At our last den meeting, we were tackling one of the many Cub Scout requirements about citizenship and what it means to be a good citizen. We’ve had discussions on this topic in the past, but I wanted to somehow make an example that the scouts could really understand, so we played a little game.
We have a large den of twelve scouts, so I divided them into four teams of three — you could use parents if you need more players. I whispered individual instructions to each team, but never told them what the game even was, or how it was played. There were a couple of balls and pool noodles placed in the middle of the yard. Here are the instructions I gave:
- Team 1: You can only kick the red ball and you can not use your hands.
- Team 2: You can only use your hands to touch the ball.
- Team 3: You can only use the foam noodles.
- Team 4: You can only kick the white ball, but you can’t score.
And then I shouted “Go!”
The scouts were confused for a minute, because there were no goals and the objective wasn’t clear, but that didn’t stop them from bursting into action — some players were kicking the balls, some were trying to hit them with foam noodles, and others were grabbing the balls in their hands and running around. It didn’t take long for frustration to set in — pool noodles were used for tug of war contests, and the scouts started yelling at the players who were picking up the balls and running away with them. Everyone was good and angry in mere minutes.
I blew the whistle and called them all in for a chat. Each team disclosed which rule they had been given, and everyone got a good laugh out of it. We talked about how rules and laws are important to not only games, but to life. Laws are necessary for a civilizations to exist — without them, there is chaos, as we observed in our little game. If individual groups have their own set of rules to follow, things don’t work.
After our discussion, we decided to make up rules for a new game using the balls and foam noodles, and spent the next ten minutes playing “Noodle Ball.” The scouts had a blast, and they went home that night with a real-world understanding of why rules exist — and as a bonus, we now have a new game that will probably become a staple for our den at future meetings.