Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Compass games and activities page 1
Compass games and activities page 1
Marshall & Ruth
Thu, 17 Jun 1999 20:51:36 +1000
Well l have put together all the wonderful ideas l have received re compass
ideas, so now it is my turn to share it with you all.
Thank you everyone for their help....... we should have lots of fun learning
at first you divide part of a room or open area or whatever into
different sections. These become N, W, S, E, NW, NE, SW, SE, and so on
depending on the number of kids. Then you put one kid in each section
and have everybody to sit down. Stand in the middle. When you call East
the kid in the east has to stand up and so on. Hope that helps.
I have a compass game that I have used several times with
11-12 year old boys, and they seem to enjoy it quite a bit.
I've even had them request it! Unfortunately I can't seem to
find the file where I had written it up (must be on the old
hard drive :-( ) but basically here's what is involved:
The purpose of the game is to teach Scouts how to take
compass bearings. This is done by having them take a series
of bearings in a room (or campsite) and writing the letter
they find at each one. If done correctly, they will spell a
I use 16 letters (you could use fewer to make it easier),
placed on the walls around the room in such a way that the
boy stands in one spot in the center (marked with a X of
tape on the floor) to take all the bearings (that way he
doesn't have to worry about whether he's walking in a
straight line, and the game takes up less space!). I put the
letters at the following bearings, but you could use
whatever ones you like, as long as the letters are roughly
evenly spaced: 0, 30, 45, 65, 90, 120, 135, 150, 180, 200,
225, 250, 270, 300, 315, 345. The letters I use are: A E I O
U Y T C N L S W R K D M. You can spell LOTS of words with
that collection. I have a list of about 35 5-letter words. I
prepare slips of paper that have five bearing numbers on
them, and 5 blanks for the boys to write in the
corresponding letters. I keep the answer key in my pocket.
The boys take turns, often working in pairs with one doing
the compass work and the other writing the letters. Keeps
them happily amused for a long time!
Sometimes we line up all the cubs in a grid and blindfold them. Then
we give them directions, one after the other: Go west, two steps. Go
north, one step etc. As the cubs are not compass-machines, they
eventually bump into each other, and that, to a cub scout, is so much
One way that I have used to teach basic compass concepts is to relate
the compass to a skateboard. "Sometimes while riding your skateboard
you do a '180' (180 degrees). What does that mean? Can you do a
'360'? What does that mean?..." etc
from Terri ~
My boys love a Scavenger hunt !! Break the boys up to groups of two,
with one compass. Hide an item somewhere and give the boys One written
clue. This clue will involve walking a certain number of steps in a specific
direction (i.e.. the compass)This will take them to another clue with more
directions. You can set this up for as many clues as you wish to use in
order to lead the boys to the hidden object. To make a game of it, we timed
the boys and the group that found their object in the least amount of time
was the winners.
This works best if some adults can be at the meeting site an hour or so
before the boys show up so you have the course all ready for the event.
I have taken a blank piece of bristol board or cardboard that has been
cut in a circle. On one side I drew a compass and on the other side I
glued a picture. Cut apart the compass along the 4 main points or
'finer' points if you want. The girls had to put together the compass in
order to find out what the picture was.
Had a bunch of new scouts several yrs ago who had few compass skills and an
orienteering camporee was scheduled. We had 15 minutes of map and compass
every meeting for a while.
Each team of 2, rotated teams, would have an
index card with a puzzle for them to solve. At the end of the puzzle would
be a couple of candybars, iced drinks, things that they liked. No toys or
junk to detract from the meeting later. Not being able to follow the
directions meant no goodies for that team.
Was a bunch of work for the adults, but I believe I could have continued
indefinitely. Interest never was lost.
"Find Your Place" each child gets a card with a compass point. (N, NE, E,
SE, S, SW, W, NW) (there may be duplicates.) 1 child is going on a hike &
they are going to make sure she doesn't get lost. She walks around the
room, stops someone & says "This is (whatever compass point the card says.)"
The other kids take their appropriate places. Draw new cards & repeat.
one game I found useful (from ScoutBase UK), was a
variation of North, South, East and West, in which each wall is usually
nominated as one of these points (in correct relation). However the
adaptation was that whichever way the leader in the middle faced was
North and so by turning and shouting a direction you can get everyone
confused. It makes them think that little bit harder (as well as making
the leader work).
To get more complicated, try adding in SW, SE, NW & NE as well.
The BSA catalogue has a neat beginner's compass game (and a more advanced
one). The course needs to be set up ahead of the exercise (out of sight of
the boys? I don't remember) but it doesn't take long if done by someone who
is familiar with compass work.
The boys are given a set of headings that lead them around the course in a
set pattern. They must complete the course in the correct sequence to
succeed. Several boys or several teams can run the course almost
simultaneously as they do not all run the course in the same order. If you
have parts of lunch at each checkpoint, they get their complete lunch (of
use parts of a craft kit, or game equipment or beads or whatever) if they
complete the course correctly.
It is used in an open field, or in an area where the Scouts won't get really
lost. If you want a bigger more challenging course, make sure a
knowledgeable adult or older Scout goes with each group to get them home
Here's a game I've used with Boy Scouts. You will have to decide if it
is appropriate for the age group you have.
It's called "Spot the Spot," and here's how it works:
Ahead of time, go to a spot outdoors from which you can sight at least
three fairly prominent landmarks. Take bearings to the landmarks. To
play the game, the Scouts work backwards from your bearings, e.g.,
"The flagpole is at 82 degrees. The headquarters building is at 140
degrees. The church steeple is at 40 degrees." If I've explained
myself clearly, you will understand that there is only one spot from
which all these bearings will be true. The Scouts must go through the
process of, "Let's see, the steeple is on the right bearing but the
flagpole is way off. It must be further west." When the Scouts find
that spot, they will find some kind of prize there, such as a snack or a
note that says, "Return this note to your Scoutmaster to claim your