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Helpful Hints for Planning Cub Scout Projects

Check out these helpful hints for planning Cub Scout projects. I share some of the things I learned when working with my Scouts on projects.

In the pre-2015 Cub Scout program, the Webelos Craftsman activity badge was my favorite of all the activity badges. The Scouts had opportunities to make very fun projects, and they learned valuable new skills in the process.

So, I was a little bummed when I realized that there wasn't an equivalent adventure in the new Cub Scout program. As I read through the requirements, I discovered that there are several Webelos/AoL elective adventures that have the Scouts building or creating something.

These Webelos/AoL projects take time to complete–especially if you pick a project that is a little more advanced. However, don't let that deter you from doing the fun projects that the Scouts really want to do

Yes, a craft stick picture frame is much easier to make than a cool Pinewood Derby car display, but which one will the kids still have 6 months from now? Which one will help them learn skills they don't already have?

Here are the electives and the project requirements:

Webelos/AOL Elective  –Adventures in Science 3d:  With adult supervision, build and launch a model rocket. Use the rocket to design a fair test to answer a question about force or motion.

Webelos/AOL ElectiveAdventures in Science 3e:  Create two circuits of three light bulbs and a battery. Construct one as a series circuit and the other as a parallel circuit.

Webelos/AOL ElectiveArt Explosion 3d:  Create a freestanding sculpture or mobile using wood, metal, papier-mâché, or found or recycled objects.

Webelos/AOL ElectiveBuild It 2:  With the guidance of your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, select a carpentry project and build it.

Webelos/AOL ElectiveEngineer 2b:  Using the blueprints or plans from your own design, construct your project. Your project may be something useful or something fun.

Webelos/AOL Elective – Engineer 4:  Pick and do two projects using the engineering skills you have learned. Share your projects with your den, and also exhibit them at a pack meeting.

Webelos/AOL Elective – Maestro! 2a:  Make a musical instrument. Play it for your family, den, or pack.

Webelos Craftsman Candy Dispenser

As my Webelos 2 den completed Craftsman, I learned several lessons along the way that might be helpful to you as you plan to complete the Cub Scout projects required in these electives.

  1. Each of the projects will take longer than you expect–even the simple ones.
  2. Select your projects early.
  3. Pick several options for each project. I considered cost, difficulty, safety and availability of needed equipment.
  4. Let the Scouts make the final decision about the projects. I had them vote on the ones they wanted to do out of the options I had picked.
  5. Order the supplies for your projects early. I had to shuffle our meeting schedule on one occasion because the supplies for the project hadn't arrived yet. Most of the supplies you might need can be ordered through my affiliate links to Amazon or Ebay.
  6. Make a prototype of your project prior to the meeting. This will help the Scouts visualize what they need to do.  It will also give you an opportunity to modify a bit if you need to.
  7. Consider whether you need to write your own instructions. For some of the projects, I simply printed the online instructions.  ther times, I wrote my own to make them more clear or to simplify them.
  8. If you need a special tool, check with others in your den and in your pack. For example, you might need a table saw. Most likely, another family in the pack has one.
  9. Prep your supplies prior to the meeting. Pre-cut or pre-drill anything that you need to. For example, we drilled the holes in the Altoid tins because we thought it would be unsafe for the Scouts to do it themselves.
  1. Plan for the most appropriate meeting place. Woodworking is best done in a garage rather than a classroom at a church or school.
  2. If possible, have a parent present for each Scout. Ask your pack committee members to help if necessary. Our Cubmaster filled in for a dad who was out of town.
  3. Give the parents the instructions for the projects prior to the meeting. This gives them an opportunity to review what they'll be helping with.
  4. Schedule longer meetings. My goal is for the Scouts to finish the project before they leave. A half finished project sent home may not be completed.
  5. Consider changing dates of meetings. We met for an entire afternoon while the Scouts were out of school for winter break, and we were able to complete two projects. Think about meeting on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Pinewood Derby Car Display
  1. Have enough tools for all the Scouts if possible. One of our projects required an electric drill. I forgot to ask parents to bring theirs, so we had 4 kids sharing 1 drill. This left too much waiting time for them.
  2. Plan activities for the waiting times. I made posters of the Boy Scout Oath, Law, Motto and slogan that I hung around the room. During down time, the Scouts practiced these.
  3. Have fun!  The Scouts (with your help) are not just making projects; they are building memories.

What other tips and tricks have you learned when planning Cub Scout projects?

Yours in Scouting,
Sherry

P.S. If these ideas were useful, sign up below for more helpful Cub Scout tips!

Sheila @ BrainPowerBoy

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015

Neat ideas and great tips. I will be sharing this and your site. Thanks

Sherry

Thursday 23rd of April 2015

Thanks so much!

Scout mom

Monday 8th of September 2014

I love the display stand. I see you were working on the instructions. Has it been posted on your site somewhere?

Miyuki Williams

Monday 10th of March 2014

Hi Sherry,

Is there a way to get access to the instructions for some of the projects that you did? I like the candy dispenser idea and the pinewood derby display as well pictured on the page. I would like to show these ideas to my Webelos.

Miyuki

Sherry

Monday 10th of March 2014

Hi, Miyuki! Writing up the instructions for those projects has been on my to-do list for a while! :)

The inspiration for the candy dispenser came from the Boys' Life website. Here's the link:

The Derby car display was one that my husband designed based on a picture I showed him. I'll move that one up to the top of my list so hopefully, it'll be posted in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks so much for reading!

Justin

Monday 13th of January 2014

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing Sherry. Going to share with the other parents.

Sherry

Saturday 18th of January 2014

Thanks, Justin! Hope it's helpful for everyone!