List some of the things that make your insides quake with fear and trepidation at the mere thought that you have to participate – gum surgery, testifying before Congress, leading a den meeting . . . Yes, I know. Some of us who step up to the plate as den leaders are woefully unprepared. It sounds so easy – just read the Den Leader Guide and do what it says. How tough can it be, really? In reality, keeping the attention of today’s youth who are used to being anesthetized by video games is not for the faint of heart. You need some tools in your arsenal to pull out at a moment’s notice when things seem to be slipping away. The answer is as simple as it is complex; you need games.
Games – the real, honest-to-goodness, physical activity required type – will help. Over the years, I developed and improved on the Game Box concept. This box holds the keys to the attention-grabbing universe; it can turn a den meeting from a snooze-fest into a rousing success in a few short minutes. I eventually included the chart below so I could more easily share this concept. Here are a few simple steps:
- Go to Harbor Freight and get an inexpensive tool bag. I like the one with wheels and a telescoping handle for easy transportation.
- Head to the dollar/discount store for supplies.
- Print your list of games that are do-able with the items in your game box.
That’s it; three simple steps. Here’s my game box list; feel free to use it as a springboard to develop one of your own.
|STRAWS & COTTON BALLS||TABLE TOP SOCCER|
|SPOONS & COTTON BALLS OR TENNIS BALLS||RELAY RACE|
|STRAWS & PING PONG BALLS||TABLE TOP SOCCER|
|BALLOONS & STRING||BALLOON VOLLEYBALLOR SOCCER|
|TOSS FOR DISTANCE|
|ROLLED UP SOCK||SOCK BASEBALL|
|ROPES||KNOT TYING PRACTICE|
|MILK CARTONS & BEAN BAGS||CATCH|
|PUZZLES||MAKE YOUR OWN|
|POPSICLE STICKS||MAKE YOUR OWN PUZZLE|
|DECK OF CARDS||CONCENTRATION|
There is nothing special about this list of activities. The uniqueness lies in the fact that it is all pulled together in one place, ready for action. The boys in my dens quickly learned they could access the Game Box, keep themselves occupied, and not get in trouble with the Den Leader. A win-win! This is a great way to get the boys engaged right out of the starting gate and will allow you a chance to get your activity for the den meeting set up.
I’d love to hear from any of you who have used similar ideas or have some additions to the Game Box. I’m always looking for great game ideas.
Remember, if YOU’RE not having fun in Scouting, you’re not doing it right!