Bear Elective Ideas
Here are some ideas of fun ways you can have your den complete some of the Bear Scout electives. You can see the complete List of Electives here. On this page, we are only offering suggestions for certain electives since many of these electives are meant to be done individually by each scout, depending on their interests. Of course, we'd love to hear what activities your den did that the scouts really enjoyed.
- Night Hike: take a hike after dark so you can see the stars. Take flashlights and a book or picture of the solar system with you. Do Space: a by finding the North Star and two other constellations. It should also take no more than 10 minutes of searching before you see a satellite go over. Talk about natural and man-made satellites for Space: e and compare how they are similar and different. Have the scouts try to name all the planets in our solar system, then show them on the picture, then try to find Mars or another planet. Discuss how it is different and similar to Earth for Space: f. Go to Space.com for lots of information on what planets are visible, phases of moon, and other things to look for.
- Weather Recording: Get your scouts aware of the weather - it will be valuable when they start camping. Introduce them to reading and recording the weather at a den meeting and give each one our Weather Tracking Chart to track the temperature, rain, wind, pressure, type of weather, and TV forecast correctness for two weeks. This can be used for Weather: a, b, c, d, & f A weather vane can be a piece of cloth hung from a tree branch. A rain gauge can be a clear jar.
- Playing with Electricity: Of the whole Bear year, this was my favorite den meeting! Use Electricity Projects Page to have your den make an electric magnet (Electricity:c) and an electric motor (Electricity:d). Use the picture in the handbook for an electronic quiz board for Electricity:b. Have each scout come up with 6 matching type questions on slips of paper that he can attach to the board and then rewire it for someone else to take his test.
- Hot Air Balloon: On a cold winter day with very little wind, your den can create their own hot air balloon for Aircraft: c
You need a super-thin plastic garment bag from a dry cleaner, a dozen small birthday candles, some drinking straws, a long fishing line, some strong scotch tape.
- Tape straws together to create an X that will fill the opening of the plastic bag.
- Cut a hole in the straws every 1 to 1.5 inches - these are spots in which you will stand the candles. Put candles in all the spots and tape them if necessary.
- Tape the ends of the straw X to the opening of the bag to hold it open. This is the base of the balloon and the bag will fill with hot air and provide lift.
- Tie the fishing line to the center of the X to prevent it from flying away and causing trouble somewhere.
- Have an adult hold the balloon up from the top to keep the plastic away from the candles. Light the candles and wait for it to lift off.
- Nature Hike: By arranging a hike at a Nature Center or through a park, you can complete many of the Nature Craft electives. You can take 15 minutes before the hike to make a water scope and bird caller and take them with you to complete Nature Craft: d & h. Give each scout a paper & pencil. Take 30 large plastic baggies with you. Along the hike, have scouts find tracks of 8 different animals and draw them on their paper. For 10 different kinds of leaves, put enough for each scout into a baggie and label that baggie with the tree name. Do the same for 8 different seeds - acorns and berries are seeds also. If there is a rocky stream or hillside on your hike, you can also collect 10 kinds of rocks, but you may need to get permission first. Stop at a stream or lake to try your waterscopes and write down what water life you see. Take a break and have a snack and once everyone is settled down, try out your bird calls. When you return from your hike, pass out the things that were collected so scouts can mount them at home, or do a mounting project at your next den meeting. This will fulfill Nature Craft: b, c, and e.
- Magic Show: Simple magic tricks are fun. Having just a couple simple tricks that you can do anywhere is a great social skill. I still use the card trick I learned when I was in 6th grade and impressed everyone at a birthday party - that was a big confidence builder. Your scouts might like these 14 Simple Magic Tricks.
- With an adult, help take care of your lawn or flower beds or help take care of the lawn or flower beds of a public building, school, or church. Seed bare spots. Get rid of weeds. Pick up litter. Agree ahead of time on what you will do.
- Make a sketch of a landscape plan for the area right around your home. Talk it over with a parent or den leader. Show which trees, shrubs and flowers you could plant to make the area look better.
- Take part in a project with your family, den, or pack to make your neighborhood or community more beautiful. These might be having a cleanup party, painting, cleaning and painting trash barrels, and removing weeds. (Each time you do this differently, it counts as a completed project.)
- Build a greenhouse and grow twenty plants from seed. You can use a package of garden seeds, or use beans, pumpkin seeds, or watermelon seeds.
- Dig a hole or find an excavation project and describe the different layers of soil you see and feel. (Do not enter an excavation area alone or without permission.)
- Explore three kinds of earth by conducting a soil experiment.
- Visit a burned-out forest or prairie area, or a slide area, with your den or your family. Talk to a soil and water conservation officer or forest ranger about how the area will be planted and cared for so that it will grow to be the way it was before the fire or slide
- What is erosion? Find out the kinds of grasses, trees, or ground cover you should plant in your area to help limit erosion.
- As a den, visit a lake, stream, river, or ocean (whichever is nearest where you live). Plan and do a den project to help clean up this important source of water. Name four kinds of water pollution.
- Take care of a farm animal. Decide with your parent the things you will do and how long you will do them.
- Name and describe six kinds of farm animals and tell their common uses.
- Read a book about farm animals and tell your den about it.
- With your family or den, visit a livestock exhibit at a county or state fair.
- With the help of an adult, fix an electric plug or appliance.
- Use glue or epoxy to repair something.
- Remove and clean a drain trap.
- Refinish or repaint something.
- Agree with an adult in your family on some repair job to be done and do it. (Each time you do this differently, it counts as a completed project.)
- Build and use an outdoor gym with at least three items from this list.
- Balance board
- Tire walk
- Tire swing
- Climbing rope
- Running long jump area.
- Build three outdoor toss games.
- Plan an outdoor game or gym day with your den. (This can be part of a pack activity). Put your plans on paper.
- Hold an open house for your backyard gym.
- Jump feet first into water over your head, swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, and swim back.
- Swim on your back, the elementary backstroke, for 30 feet.
- Rest by floating on your back, using as little motion as possible for at least one minute.
- Tell what is meant by the buddy system. Know the basic rules of safe swimming
- Do a racing dive from edge of pool and swim 60 feet, using a racing stroke. (You might need to make a turn.)
- In archery, know the safety rules and how to shoot correctly. Put six arrows into a 4-foot target at a distance of 15 feet. Make an arrow holder. (This can be done only at a district/council day or resident or family camp.)
- In skiing, know the Skier's Safety and Courtesy Code. Demonstrate walking and kick turn, climbing with a side step or herringbone, a snowplow stop, a stem turn, four linked snowplow or stem turns, straight running in a downhill position or cross-country position, and how to recover from a fall.
- In ice skating, know the safety rules. From a standing start, skate forward 150 feet; and come to a complete stop within 20 feet. Skate around a corner clockwise and counterclockwise without coasting. Show a turn from forward to backward. Skate backward 50 feet.
- In track, show how to make a sprint start. Run the 50-yard dash in 10 seconds or less. Show how to do the standing long jump, the running long jump, or high jump. (Be sure to have a soft landing area.)
- In roller skating (with conventional or in-line skates), know the safety rules. From a standing start, skate forward 150 feet; and come to a complete stop within 20 feet. Skate around a corner clockwise and counterclockwise without coasting and show a turn from forward to backward. Skate backward 50 feet. Wear the proper protective clothing.
- Earn a new Cub Scout Sports pin. (Repeat three times with different sports to earn up to three Arrow Points.)
- Take part in a council- or pack-sponsored, money-earning sales program. Keep track of the sales you make yourself. When the program is over, add up the sales you have made.
- Help with a garage sale or rummage sale. This can be with your family or a neighbor, or it can be a church, school, or pack event.
- Start a stamp collection. You can get information about stamp collecting at any U.S. post office.
- Mount and display a collection of emblems, coins, or other items to show at a pack meeting. This can be any kind of collection. Every time you show a different kind of collection, it counts as one requirement.
- Start your own library. Keep your own books and pamphlets in order by subject. List the title, author, and subject of each on an index card and keep the cards in a file box, or use a computer program to store the information.
- Look up your state on a U.S. map. What other states touch its borders?
- Find your city or town on a map of your state. How far do you live from the state capital?
- In which time zone do you live? How many time zones are there in the U.S.?
- Make a map showing the route from your home to your school or den meeting place.
- Mark a map showing the way to a place you would like to visit that is at least 50 miles from your home.
- American Indian people live in every part of what is now the continental United States. Find the name of the American Indian nation that lives or has lived where you live now. Learn about these people.
- Learn, make equipment for, and play two American Indian or other native American games with members of your den. Be able to tell the rules, who won, and what the score was.
- Learn what the American Indian people in your area (or another area) used for shelter before contact with the Europeans. Learn what American Indian people in that area used for shelter today. Make a model of one of these shelters, historic or modern. Compare the kind of shelter you made with the others made in your den.
- Learn about the ten essential items you need for a hike or campout. Assemble your own kit of essential items. Explain why each item is "essential."
- Go on a short hike with your den, following the buddy system. Explain how the buddy system works and why it is important to you to follow it. Tell what to do if you are lost.
- Participate with your den in front of the pack at a campfire.
- Participate with your pack on an overnight campout. Help put up your tent and help set up the campsite.
- Participate with your den in a religious service during an overnight campout or other Cub Scouting event.
- Attend day camp in your area.
- attend resident camp in your area.
- Earn the Cub Scout Leave No Trace Award.
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