Den Activity Resources

Help for Den Leaders, Co-Leaders and Assistants

Thank You for Helping Lead Your Scouts!  Whether you’re looking at this as a Den Leader or Co-Leader, an Assistant or Pack Leader, or a Parent of a Scout who will help a Den Leader (welcome!), we want to make helping lead your Den of Scouts as easy and meaningful as possible.

  • To help you, we’ve attached in the Downloads section below all of the “general” parts of the Den Leader Guides used for Tigers through Arrow of Light (first grade through fifth grade).
  • While we encourage you to purchase or download the whole Guide, we also want to put good information at your fingertips. 

What is a Den, Anyway?  A group of 6 to 8 (not more than 10) Scouts, ideally of the same (or similar) age, who form as a group (the “den”), and do their Cub Scouting together.  They have a group identity (maybe a den name) and work on similar age-appropriate activities, many out of the Cub Scout Handbook for their grade and rank.  Kindergarten

  • Kindergarten Scouts and their Parents/Adult Partner are in a “Lion” Den, working towards the Lion Rank.
  • 1st Grade Scouts and their Parents/Adult Partner are in a “Tiger” Den, working towards the Tiger Rank. (because younger kids need more supervision, the Cub Scout program has those kids participate with an Adult Partner)
  • 2nd Grade Scouts are in a “Wolf” Den, working towards the Wolf Rank.
  • 3rd Grade Scouts are in a “Bear” Den, working towards the Bear Rank.
  • 4th Grade Scouts are in a “Webelos” Den, working towards the Webelos Rank. (Webelos stands for “WE’ll BE LOyal Scouts”, by the way)
  • 5th Grade Scouts are in an “Arrow of Light” Den, working towards the Arrow of Light.

Sometimes there may be too many Scouts at a grade level, and you’re better off “splitting” the den into groups of 6 to 8 while coordinating activities with each den at that level – in a large group, Scouts often feel lost, not connected, and drop out.  A small den (five or fewer) might not have enough kids to really take off and have fun, so then it makes sense to start out by joining similar grades together in a “mixed” den – we have resources to help you with that.

Den Adventure (Meeting) Structure.  When you look at the Adventure Plans found on the Adventure by Adventure pages linked with each of the Rank by Rank pages here, every plan – whether “Streamlined” or “Family Led” or Multi-Meeting Plans from the BSA Den Leader Guides – follows the same structure for a Den Activity (or Den Meeting).  These tips apply indoors or out, weekday or weekend, because whether on a weekend fun activity or at a "meeting", you'll need to plan for each of these elements – all Cub Scout families can help with this.  Lots of detail is in the “Appendix 1 – Den Meeting Parts” download below, but the quick snapshot is:

  1. Preparation.  Planning, Assignments, Communication, Materials.  If you're gathering Scouts and families for a group activity, you'll need to make and share a plan – who, what, when, where, why and how.  Every Adventure plan will give you those tips.
  2. Gathering.  Idea: keep scouts occupied with something to do as the rest of the den arrives.  Got a playground or field?  You’re set!  In a classroom?  That needs more supervision.  Use this time to connect with attending adults to "share the leader load" because everyone can help with something!
  3. Opening.  An Opening ceremony says “we’ve begun – now we’re Scouting”.  Can be as simple as the Pledge of Allegiance or Scout Oath or Scout Law.
  4. Talk Time.  Both the time to tell what the fun adventure will be, and time to listen to the Scouts tell about what's new in their lives.  Sometimes that telling (and your listening) will be most important and impactful for the Scouts.
  5. Activity.  Defined as "1:  the quality or state of being active;  2:  vigorous or energetic action :  liveliness".  Yes, the idea of Cub Scout Adventures done in Den Activities or Meetings is to be active, do something, have fun!  Cub Scouting is not "Cub Schooling", so even if they are learning important stuff, the plans show how you can do it in a fun way!
  6. Closing.  A Closing ceremony says "we're done" and should highlight the good things the scouts did.  You can recognize Scouts for what they earned – you should also recognize adult helpers for their participation!  Can be as simple as the Scout Law with some “good job” shout outs.
  7. After The Meeting.  Sure, clean up ... but also touch base with your help, and get to know parents/guardians who show up for pick up and share some planning for next time.

For more, see this "How to Lead a Den Meeting" Video (but note that this highlights the use of ScoutBook as the meeting plan and communication tool, which works only if you actually do meetings exactly as ScoutBook programs them -- whether or not you do, ScoutBook is great as a tool for tracking and reporting awards for the youth in a den).

The Bobcat/First Meeting Adventure Plans attached on the Bobcat page can give you some easy "getting a Den going" plans to start your Cub Scout year, both for dens that need all or most Scouts to earn Bobcat and for dens welcoming new Scouts (with a refresher on Bobcat basics for all of the Scouts).  These could be done as part of a "family fun event" as you’re organizing the Den – those plans call for every parent to lead something!

Have Fun, Do Good, and Get Out and Cub Scout! 

File Name Description
Appendix 1 | Den Meeting Parts Download
Appendix 2 | Working with Scouts and Dens Download
Appendix 3 | Crafts Download
Appendix 4 | Games Download
Appendix 5 | Outdoors Download
Appendix 6 | Aquatics Download
Appendix 7, 8 & 9 | Knots, Awards, & Other Download
Index to Den Leader Guides Download
Introduction to Den Leader Guides (All Ranks) Download