Cub Scout Ideas

This is a blog of different things I have done with my Cub Scout den. Let me know if you find it useful and I'll keep it up! If you have ideas to share, let me know! Mike


Fishing 101

With the Blue and Gold banquet behind us and Wolf badges completed, we are moving on to the extra awards! For the Cub Scout World Conservation Award, our scouts must complete all of the Fishing arrow points (Elective 19). Lucky for us, we meet in a gym, so we have plenty of room to practice our casting!

I picked up some gear the day before at the local Wal-mart. The guy in the sporting goods section was able to get me copies of the 2006 Illinois Fishing Information book issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. These are issued free by the State of Illinois, so he was able to give me a copy for each boy. The center of the book had great pictures of the fish of our state. As the boys gathered, they reviewed the pictures. As we had slack time throughout the night, I had one dad quizzing the boys with flashcards I had made from the pictures. (Elective 19a)

I brought in a section of a cane pole for each boy. If you don't have enough, get creative! We were one short and grabbed a piece of PVC pipe from our den doodle. We had the boys line up with their poles and cut out lengths of fishing line about one and a half times the length of the pole. You are guaranteed to see a lot of choice martial arts moves while they are waiting, so make sure your poles can take it!

The boys started by tying line to the end of the cane pole. A couple of overhand knots will do fine. Then we added our bobbers by wrapping the line under the spring. Next each boy added one piece of lead shot to the line below the bobber. Some boys had problems squeezing the shot closed, but a pair of needlenose pliers did the trick!

Then we tied on our hooks using a trilene knot. For safety, we used Christmas tree ornaments as our hooks. If you don't have any handy, bent paperclips would work too! Reshape either so the hook has a closed end. I printed a copy of the directions for a trilene knot for each boy, but it ended up being easier to show them (but nice to take home as a reminder!).

Finally, we added the worms! I picked up three packs of the most realistic looking rubber worms from Wal-mart. I had a lot of fun passing these out! We taught the boys to use the whole worm, passing the worm through the hook about every inch or so, making sure to let the ends of the worm dangle out. (Fishing Belt Loop requirement 2)

After the were done, we slid the whole rig to the bottom of the line, and tried it out in a clear plastic water pitcher. The boys learned that one piece of lead shot was not enough to make our bobbers stand up. After adding a few more, they were satisfied with their efforts! For a few boys, we put their rig in without any lead shot or with too much line so they would know what it meant if their bobber was lying flat on the water.

After getting a cane pole rigged up (Elective 19b, Fishing pin requirement 9), we practiced our casting with a rod and push-button reel. We tied a metal nut to the end of each line. Originally I was going to use a lead sinker, but the ones I brought were way too heavy! With a little flick, it easily crossed the gym. One nut per line (that we scrounged from the maintenace room) was just heavy enough to cast, and light enough not to go too far (or break anything).

For safety sake, give some thought about how you line up and space out the boys. We didn't, and were pretty lucky no one got clubbed. Step number one: check that no one is around you while you are casting. Step 2: press and hold the button with your thumb. Step 3: bring your rod back over your shoulder. Stop at 10 o'clock. Step 4: Using your wrist, snap the rod forward, releasing the button around 12 o'clock. Each boy practiced twice, and handed the rod to the next boy in line. (Elective 19f, Fishing pin requirement 6)

Towards the end, we had a lot boys who were having as much fun being a fish as a fisherman. I took the opportunity to show how to land a fish (a scout at the end of my line!). We talked about letting the fish take some of the line out, and listen to the sound the reel made. We saw how to set the drag on the reel to increase the line tension. Then I showed how to slowly pull up the line and reel in the slack.

Now all we need is some warmer weather to hit the lake...



Fun way to earn your Bowling Pin

We are going to have a pack meeting down at the Bowling Alley this month -- a perfect time to work on the Bowling Sports belt loop and pin. One of the requirements for the pin is to score a complete game. We wanted to do this in our den meeting, but how to do...?

One of our first ideas was to bowl with real pins, but we didn't think we would have enough time, and it would be difficult to have everyone participate. (My co-leader and I almost considered having them score us as we played each other!) It would be better if they could score their own game.

My lovely wife had the perfect idea: we made our own little pins out of polymer clay! We bought a 1.25 pound brick of white clay at the local Wal-mart for $5. A little work to roll it out, shape it, bake it, and put the famous red ring on the top with a marker, and we were in business! We grabbed some marble shooters from our daughter's marble collection for the bowling balls. We made 40 pins and still have more than half of the clay left!

We made four sets of pins, enough for our 8 boys. We had the boys sit across the table from their buddy, each with a score sheet and pencil. One boy would set the pins on one side of the table, and the other would "bowl" from the other side. They had fun learning how to keep score, and as Wolves, had pretty good practice at their math facts! (No calculators required!)

After we were done with a complete game, we learned the rules of courtesy and safety from the book. We talked through selecting a ball, and how to bowl using a four-step approach. The boys loved rolling their imaginary bowling balls at each other, knocking down the "Cub Scout pins"!

Resources online:


Fun Food Pyramid

Every year we have to do a food pyramid. If your like me, this is not your favorite. But the federal government has some good resources online to help make this fun. Yes, the food pyramid can actually be fun! My acid test is always asking my son what was his favorite part of the night. We usually have opening games while the boys arrive, so that can always be a safe answer for him. He actually enjoyed the food pyramid games, so there's something to this...

Get yourself some card stock (110 lb.) and print out the Go Fish cards. You will have over 100 cards from this, which was plenty for 12 boys. Try to plan ahead and borrow a paper cutter to cut these out. Your local Kinko's or OfficeMax may be able to help you with this as well. You can print out the directions for you and a helper, but I found that my boys all knew how to play Go Fish! Their rules were a little different than the rules I printed, and it made more sense for them to go with the rules they all knew. You will need to divide the cards into 2 decks. Make sure that each deck has roughly the same number of foods of each food group.

You will also want to make copies of some of the handouts. I used the MyPyramid for Kids poster, the Feed Me poster, the "Eat Smart with MyPyramid for Kids" handout, the MyPyramid Worksheet which can be used to meet Requirement 8b, and a couple of puzzle pages from the Team Up booklet. If I could only have one handout page, I would do the "Feed Me" poster. This is the one the boys will remember later.

As the boys gather, let them work on the puzzle pages. Sit the scouts down at two separate tables. Put a little bit of distance between them. Have your denner at one table and assistant denner at the other. Start by going through the food groups on the pyramid on the "MyPyramid for Kids" poster. If you aren't sure what to talk about, refer to the directions in Level 1 Lesson 1 and Level 1 Lesson 2. After they understand the basics, switch to the "Feed Me" poster. Talk about how much of each food group they should eat using the words "LESS, ENOUGH, MORE, and PLENTY". This is easier to figure out than the old "Cups" and "Servings" that we had to remember. Also talk about making good choices in each food group. The food names with white or purple shading are low in fat, while the food names in light and dark green are higher in fat.

Now that they know their food groups and how much to eat of each, play Go Fish! using the cards so that they will know the groups for the foods they eat. Here's the key: tell the boys that there will be a quiz after they play for 10 minutes. Each table will be a team. Whichever table knows their food groups the best will win! Let them play until they are bored. You may get some agruments over the rules to Go Fish! Remind the boys that the real contest is the quiz against the other team. Do what you can to encourage the play along, and have them focus on the foods. Walk around and comment on certain foods and the group they are in. Remind them there will be a quiz at the end.

When it's time, have them get up from the tables and form two lines. Review the food groups and "LESS, ENOUGH, MORE, and PLENTY". Tell them the quiz will consist of 3 foods for each team. The team will have to decide the food group. The correct answers are Grains, Vegatables, Fruits, Milk, and Meat & Beans. The team should discuss amongst themselves, but the team captain is the only one to answer for the team. The denner and assistant denner are the team captains. Pick cards from the decks. Go for the harder ones, like peanuts (Meat & Beans), pretzels (Grains), raisins (Fruits), etc. If a team misses, give the other team an opportunity to guess. If there is a tie after each team answers 3 questions, quiz them on "LESS, ENOUGH, MORE, and PLENTY". Each team member on our winning team got to add a Star bead to their strap on the den doodle. Give all the boys credit for Requirement 8a. Send them home with the the "Eat Smart with MyPyramid for Kids" handout and the MyPyramid Worksheet for Requirement 8b.

  • Wolf Requirement 8: Cooking and Eating
  • Go Fish cards. I think the color cards print out nicer than the black and white version, even on a black and white printer. NOTE: the filenames on the website are backwards. I've listed them correctly here (as of March 2006), but double check in case they fix the filenames on the website!
  • MyPyramid for Kids poster (print on a sheet of paper for each scout). Everything you need to know on the food pyramid. (Requirement 8a)
  • Feed Me poster (again print on a normal sized sheet of paper). This is the "Food Pyramid for Dummies" version. While the scouts may not remember much, make sure they remember"LESS, ENOUGH, MORE, and PLENTY". There is also a Move It poster, which is "Exercise for Dummies".
  • MyPyramid Worksheet for tracking food choices (Requirement 8b)
  • "Eat Smart with MyPyramid for Kids" handout. See page 3 of this file. Answer key is on page 4. This is a paper version of our team quiz.
  • Team Up booklet. I used the word search on page 9 and the hidden pictures on page 11.
  • I covered materials from the USDA's "Level 1 Lessons". Check out their classroom materials for other grades. Note that Level 1 is Grades 1 and 2, Level 2 is Grades 3 and 4, and Level 3 is Grades 5 and 6. Enough to get us all the way through Cub Scouting!
  • See also the Team Nutrition Resource Library. There is a lot of good stuff out there!
  • Online game to reinforce lesson