Camping Gear Outlet

MAY SALES EVENT ends 05/31/24! $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more. Code: 24MAY

Traditional Games to Develop Scouting Skills at Night

by Liz Childers

The nighttime introduces you to many scouting skills. The deep darkness of the night puts your other senses to work. An experienced scout can also tell you that finding one’s way around the woods is much more difficult once the Sun goes down. Most scouts get the opportunity to learn and use nighttime skills while on camping trips. A campout is the perfect time to get real life experience taught by a skilled Scoutmaster.

With younger Scouts heading into the woods for the first time, it is a good idea to assimilate to the darkness. By developing nighttime ears, eyes, and noses, Scouts will more easily be able to use real outdoors skills. Here are a few traditional Scouting night games to get the young Scouts adjusted.

Creeping Scouts
To help Scouts develop their nighttime eyes so they can distinguish shadows and colors, try playing the Creeping Scouts game. All Scouts start this game with three “lives.” Choose a Scout as the “seeker” and have the Scoutmaster stand with him to be the umpire of the game. The seeker should stand in a large field or another space that has a good amount of open space; the other Scouts run away in any direction they like.

After a set amount of time, the Scoutmaster should blow his whistle; this is the signal for all the “hiders” to slowly begin to creep closer to the “seeker.” When the seeker thinks he sees someone, he points to the spot and the Scoutmaster goes and checks. If someone is there, they must come in and sit next to the seeker or forfeit a life and go back in the field to begin creeping closer again. If no one is there, the seeker loses a life. When the seeker loses all of his lives, a new seeker is chosen; when a hider loses his life, he comes and sits next to the seeker.

Tick, Tock
If a Scout can distinguish even the faintest of sounds in the woods, it could mean the difference in life or death. To start developing night ears, play the Tick, Tock game, which encourages scouts to listen for quiet sounds – like the ticking of a clock.

Begin with the Scoutmaster inside a tent and all the Scouts in a circle outside. The Scoutmaster should make different noises that a Scout might hear in the woods, like crunch leaves or tap a fork on a tin bowl. Start with a few practice rounds. Then, the Scoutmaster can make a series of noises. The Scout who can identify the source of each noise, in order, gets to be the new noisemaker.

Master Scout’s Nose
Correct identification of plants is important in both the day and nighttime if a Scout is in a survival situation and needs food! However, a lost Scout may be able to discover information about where he is at night. Master Scout’s Nose challenges Scouts to correctly identify natural objects simply by their scent.

To play, the Scoutmaster should collect a number of objects from around the campsite, and store them in brown paper lunch bags. Include things like herbs, old ash, wildflowers, and moss. Scouts can smell in each bag and try to guess what is inside. The Scout who gets the most correct has the Master Scout’s Nose!