GS Humor
Service Projects
Troop Resources
Chicagoland Field Trips


Cyber Council

GSRC Archives

Camping and the Great Outdoors



The following list is from a file found on in the Scouting forum on CompuServe:

Alphabet Hike
Find object that names begin with the letters of the alphabet. Beginning with A and ending with Z.

Ball of String Trail
Lay a string trail in a very safe area & follow blindfolded.

Bird Hike
Go early in the morning to see lots of birds. Refer to a Bird book to identify, and tips on bird watching. How many can you identify?

Bo Peep Trail
Lay a trail using bits of cotton, Give girls small cardboard sheep on which to attach the wool.

Green Hike
How many different shades of green can you find on your hike?

Hold the Front
Leader asks a question about things observed, such as "What is the name of that tree?" If #1 in line answers correctly she stays there; otherwise she goes to the back of the line.

Humpty Dumpty Trail
Cut a picture of a large cardboard egg into 20 broken pieces. Find all the pieces & put him back together.

Jigsaw Trail
Cut directions of something to do & drop them along a trail. Put the jigsaw puzzle together...It might give directions to a treat!!

Nature Clue Game
Cut A hole in a piece of paper. ( about the size of a nickel) Through this hole show the girls a small part of a leaf, animal track, or other natural object. See how many the girls can identify.

Observation Lotto
Make up a lotto card with 4 squares across and 4 squares down. Enter things to look for such as: stream, animal tracks, eroded land, berries, dead tree, squirrel, wild flower, trash, pine cone, vine, poison ivy, moss, bird, magnolia, persimmon, pine tree (use things likely to be seen on your hike). When a person sees an object she marks it on her card. First to fill a row wins.

Pebble Cribbage
Start with 10 pebbles. Leader point to an object. Each person to identify it drops a pebble. First to drop all her stones is the winner.

Penny Hike
Give each girl a penny. She is to find as many items as she can that will fit on the penny with out hanging off the edges.

Puppy Hike
Walk on your hands & knees for a short distance & see what a puppy or baby would see. How is this world different from yours?

Rainbow Hike
Have an envelope containing 20 or so different-colored squares of construction paper (not just browns and greens either, some yellows, a purple, etc.). Have the girls find something in nature the same color as each one of the squares.

Rhyming Hike
The first person sees something-anything- and calls it out, "I see an ant" Somebody replies with a rhyme, "Its sitting on a Plant". and them names a new object. I see...

Leader stops at object to be identified and each person walking by whispers answer or goes to end. Then new leader stops, etc.

Silent Hike
The purpose of this hike is to listen. This is hard for some girls who want to giggle etc. Try it late at night or early in the morning when the surroundings strange & mysterious... How about at 5am ?

Scavenger Hunts

Nature Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are fun, But do require some absolute rules:

  • Set Boundaries
  • Hunt with a buddy or group
  • Do not Destroy (When the hunt is over, Let there be no sign that it took place.)
  • Return all materials to where you found them or disposed of properly (dry leaves & twigs etc.)
  • Make up a list for the girls to find or let them make a list of what they think they will find...& then let them go find it.

Make your list imaginative...Below are some ideas for all ages. You any be surprised what older girls might like to do...Challenge their ingenuity. Give each team or group a list of the following items to find:

3" length of twine made from natural material
blade of grass
dark green & light green leaf
pebble smaller than a pea
pinch of dust
smooth rock
smooth-edge leaf
someone Or some things food
something alive
SOMETHING Gardens hate
something prickly
something that "clicks" or "crackles"
something that feels nice
something with 4 legs
something you can pick things up with ( a natural spoon)
teaspoon of mud
Y-shaped twig

Camera Scavenger Hunt

This is a really neat project for Older Girls. You could plan an overnight all day event, divide the girls in groups with a parent (driver) for each group. The group is free to find the items where ever they choose. The groups are to meet back at a designated time to share photos & stories. An instamatic camera works best. Or you could give list & meet a week later & share photos.
Using a camera instead of "picking up" is one of the more sophisticated concepts of collecting & a marvelous way to keep a memory forever.

Find and Photograph:

dew on flowers
snails eye-view of something
something dry
something funny
something green
something huge
something out of place
something peaceful
something sad
something tiny
something wet
something you have never seen before
splash of color
straight, curved or crossed lines
sunlight coming through trees

Encounters of the Wild Kind

This information is intended to educate and not to scare anyone from enjoying the out of doors. Please remember to respect the fact that the forest is the natural home to the Mountain Lion and the Bear. We are the visitors. For additional information contact the Ranger Station near you.

Mountain Lions

  • When Hiking, be aware of trees and large rock formations. Larger cats will attack from up above you. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Carry a stick and make noises to alert the animal you are near.
  • NEVER bend over, crouch, run, or turn your back when confronted. It makes you look weak as if prey. Intimidate by yelling if confronted.
  • Larger cats are frightened by height, make yourself look big, by opening your coat or standing tall. If you have a child with you, put them on your shoulders.
  • NEVER allow children to wonder in the forest by themselves. They may appear to be a small animal to the lion.
  • If attacked, fight for your life and scream for help. Protect your stomach and neck.


  • Bears usually avoid people. Make your presence known. Bears do not like to be surprised. Wear bells, sing, talk loudly while hiking. Do not hike after dark.
  • Be Alert. If you spot dead animals, droppings, or digs, you should choose another area.
  • Avoid coming between a mother bear and her cubs.
  • Store food in your car or a pannier. Your pannier should hang 10 feet up and four feet out. Do not keep food or toiletries (toothpaste, etc.) that have an appealing scent in your tent.
  • Avoid cooking greasy or smelly foods. Sleep some distance uphill from your cooking area and food storage site.
  • Don't sleep in the clothes you wore while cooking.
  • Pack all garbage out. Do not bury it.
  • Practice the leash law. Dogs can disturb bears and lead them back to you.
  • Please don't feed the bears. They can develop bad habits only after one reward. Some bears are destroyed because they have lost their fear of humans and have become pests or dangerous.
  • Ladies should remember to practice good hygiene while menstruating.

If you encounter a bear

  • Stay calm - it will probably leave you alone. Do not make abrupt moves or noises that would startle the bear. Do not scream.
  • Give the bear plenty of room. Slowly detour, keeping upwind so it will get your scent and know you are there
  • If attacked, play dead. Protect your stomach and neck.

Knife Safety

From: Jo Paoletti

Learning about wood, lumber and sanding can be a good introduction to woodwork that does not involve sharp tools. I can't imagine teaching a group of 50 adults how to use knives safely, much less children under 10! But children can:

  1. learn the difference between hardwood and softwood
  2. learn a few popular woods of each type and how they are used
  3. learn about the environmental issues involving lumber
  4. learn about how trees are made into lumber
  5. learn about grain and why it is important
  6. learn about sanding and how to do it properly

When I did this with my Brownie troop (grades 1,2,3 -- 24 girls), we made a set of blocks for a homeless shelter. The second graders measured, the third graders cut the blocks with handsaws, and everyone sanded. It was a great project and a nice change from our usual crafts.

Also -- the Cub Scouts have a very nice program for knife safety, which is included in the woodworking unit for 4th graders (an age designation which seems about right to me!). Basically, it is a card ("The Whittling Chip" card -- you can find it at BSA shops) awarded when a child can demonstrate mastery of basic knife saftey. In my den, only "card-carrying whittlers" were permitted to bring knives on camping trips, and any infraction of the safety rules resulted in suspension of their cards, which then had to be re-earned.

From: Margo Mead

How about soap carving? You could use plastic knives on Ivory soap, I think. The Cub Scout Bear book calls for using a pocketknife.

Also, Cub Scouts are always doing wood projects at their day camps. They hardly ever involve carving or pocketknives--usually precut things they nail together or glue together and decorate.

The problem with that big a group of girls is that it would be hard to be able to spread everyone out enough for the safety circle (a.k.a. "blood circle" in Cub Scouts).

Perhaps you could have them paint and assemble a wood project. Perhaps a wooden puppet, or something that would represent the theme for the camp. (For example, this summer in Day Camp the theme was Space, and the boys brought home a space shuttle on a stand).

You sure are brave to even think about this. Me, I've got lots of ideas but I don't think I would dare try to actually teach them about carving.

From: earnes

Use plastic knives and carve Ivory soap. (Find out about scrimshaw (sp?) carving on ivory (the real stuff) done by sailors in the 19th century as you show the girls about doing this.)

Get dry, soft pine sticks (lumberyard scraps) and make fuzz sticks.

Both of these techniques help the girls practice the correct ways to hold the knife and the material they are cutting on.

Teach them how to correctly sharpen the blade, that's for safety too.

San Jacinto

From: Mary Nodulman
When we teach knife safety, we have the girls make large cardboard/heavy paper jackknives: cut out handle and blade portions separately and connect with a cotter pin. The patterns we use make a "knife" about five inches long -- big things for little hands. This way the girls can demonstrate opening, closing and passing the practice knives before they do it with the real thing. This make lots of leaders more comfortable.

Mary Nodulman                  "Hoot"       Certified Instructor of Trainers
Whispering Oaks Girl Scouts    /\__/\       Curved Bar 1961
Western Springs, IL            (.)(.)       Mariner Ship Skipjack 1961-64                \/

From: Barbara Friedman

On the subject of knife safety... When I taught my Junior troop knife safety 2 years ago, I explained the basics very slowly and very clearly - or so I thought. One of the girls - a very intelligent, well-behaved, attentive girl (whose mother is on the list - Hi Stephanie!) asked, "Like this?" and proceeded to snap the blade shut with her fingers covering the hole where the blade goes. I think the other girls learned by example!

-Barb Friedman Leader, Junior Troop 1145 Cross Timbers Council, Texas

From: Elisabeth England
Subject: Re: knives

This is what I did when I taught my Juniors knife safety: I got from my council a full size line drawing of all the components of a GS jackknife. I xeroxed the drawing onto card stock. The girls cut out the components and assembled their "knives" using brass fasteners at the end. we then practiced our safety circle, etc.

I could fax or snailmail you one of these sheets, if your council does not have any.

YIGGGS, Elisabeth England Western Massachusetts Girl Scout Council


Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 22:14:18 -0800 From: David Swank Subject: Re: Knives

Clark Graham mentioned he was teaching Knife Safety to his Troop. I have taught my Cub Scouts Knife Safety twice. We have used Heavy paper Knives with a brad holding them together to make them work as a real pocket knife. Also at a Pow Wow class the gentleman teaching nature crafts suggested using the plastic picnic knives and carving an apple. There are still some minor nicks but nothing like what could happen with a bunch of real pocket knives! Also you could come up with a pledge card of some type that the girls could carry around when they are using their knives stating they do know the rules and are going to follow them. The Cubbies have a "Whittling Chip" card they have to earn. This could easily be adapted to the girls. We plan to do this in the spring when we get into some of the outdoors skills. When I asked my Brownies at our 1st meeting 3 weeks ago what they wanted to do they all said they wanted to Camp and hike and do outdoors things! :)This is gonna be COOL!

Kris Swank New Brownie Leader, Troop 2703, Tejas Council Old Cubmaster, Paack 392, East Texas Area Council Winnsboro, Texas


Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 21:31:00 -0600 From: Alleger Family Subject: Re: knives


In the Brownie book is an example of an easy way to make paper(cardboard) knives. These open up like a real knife, but are much safer especially when first starting out.

Once you think they have it, graduate them to a hard plastic knife and either Ivory soap or a potato to practice carving.

A little lipstick, marker ect on the paper/plastic knife blade works great to show them how they'd cut themselves when passing it wrong. They never think they did it wrong until they see the lipstick/marker on their palms and fingers.

Patience is really best with this drill for younger girls. GOOD LUCK!!

Sheryl Cadette Troop 20

Last Modified (final condensed form): 06/24/02

SFC Activities  Scouting File Cabinet