommend also checking out any of the following articles:
- The 3 Biggest Benefits Of Cub Scouting (Also Written by Jaci H)
- Clean Scout Jokes: The 17 Funniest Jokes To Tell Your Pack 😂
- How to Plan a Cub Scout Carnival (Grin and Bear It Rank Elective)
- Cub Scouting Costs In 2023: Uniforms, Fees, And More
- 99 Quotes For Scouts: Inspiration On Your Scouting Adventure
- Is Cub Scouts Worth Joining In 2023? 6 Personal Takeaways From an AOL
That’s all for now! Hope these fun den and pack activities help you to have an even better time in Cub Scouting! Hope to see you back here at ScoutSmarts again soon and, until next time, I’m wishing you some insanely fun Cub Scout activities in the future. 🙂