Backyard Jungle is one of the Tiger required adventures in the new Cub Scout program that becomes effective on June 1, 2015. This helps get the boys outside to discover all that nature has to offer!
The five parts of this adventure are:
1. Take a 1-foot hike. Make a list of the living things you find on your 1-foot hike.
2. Point out two different kinds of birds that live in your area.
3. Be helpful to plants and animals by planting a tree or other plant in your neighborhood.
4. Build and hang a birdhouse.
5. With your adult partner, go on a walk, and pick out two sounds you hear in your “jungle.”
Your Cub Scout will be amazed at what he can find in a 1-foot hike! You’ll want to make sure your son has a magnifying glass to see all that he can. Click through my Amazon affiliate link to check out this highly rated one. It’s 5″ in diameter, so the boys will be able to see a much bigger area than with most magnifying glasses.
Ways to Conduct the Hike
There are several ways you can conduct the hike.
1. Make it a Square Foot Hike – Give each boy a 4′ piece of string. Have them pick an area they like and lay out the string to form a square foot. For 10 minutes, they examine their square foot with the magnifying glass. Afterward, they can share what they found with the rest of the group.
2. Play “Do You See What I See?” – For this game, have each boy pick a partner. Partners decide on their one foot area. Have both boys stand behind a line about 10 feet away from the area they’ve chosen. Give the first boy a set amount of time (5 or 7 minutes would probably be best) to examine his area. He makes a list of everything he sees. When the time expires, he and his partner trade places. Give the partner the same amount of time to make his list. Have the boys compare lists and see who found the most things. After they compare, have both of them go back to their area to see if they can find more things working as a team.
3. Complete several 1-foot hikes during a regular hike – Since most of us hike in some kind of wooded area, the boys may be able to find things they wouldn’t if they complete the 1-foot hike in their backyards. Many hiking trails weave through different types of terrain. You may hike through a heavily wooded area, by a body of water or near an open field of wildflowers. By selecting more than one spot to have a 1-foot hike, the boys will be able to see different living things.
To add some excitement, tell the boys that they won’t know when you’ll call out for them to do a 1-foot hike. They need to be ready to quickly find the area they want to examine. Like before, give them a set amount of time to examine the area. Talk about what they found when the time is up. Continue your hike until you find another great spot for a 1-foot hike.
“Leave No Trace Principles”
Since we want to “Leave No Trace” of our hike, the boys shouldn’t dig or disturb the surface of the ground too much. My good friend Betsy gave me several good ideas to help with that. She suggested that we find an area with lots of nooks and crannies to explore without digging. Fallen logs in the woods and grass offer lots of possibilities. Or they can look at a garden with mulch that they can gently push aside.
Betsy also shared these great ideas. We can expand the area beyond just looking at the ground. Go up the plants on your 1- foot space because there is lots to observe on a plant too–the colors, shape of the leaves, texture, bugs or other animals that might be there. The boys might also want to look for shadows. They could look for where the sun is and talk about the path it takes through the sky and how that affects what grows on the opposite sides of trees and rocks.
Recording The Findings
There are a few ways that the boys can record what they found:
- Make a simple list.
- Draw pictures of what they find.
- Make a plot by drawing a large square on their paper and have them indicate where in the square they saw the different living things.
While a 1-foot hike doesn’t sound that exciting at first, your Cub Scouts will be amazed at what they can discover.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a bug container like this Critter Shack to catch some bugs while you’re out! Just remember to let them go before the end of your den meeting. 🙂
What other ideas do you have for the 1-foot hike?
Yours in Scouting,