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Rex Hendricksen's Games with Short Poles
6 and/or 3 foot variety - scout stave size/broom handles etc.

Issue 3

For scouts and explorers

Risk assessment

Potential for injury if activities are not carefully controlled by leaders.

Each activity does need careful consideration before running it, if unfamiliar.

Much depends on type / number of poles available, what state they are in, size of venue (outdoors with more room is good), number of leaders to supervise, splinters, number of scouts.


1. Stomp - scouts in circle with palm of hand on pole - instructions given - move one left - one right - turn. Scouts must catch pole of neighbour before it hits the floor to stay in game - circle stays same size - very popular game.

2. Pole pile - pile poles in circle, take it in turns to remove one without disturbing any others.

3. Relays -

  • Run - pole passed through legs of chair.

  • Pole held by leader horizontally and then dropped - scout has to hold both hands over pole and catch it before it hits floor (very difficult to do).

  • Both hands on end of three foot pole - head on hands - go round it three times then jump across it with feet together - for fun!

  • Balance on one finger.

  • Walk along pole.

  • Staff control - keep pole above head in north south direction, run to end of room and back second person adds on, both run and so on - pole must be kept n-s at all times.

  • Jump - run to end of hall then back - when patrol is reached the pole is held low so that all team have to jump it and so on.

  • Poles passed over head by leaning back.

  • Poles thrown horizontally to patrol - catch it and return to patrol leader.

  • Piggy back pole - use as lance to try to pick up tin.

  • Rowing - all sit astride facing backwards except patrol leader as cox - run to end then change.

4. Bowls - Try to knock hoop or opposing teams' pole out of circle by sliding other poles at it.

5. Grommet or rubber ring hockey - Two teams number off - use short pole - flick grommet into goal.

6. Push - Two scouts balance on plank, push each other using poles like quarterstaffs.

7. Pole sardines - a pole is laid on ground - players blindfolded, must lay their pole as close and parallel to the first one as possible.

8. Pole tug - Two teams - number off - grab end of pole and try and touch nearest wall without letting go.

Things to make

Tennis Umpire's chair - Four poles attached to legs of plastic chair.

Sedan chair - Two poles fixed to ordinary plastic chair.

Pharaoh's chair - Three poles in a 'V'.

'A' frame - drag them to race, with or without a rider, or make into a ballista using bungee to fire a bamboo cane (need an extra short pole lashed to the frame to support cane & bungee).

Self-supporting flag pole.


Light candle from a distance.

Burst balloon on rafters.

Ravine - pick up item from other side of a ravine.

For the adults

Caber Tossing is primarily an event from the Scottish Highland Games where the caber, that can be up to six metres in length, is tossed so that it flips end over end. The aim is for the caber to land facing in the twelve o'clock position, i.e. in line with the original run. The winner is not the person who throws the caber the furthest but the one whose caber lands nearest the twelve o'clock position. The person who is tossing is called, rather genteelly, a tosser. It is not easy! Much of the weight of the caber is above the tosser's body and it is something of a fine art to get the caber into the optimum position for tossing without just dropping it or launching it like a javelin. While six foot poles may be a bit tame they would be more than enough for most scouts; adults may wish to have a go with something a bit longer. Should they wish to use a full-size caber be warned, they are not easy to get come by and if you do find one they can weigh up to around seventy kilos. We might just mention that telegraph poles are typically around six metres in length but we would not want you to be getting any ideas from our imparting this snippet of information.

Dark Night.png

Rex Hendricksen's Dark Night activities

Issue 2

Scouts love Dark Night as the activities are carried out mainly in darkness.

It’s useful if they bring a torch for some activities.

Our hall is large and situated in parkland so we can do activities outside, near the building.

However, outside activities could be done in a local park or campsite etc. as there are several of them that would make an evening – see * for these.

Dark night games for whole troop

1. Shoes in centre - everyone takes off their shoes (undo laces) - they are placed in the middle of the hall and lights go off – scouts crawl on floor to find their own shoes by touch – after twenty seconds put lights on for 5 seconds, then off again – repeat a couple of times – then put lights on fully. It’s first patrol standing in a row with the correct shoes on. With large numbers play by age group.

2. Peas scattered - scouts sit down with hands over head – lights go out and a packet of dried peas is scattered around the room. Scouts crawl to pick up peas - after twenty seconds put lights on for five seconds, then off – repeat a couple of times – then put lights on fully. Count up peas collected – patrol with most wins.

3. Candle lighting relay – relay formation - put candle on saucer at end of hall (unlit) – each patrol has a box of matches – patrol members take it in turns to walk to the candle, strike a match, light the candle, then blow it out. Can be played with first player lighting, second blowing out and so on.

4. Hand using ball with bell in it – play a game of conventional hand ball (same as ordinary football but use a hand to hit ball) but ball has a bell in it (used for children with disability). Can also be played with glow stick gaffer taped to ball.

5. Quarters game – divide hall in four quarters – each patrol stands in a section - sponge ball or ball with bell thrown in the dark – after thirty seconds put on lights – patrol holding the ball gets a point – smallest number of points wins.

6. Dark circle - place plastic hoopla hoops on floor, lights out - Scouts have to find a hoop and stand in it, after ten seconds – lights on. Can be played with specific numbers in hoop – 2, 3, Scouts not in a hoop drop out – remove some hoops as number of players gets smaller.

Dark Night bases

  • Done as a patrol in separate rooms if possible.

  • Some activities need to be done outside the building in a field/park.

  • Some can be set up very quickly but others need to be set up in advance – see ** for these.

  1. Tallest tower out of Lego bricks in 5 minutes.

  2. Fitting shapes into a baby ball – fastest time – do more than once.

  3. Tying a rope around the patrol and finish with a reef knot – as fast as possible.

  4. **Shadow Kim’s game – sheet back illuminated - items held up so their shadow only is visible – teams to identify them – can also do profiles of the patrol with the Patrol Leader to spot them.

  5. **Spiders web – get through sisal/string web without setting off alarms! (Hang small bells on the string). Can use LED torches with tape over lens to create a narrow beam instead of sisal.

  6. Coins in plastic bottles – find bottles and collect coins – state sum of money in bottles.

  7. **Searchlight game – put out tables on their sides for cover (put table legs away from direction of play) – patrol at one end of hall – leader at other with good torch. Leader sweeps the hall in a regular fashion with torch. Scouts try and get to other end of the hall without being spotted in beam. If caught they start again. Keep a note of how many get through or are caught.

  8. Lengths of lashing rope scattered about in a room. Patrols have to find ropes - tie them together - longest rope that holds together wins.

  9. Timer finder – set timer alarm for five minutes teams have to find it.

  10. * **Cats eye trail – outside hall - 2 narrow pieces of fluorescent tape on black card, pinned on trees just at the limit of a good torch beam. Patrols follow trail to find the treasure!

  11. Touch game – scouts identify items by touch.

  12. Darkness drawing - Piece of paper/pencil given to each scout with an item e.g. large key, screwdriver, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 coins, nut and bolt, pair of spectacles, small toy. Items removed – lights out – scouts draw item

  13. Long range Kim – patrols at one end of hall items/cards at the other Scouts use a torch to spot items and cards with letters on that spell a word.

  14. Bounce tennis balls into buckets in the dark – give buckets different points values or throw hula hoops over cones.

  15. Patrol given shadow hand shapes sheet – they each practice them, and then put on a display.

  16. Morse code – half patrol use torch to flash one word in Morse code e.g. name of a place such as Gilwell or Edinburgh etc. to other half of patrol. Then repeat with other half of patrol. Need to give scouts a Morse code sheet (Scouts find this activity difficult.)

  17. Paperclips – make longest chain (need lots of paper clips as it's difficult to undo quickly).

  18. Play skittles using glow sticks on neck of skittles.

  19. * **Glow stick trail – outside building – attach glow sticks to trees – use torch to follow trail.

  20. Scavenger hunt in the dark – scatter items in room – patrol collect specific items from a list.

  21. *Spotlight – Leader has a torch – patrol hides outside – time how long it takes to find them.

Risk Assessment

We have run these activities for many years without any problems.

However, the issues above are for dark night activities only.

Troops should already have in situ a risk assessment for troop games to cover slips & trips, first aid, poor behaviour etc.


Rex Hendricksen has sent in some great ideas

Issue 1

Whilst putting together this first issue of Scout & Scouting Rex contacted us in response to our appeal for those with some ideas for content that others would love to get in touch.

We had exchanged emails in the past; Rex has an extensive collection of scout games books and wrote to tell us about some of them. He mentioned theme nights and that he could get hold of activities based on clothes pegs or balloons or mouse traps. This last one sounds fun! He said that he picks an item then invents activities based on it.

He's continued to send us ideas for stunts, pioneering and songs - all very useful stuff that we will pass on in these pages from time to time.

One item that he sent us immediately caught our eye. In Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys he describes Kim's Game thus:

"Place about twenty or thirty small articles on a tray, or on the table or floor, such as two or three different kinds of buttons, pencils...and cover them over with a cloth...Then uncover the articles for one minute...Then cover them over again. Take each boy separately and let him whisper to you each of the articles that he can remember...The boy who remembers the greatest number wins the game." Pity the poor boy that was last to go! Rex's take on Kim's Game is to use two photos of mostly the same objects but in slightly different positions. You can show the scouts the first photo A for a minute or so then replace it with the second B and see who can write down most differences. In this way the game can also be played online. Thanks Rex - some are stinkers! The separate photos can be downloaded HERE.

There are 22 primary answers: Hand fork turned around; Type of screwdriver changed; Screw changed silver to brass; Screwdriver bit changed; Tape changed to 8cm was 10 cm; Rawlplug changed and moved; Knife turned over; Scissors open; Cord knot changed reef to sheet bend; Allen key introduced; Nut removed from nut bolt; Tin of paint turned around; Gwax turned through 90 degrees and moved; Cup hook changed brass to silver; No leather thong on fork; Pencil has changed now has rubber on it; G clamp closed and adjuster in the air; Paint brush changed; Pliers closed; Wire brush turned over; Stanley knife blade in; Battery changed


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