What’s your go-to indoor game for Scouting meetings?

Following tonight’s troop meeting program, the senior patrol leader had a game of capture the flag on the agenda. However, with strong thunderstorms rolling through the area, the SPL is at a loss for an impromptu fun indoor alternative.

So, our question is this: what are some good indoor games you’ve seen Scouts enjoy in a pinch?

What game might you recommend for this SPL? A board game? Card game? A knot-tying contest?

The Scouts could work on the Chess merit badge, which can include having a tournament. They could also design their own game, fulfilling a requirement for the Game Design merit badge.

And what if a den leader was faced with this scenario? What are some good indoor games for Cub Scouts?

Creating a game is a part of a Webelos elective adventure; Bears can play a challenge or initiative game and then reflect on it; playing a game and showing good sportsmanship counts in a Wolf adventure, and games make up several Lion and Tiger adventures.

Ideas from the archives

Here a few game ideas from the Scouting archives:

From the September 1948 issue: “Hike Equipment”

Equipment: Large sheets of paper and a pencil for each patrol.

Method: Number each sheet of paper. Patrols line up, facing the papers. On the signal “go,” the first player runs up and writes one item that patrol would take on an all-day hike — compass, first aid kit, matches, etc. Player runs back and touches player No. 2, who runs up, and so on.

Scoring: When a patrol has listed all the items numbered on the paper, the game is stopped. Papers are collected and each patrol’s work is judged. Players have a chance to defend their selections. Patrol with the best, most complete list wins.

(My note: This game is a fun way to go over the Scout Essentials.)

From the November 1951 issue: “Art Gallery”

Equipment: 15 to 20 pictures of well-known people. A paper and pencil for each Scout.

Method: Pictured are numbered and tacked to the wall. Scouts number their paper and go around the room, trying to identify the people and writing their names opposite the numbers on their paper.

Scoring: Score a point for each picture correctly identified. Most points wins.

(My note: This game doesn’t have to feature celebrities. The issue also suggests pictures of cars. You can also try photos of plants, animals, knots, famous Scouters, just about anything.)

From the January 1952 issue: “Morse Spelling Bee”

Equipment: A buzzer for Morse Code, and for each patrol a set of cards with letters from the alphabet.

Method: Scouts have cards with letters of the alphabet printed on them. Game leader signals a word. As the letters are signaled, Scouts place the proper cards on the floor in front of the patrol so that the word is spelled out. The game is played in absolute silence. Any noise detected eliminates that patrol from the game.

Scoring: Five points for each correct letter. Five points more if whole word is correct. Five points off for each incorrect letter.

(My note: This game is great if you’re working on the Signs, Signals and Codes merit badge.)

What to play?

What ideas do you have for a den of four or five Scouts? How about a troop of 40 to 50 Scouts? What are some fun games to play in a tent or under a rainfly on a campout or on the road heading to a campout?

About Michael Freeman 110 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.