Cub Scout Day Camp Downtime

Cub Scout Day Camp Downtime Activities


Cub Scout Day Camp Downtime

So, you’re a Den Leader for Day Camp. Congratulations, you’ve got one of the most exhausting, fun, and unforgettable experiences ahead of you. There will be lots of activities for them to be running around, and to tire them out, so that bit’s handled. There will be things like archery, field sports, and hikes to keep the kids active. That will probably be handled by the day camp staff, but what about the rest of the time? What about the bits of Cub Scout day camp downtime between activities?

There are parts of the day when you want the boys to catch their breath. So here are a few quiet activities to keep your Cubs minds working. I like to keep Cub Scouts confused. Not in a mean way, in a “they have a puzzle to solve, and boys this age love solving puzzles.”

So here are a few things to have in your pocket for day camp this summer – and none of them require any props or preparation at all.

Coffee and “T”

No, you’re not actually going to caffeinate your Cub Scouts. That would be a bad idea. This is another word game to get them thinking. First, get your den in a circle. Then, you start with a story about your odd grandmother. You tell the group that there are certain things she likes, and other things she hates. They have to figure out what she’ll love and what she’ll hate.

The body of the game works in pairs of items, one she’ll love and one she’ll hate. You start with, “My Grandmother Loves Coffee, but hates T.”

You can then throw out a few examples, like “My grandmother loves leaves but hates trees.”

“She loves dogs but hates cats.”

“She loves birds but hates feathers.”

Then you go around the group, with the players throwing out pairs of words. They’re trying to figure out the pattern. You can go around the circle until everyone gets the pattern, or you run out of time. Then you can tell everyone the pattern.

She loves coffee, but hates T… as in the letter “T”. So she hates words containing the letter “T”, and loves every other word.

This is one of those games that the kids might figure out before the adults, and that they’ll be playing with their parents when they get home.


The Green Glass Door

green glass door photo

Photo by CJS*64

The format here is similar to the last game. You sit in a circle, and kids have to figure out the secret of the game. In this case, the kids have to figure out which things can go through the Green Glass Door, and which things cannot. So, for example, trees can go through the Green Glass Door, but sticks cannot.

Bees can go through the Green Glass Door, but spiders cannot. Sweets can go through the Green Glass Door, but candy cannot.

The trick to this one is that words with double letters will go through the door. Simple as that. Another one that the kids will love once they figure it out, and they’ll be throwing out examples on the trail as you go from activity to activity.


The Umbrella Game

umbrella photo

Photo by dlg_images

Now, here’s another “get the group thinking game” for day camp downtime.

Here’s the setup, “I’m having a party, but if you want to come to my party, you need to be a good party guest, and bring something to my party. Some items will get you into my party, and some will not.”

You start, and say that you’ll bring an “UMbrella.” The key to this game is that the person has to lead off their present with “um.”

So an apple won’t get you in to the party, but “um, an apple”, will. It’s that simple, but it’ll take the kids a while to figure it out. They’ll also probably get it by accident a few times before actually figuring it out.

Extra creativity points for kids who throw in words that start with “um”, like “umpire”, “umbrage”, or my personal favorite, “umlaut.”


The Don’t Smile Game (or the Smile Showdown)

Okay, if those day camp downtime activities seem complicated, this one is as simple as it gets.

You line up the kids in a line, and tell them not to smile. The kids who smile are out. You then, as an adult have to get them to smile. Either by telling jokes, making faces, or being otherwise silly.


Duck Duck Duck

I’ve invented very few things in my life, but this is one of them. It’s mine. You can steal it, make it your own. You can start your own blog and say it’s yours, and only you and I will know where it came from. I like it that much.

So here’s how it works, when your den is sitting around in a circle between activities, you start an impromptu game of Duck Duck Goose… except, this is Duck Duck Duck. There’s no goose in this version of the game. It will confuse the scouts greatly, and also get them laughing.

“Far less running in Duck Duck Duck!”


Work on Your Song or Skit For Closing Campfire

Need a song for closing campfire? We’ve got those! Need a skit? We’ve got those too!


And Last, but Not Least

Day camp downtime is a great time to just sit with the kids and talk. Talk about what it means to be a cub scout. Talk about the Scout Oath or Law. Have a discussion about something that happened during the day, and what they learned from it. Tell them about the adventures of Scouting that they haven’t experienced yet, but that they will in the coming years.

Let them ask questions. Let them tell jokes.


Further Reading

Going to resident camp? Check out our guide to Summer Camp Essentials.

Photo by woodleywonderworks

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