10 emergency activities

Games Feature 3 Emergency_banner

We all know that even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. Fortunately, Scout Leaders are a resourceful bunch – we asked you for your fail-safe suggestions that are guaranteed to entertain, even at short notice

Be prepared!

Baden-Powell wasn’t kidding! Having a stockpile of items for emergencies is just good sense. Your kit might include paper, pens, glue and sticky tape, toilet rolls, plastic bottles… It’s also worth remembering that Explorers are great at inventing their own games, which can then be adapted for other sections. Equally, they’ll happily play games intended for Scouts, Cubs and even Beavers. Simple, fun games can make great icebreakers, while corporate team-building exercises make good fillers for Scout Network meetings.

1) 1-2-3
‘Form teams of three and assign each member a number from one to three. When the Leader calls out a number, the other two numbers must join hands and chase that number. As soon as someone has been caught (touched), the Leader calls out a different number. The other two numbers have to join hands before they can start the chase. All the teams stay in their original threes. You need plenty of space as it is organised chaos! Wind the game up as the teams get tired.’
Roger Hazelden, Scout Leader, 
38th Woolwich (St Thomas’)

2) Mystery tour
‘Set out from your meeting place suitably clad and armed with a coin and a street map of the area. Each time you get to a junction let a Cub toss the coin: heads, you go left; tails, turn right. There is an air of adventure about this activity because nobody knows where it will end, not even Akela. After a given time limit everyone returns to the meeting place for a drink – a hot one in the winter!’
Sue Eastick, Assistant District Commissioner Cub Scouts, Basingstoke West

3) Sharkey Sharkey
‘Three Beavers are chosen to be sharks, while all others line up against a wall. The sharks chant, “Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, come swim in my sea!” The others reply, “Sharkey, Sharkey, Sharkey, you can’t catch me!” and dash to the other end of the room/area. Any fish caught by the sharks turn into poisonous seaweed, and are rooted to the spot. The chants repeat as fish dash from one side to the other. The poisonous seaweed can tag runners too, but cannot move from their spot. After a few repetitions only a few fish will remain – they are the winners. At any point to liven up the game, the Leader can call “Shark attack!” and all the poisonous seaweed turns into sharks and can run about catching fish. Beavers never tire of this and I often find Cubs and Scouts who have played it as a Beaver joining in, wallowing in nostalgia, given half a chance!’
Helen Finch, Beaver Scout Leader, Hambledon Village

4) The human table
‘Four Scouts sit on four stools arranged in a tight square. Get them to lean back so that each Scout’s head is resting on the next Scout’s knees. Once everyone is ready, the Scouts lift their hips off the stools, which are then removed, leaving the Scouts holding this position unaided. This creates a balancing effect, as each Scout is held up by the others. We did this – Scouts loved it!’
Julian Morgans, Assistant Scout Leader, 44th Swansea

5) Submarines
‘One Scout is blindfolded and seated in the middle of the room, equipped with a torch. Under their chair is a set of jangly keys. Dim the lights in the room. The rest of the group must now attempt to creep up and grab the keys, being as quiet as possible. The seated Scout uses the torch to detect those creeping up. If caught in the beam the other Scouts are out and have to retreat, to try again. It’s a nice quiet game for 15 minutes!’
Simon Alexander, Scout Leader,
9th Pinner

6) Fitness challenge
‘We have set up a system with our Scouts so that we can run elements of the Fitness Challenge at short notice. The score sheets for the whole Troop are kept in the Troop book, which is stored in the hut, enabling us to carry out several disciplines from press-ups to burpees and sit-ups. Having run this from time to time over a period of a few months, most Scouts have now gained the award, with no noticeable loss in programme time.’
Tony Jay, Group Scout Leader,
26th Colchester

7) Fruit salad
‘Form Beavers into a circle and name each one alternately after one of four fruits, the funnier the better, eg the Ugli fruit. Call out the name of a fruit and the Beavers with that name run around the outside of the circle in a clockwise direction back to their place. The last one to return to their spot is out and turns round. As the Beavers thin out you can call “Fruit Salad!” and all left in run around, which saves someone from running around on their own. The last one in is the winner. This game can also be adapted for any occasion by changing the fruits for something tied into the theme for that meeting.’
Avril Howell, Group Scout Leader, 6th Lewisham South

8) Ninja!
‘This game took over the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden last year. The object is to use your hand to touch your opponent’s hand. Players stand in a circle and place their hands together. After a count of “three, two, one” each player must jump backwards and strike a ninja pose. Players then take turns trying to swipe at their opponents’ hands, starting in an anticlockwise direction. An attack must be a single fluid motion, and you can only move to make an attack or dodge an attack. On your turn, instead of attacking, you also have the option to reposition your current stance. All other players must stay frozen. After attacking or dodging, you must freeze. If a player’s hand is touched or they move from their frozen position when not attacking or being attacked, then they are out of the game. The winner is the last player left. A fun game requiring agility, quick reactions and the ability to freeze.’
Julian Morgans, Assistant Scout Leader, 44th Swansea

9) Corners
‘My Beavers love playing Corners, which is tied into whatever topic we have covered during the meeting. The four corners of the hall are named after specific objects or events. When a name or phrase is called out, the Beavers run to that particular corner. The last one there is out. The game can also be adapted by using the Beaver Promise to name the four corners: Be kind, Do my best, Be helpful and Love God. This teaches the new Beavers the Promise and reminds the older ones of its elements. Simple, effective and fun!’
Cathy Mill, District Beaver Scout Leader, 29th South West Leeds

10) Fish frenzy
‘Roughly cut out some large fish shapes from tissue paper or newspaper. You’ll also need a few thick pieces of cardboard. Using the cardboard as wafters, challenge teams to make their fish swim from one end of your Scout HQ to the other. The first team to complete the course is the winner. To extend the game, you could make a shoal of fish, or get Scouts to design their own wafters by asking them to consider which shapes and sizes are most effective.’
Yve O’Neill, Group Scout Leader,
3rd Cardigan

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