On your next walk in the woods, encourage your Scouts to look closer at what’s around them. In fact, why not make a game out of it?
A Scouter in California has created a Backcountry Bingo Hunt game to encourage his Scouts to pay attention to the natural world. He’s made the cards available to fellow Scouters for free.
You can download and print the cards at this link (PDF). There are 12 different configurations, and the game can be played individually or in teams of two or more.
They’re the work of Kevin Bostwick of Troop 407, part of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council. Bostwick debuted the Backcountry Bingo cards on a recent troop hike in Mount San Jacinto State Park.
“I wanted to have an activity that would encourage the Scouts to pay attention to the backcountry details around them,” he says. “I Googled several scavenger hunt or bingo-type activities, but none of them were quite right.”
So he made his own, and they were a hit.
“The Scouts had a good time,” Bostwick says. “It actually created some great, sometimes hilarious, conversations between the Scouts and adult leaders.”
How to play Backcountry Bingo Hunt
- Print the Backcountry Bingo cards at this link.
- Share them with your youth leaders (senior patrol leader, Venturing crew president, etc.) for them to consider using on a future trip.
- Fill a square to earn one point. You can fill a square for things like spotting a mammal, picking up someone else’s trash or posing for a photo with a friend.
- Score bonus points for further identifying what you see. While you might get a point for seeing a tree, you’ll get three more for correctly saying what kind of tree it is.
- Other bonuses include:
- Five points for being the first player/team to fill in four squares in a row
- Five points for filling in all 16 squares
Competitive fun and a chance to more fully appreciate their surroundings? This is a game where everyone’s a winner.