It's important for our Scouts to know the Cub Scout Six Essentials for Hiking. This is one of the first steps in teaching them how to enjoy the outdoors safely.
Just telling the kids about them is too passive–our Cub Scouts need to stay active. So Laura, our Wolf and Bear den leader, came up with this fun game to learn about and assemble the six essentials.
The Scouts in Laura's dens accomplished three things with the game. They:
- Reviewed Bobcat requirements
- Learned about and assembled the Cub Scout Six Essentials
- Worked on the Wolf adventure, Running with the Pack.
But they never knew they were “working on advancement.” What they knew was that they were having tons of fun!
Supplies for the Cub Scout Six Essentials Game
Here is the supply list for the Six Essentials activity and where Laura got them. To make it easy for you to order these, I've included my affiliate links for some of them.
- Plastic gallon bag with a zipper top. You can buy these almost anywhere from Amazon to your grocery store.
- Sharpie for writing kids' names onto bags. You can write their names on the bags before the meeting.
- First aid kit supplies. For a simple kit, Laura used 1 large bandage, 2 small bandages, 1 alcohol wipe and 1 travel packet of antibiotic ointment. If you want a container, use an empty pill bottle or a travel soap dish.
- Whistles. You can get these at local party supply stores, or you can order them online from companies such as Shindigz.
- Bottled water for each kid.
- Sun protection. These single-use sunscreen packets are great for this activity. A locally owned drug store gave Laura free lip balm with SPF, so she opted to use those instead.
- Flashlights. Laura found promotional item flashlights that a company was giving away, and they offered to give her enough for the dens. You can also order these flashlight keychains from Shindigz.
- Trail food. The Scouts can make trail mix, or you can purchase these individual serving packs.
You've probably realized that some of the items I mentioned earlier are not adequate for a hike–especially a long one. You can explain this to the Scouts as you're talking about them.
If you want to make a Cub Scout Six Essentials kit that is a bit more functional than this one, consider having each parent bring the supplies for their child so that the den doesn't have to spend too much money.
Instructions for Cub Scout Six Essentials Game
Laura started the activity by briefly discussing the Cub Scout Six Essentials and what each would be used for. The Scouts looked at the pictures of the essentials that are in their books. Laura explained sun protection could mean a hat or sunscreen. She then told them that the lip balm they were getting for their Six Essentials kit had sunscreen in it.
Here are the handbook page numbers where the Scouts can find the list of the Six Essentials.
Tigers – Tigers in the Wild page 95 (2015 & 2018 printing)
Wolves – Call of the Wild page 33 (2015 printing) or page 27 (2018 printing)
Bears – Fur, Feathers, and Ferns page 75 (2015 printing) or page 91 (2018 printing)
Each kid received a gallon storage bag with the slider on the top, which are easier for them to open. Don't forget to write their names on them!
Note: Although they aren't called the “six essentials,” the Lion rank requirements for the Mountain Lion adventure have the Scouts learning about the items needed on an outdoor adventure.
We had our popcorn sale kickoff right before this den meeting, and the kids got a bag of popcorn. Rather than making or purchasing trail mix, Laura decided to use their popcorn as trail food. She asked them to put their bags of popcorn into the storage bag.
Then the fun really started!
Laura set up five stations and asked a parent to man each one. At the station, the Scouts had to do something in exchange for an item on the Cub Scout Six Essentials list. They split up and rotated through them.
First Aid Kit
Here, the Cub Scouts played a game loosely based on Simon Says. The parent called out either “Scout Sign” or “Scout Salute.” They had to demonstrate which one was called out. If everyone was correct, the Scouts got an item for their first aid kits.
They played four rounds until they received all the items for the first aid kit. Laura used mostly items she had at home for the first aid kits. Here's what was handed out to them.
- 1 large adhesive bandage
- 2 small adhesive bandage
- 1 travel packet of antibiotic cream
- 1 alcohol wipe
She had the Scouts place everything into their storage bag. If you wanted to have a self-contained first aid kit, you could put the supplies in a smaller zipper bag, an empty pill bottle or even in a travel soap container.
Another alternative is to play only one round, and give the Scouts a pre-packaged first aid kit.
At the whistle station, the Scouts demonstrated the Cub Scout Handshake and talked about what it meant. In exchange, they got their whistle! The Cub Scouts learned that the whistle is ONLY to be used in an emergency, but they got to practice blowing it a couple of times. It then went into the storage bag.
Here, all of the Scouts (including the Bears) worked on requirement 5 of the Wolf adventure, Running with the Pack. They needed to do two of the following: frog leap, inchworm walk, kangaroo hop or crab walk.
The Cub Scouts inchworm walked or kangaroo hopped their way from a starting point to an adult. When they got there, they told the adult what the Scout Sign means. Then they crab walked or frog leaped back to the starting point where they got their lip balm to put in their bag!
To get their water bottles, the kids completed requirement 2 of the Wolf Running with the Pack Adventure and explained what the Scout Salute means.
The Scouts demonstrated that they could keep their balance while walking forward toward a point. Without turning around, they walked backward back to the adult and explained what the Scout Salute means. Finally, they walked sideways to another adult who gave them their bottle of water.
To complete requirement 3 of the Running with the Pack adventure, the Cub Scouts needed to do a front roll, a back roll and a frog stand.
Laura ran this station, and she started the activity by attempting to model a frog stand. It is very hard to do. She explained to them that she couldn't do a frog stand, but she was trying her best and that was what mattered. It didn't matter that they couldn't do the frog stand as long as they did their best. As each kid tried, Laura asked, “Did you do your best?”
After the frog stand, the Scouts did their front and back rolls and repeated the Cub Scout Motto. They got their flashlights and added them to their Cub Scout Six Essentials bag.
I LOVE this station because it embodies the spirit of the Cub Scout Motto. The Scouts are not only told that doing their best was most important, but they saw it being modeled as well. A leader couldn't do the frog stand, but she did her best. And that was OK.
Laura did a great job of planning this meeting! The kids learned about the Cub Scout Six Essentials, they reviewed the Bobcat requirements and they were active while they did it! And they had fun.
Have you created a super-fun den meeting? I would love to hear about it, so leave me a comment below.
Yours in Scouting,