Scouting Games from the 1908 Scouting for Boys Handbook

Second Class Scout Knot Tying, p. 33.  Tie four of the following knots in less than 30 seconds each knot:  Bowline, fisherman's bend, reef knot [square knot], clove hitch, sheet bend.

Ingonyama Song (The Scout's Chorus), p. 40.  To be shouted on the march, or as applause at games, meetings, etc. Must be sung exactly in time.
   Leader: Een gonyama--gonyama
   Chorus: Invooboo.
     Yah bobo! Yah bo!

   The meaning is--
   Leader: He is a lion!
   Chorus: Yes! He is better than that; he is a hippopatamus!

Kim's Game, p. 48.  Place about twenty or thirty small articles on a tray, or on the table or floor, such as two or three different kinds of buttons, pencils, corks, rags, nuts, stones, knives, string, photos -- anything you can find -- and cover them over with a cloth or coat.  Then uncover the articles for one minute by your watch... Then cover them over again.  The boy who remembers the greatest numbers wins the game.

Morgan's Game, p. 49.  Scouts are ordered to run to a certain hoarding where an umpire is already posted to time them.  They are each allowed to look at this for one minute, and then to run back to headquarters and report to the instructor all that was on the hoarding in the way of advertisements.

Debates, Trials, etc., p. 49.  A good exercise for a winter's evening in the clubroom is to hold a debate on any subject of topical interest, the Instructor acting as chairman.  He will see that there is a speaker on one side prepared before hand to introduce and support one view of the subject, and that there is another speaker prepared to expound another view.

Scout's War Dance, p. 50.
    Scouts form up in one line with leader in front, each holding his staff in the right hand, and his left on the next man's shoulder.
    Leader sings the Ingonyama song.  Scouts sing chorus, and advance to their front a few steps at a time, stamping in unison on the long notes.
    At the second time of the singing they step backwards.
    At the third, they turn to the left, still holding each other's shoulders, and move round in a large circle, repeating the chorus until they have completed the circle.

Thimble Finding (Indoors), p. 75.  Take a thimble, ring, coin, bit of paper, or any small article, and place it where it is perfectly visible but in a spot where it is not likely to be noticed.  Let the patrol come in and look for it. When one of them sees it he should go and quietly sit down without indicating to the others where it is.  [Hide multiple items and have each patrol look for a different item, to prevent cheating.]

Shop Window (Indoors version), p. 75.  Send each scout in turn into a room for half a minute; when he comes out take down a list of furniture and articles which he noticed.  The boy who noticed most wins.

Spotting the Spot, p. 75.  Show a series of photos or sketches of objects, in the neighborhood such as would be known to all the scouts if they kept their eyes open -- such, for instance, as cross-roads, curious window, gargoyle or weathercock, tree, reflection in the water (guess the building causing it), and so on.  [e.g. picture part of the scout store, part of the Capitol, a store at the mall, parks, Boise river, etc.]

Scout's Nose, p. 76.  Prepare a number of paper-bags, all alike, and put in each a different smelling article such as chopped onion in one, tar in another, rose leaves, leather, aniseed, violet powder, orange-peel, etc.  Put these packets in a row a couple of feet apart and let each competitor walk down the line and have five seconds' sniff at each.  At the end he has one minute in which to write down or to state to the umpire the names of the different objects smelled, from memory, in their correct order.

Track Memory, p. 88.  Make a patrol sit with their feet up so that other scouts can study them.  Give the scouts, say, three minutes to study the boots.  Then leaving the scouts in a room or out of sight let one of the patrol make some foot-marks in a good bit of ground.  Call up the scouts one by one and let them see the track and say who made it.  [Two patrol competition.  They each sit and let the other patrol memorize their shoes.  Then each picks one patrol member to mark the ground.  Maybe put up a sheet or have them each do it on opposite sides of a building or tent.]

Games and Competition in Deduction, p. 95.  Get some people who are strangers to the boys to come along as passers-by in the street or road, and let the boys separately notice all about them; and after an interval ask each for a full description of each of the passers-by as to appearance, peculiar recognisable points, and what he guesses his business to be; or let each boy have two minutes' conversation with your friend and try to find out what he can about him in that time by questioning and observation.

Plants, p. 123.  [Have leaves or parts of many common plants and have patrol identify them.]

Knot tying, p. 129.  [Tie the original 7 knots in Scouting for Boys:  1. Reef Knot, 2. Sheet Bend, 3. Clove Hitch, 4. Two Half-Hitches, 5. Bowline, 6. Overhead Knot, 7. Middleman's Knot]

Judging Heights and Distances, p. 171.  [Judge the height of a tree and distance between two objects.  Give points for accuracy.]

Find the North, p. 173.  Each scout lays down his staff on the ground pointing to what he considers the exact north, without using any instrument.  The one who guesses nearest wins.

Signals and Signs, p. 178.  [The patrol leader sends his patrol through a minefield or to find a treasure by directing them with hand signs that follow.]
Hand Signals, which can also be made by patrol leaders with their patrol flags when necessary:
    Hand waved several times across the face from side to side, or flag waved horizontally from side to side opposite the face means: "No; Never mind; As you were."
    Hand or flag held high, and waved very slowly from side to side at full extent of arm, or whistle a succession of slow blasts means: "Extend; Go further out; Scatter."
    Hand or flag held high and waved quickly from side to side at full extent of arm, or whistle a succession of short, quick blasts means: "Close in; Rally; Come here."
    Hand or flag pointing in any direction means: "Go in that direction."
    Hand or flag held straight up over head, means: "Stop"; "Halt".

Old Spotty-face, p. 192. (To develop eyesight).--Prepare squares of cardboard divided into about a dozen small squares. Each scout should take one, and should have a pencil and go off a few hundred yards, or, if indoors, as far as space will allow. The umpire then takes a large sheet of cardboard, with twelve squares ruled on it of about three inch sides if in the open, or one and a half to two inches if indoors. The umpire has a number of black paper discs (half an inch diameter) and pins ready, and sticks about half a dozen on to his card, dotted about where he likes. He holds up his card so that it can be seen by the scouts. They then gradually approach, and as they get within sight they mark their cards with the same pattern of spots. The one who does so at the farthest distance from the umpire wins. Give five points for every spot correctly shown, deduct one point for every two inches nearer than the furthest man. This teaches long sight.

Quick Sight, p. 193. Quick Sight can also be taught with the same apparatus [see Old Spotty-face above], by allowing the scouts to come fairly close, and then merely showing your card for five seconds, and let them mark their cards from memory. The one who is most correct wins.

Wrist Pushing, p. 194.  Played by two boys half facing each other, each putting out the wrist nearest to is opponent, at arm's length, pressing it against the other's wrist and trying to turn him round backwards.

Song:  Hearts of Oak, p. 202.  [Official song of the Royal Navy of the UK.  Find on the Internet, one site is at The American version is called The Liberty Song and can be found at]

Flinging the Squaler, p. 253.  The squaler is a piece of cane, 19 inches long, loaded at the butt with 1 3/4 lb. of lead, and having attached to it at the other end of a life-saving line of six-thread Italian hemp.  The target is a crossbar and head, life-size, representing the head and arms of a drowning man, planted in the ground twenty yards away.  Each competitor throws in turn from behind a line drawn on the ground; he may stand or run to make the throw.  Whoever throws the furthest wins, provided that the line falls on some part of the dummy, so that it could be caught by the drowning man.

Bucket Brigade, p. 253.  Practice making two lines of bucket-men, for full and empty buckets.  [See how fast they can fill a tub up, etc.]

Ladders, p. 262.  Make ladders out of poles, twine, and cross sticks.

Dragging Race, p. 272.  A line of patients of one patrol are laid out at one hundred yards distance from start.  Another patrol, each carrying a rope, run out, tie ropes to the patients, and drag them in.  Time taken of last in.  Patrols change places.  The one which completes in shortest time wins.  Knots must be correctly tied, and patients' coats laid out under their heads.

Shoot Out, p. 287.  Two patrols compete.  Targets:  Bottles or bricks set up on end to represent the opposing patrol.  Both patrols are drawn up in line at about 20 to 25 yards from the targets.  At the word "fire' they throw stones at the targets.  Directly a target falls the umpire directs the corresponding man of the other patrol to sit down--killed.  The game goes on, if there are plenty of stones, till the whole of one patrol is killed.  Or a certain number of stones can be given to each patrol, or a certain time limit, say one minute.

French and English, p. 287.  Tug of War -- One patrol against another.

The Storming of Badajoz, p. 287.  One patrol (French) mounts on a very strong kitchen-table, or bank, and holds it against all comers.  The British attack, and try to gain possession of the fortress by pulling the defenders off.  Defenders may have half their number on the ground behind the 'rampart'.  If the defenders pull a Briton over the rampart on to the ground behind he is dead.  No hitting or kicking allowed.
Badajoz was a Spanish fortress held by 5,000 French and Spaniards.  It as attacked, and stormed, and taken by the British, who lost 3,500 in the assault, on March 17th, 1812.

Song:  Boom-a-tata, p. 322.  Includes complete words and music.

Throwing the Assegai, p. 324.  Target, a thin sack, lightly stuffed with straw, or a sheet of cardboard, or canvas stretched on a frame.  Assegais to be made of wands, with weighted ends sharpened, or with iron arrow-heads on them.
[Assegais are javelins, usually with an iron head, used by Zulu and other African tribes]

How to Make a Tent, p. 326.  [Lash seven staves together to make the tent frame, throw tarp over the top, fasten ends to stakes in the ground.  See pictures in book.]

Fire-lighting Race, p. 326.  To collect material, lay, and light a fire till the log given by the umpire is alight.

On Trek, p. 330.  [Send groups of scouts to three different distances and compass directions.  They follow directions and report back what they saw at each location.  Plant special items at each location for them to see.  Award points for how many they get right.]