Rationale for Adventure

In this adventure, Tigers will learn that there are many types of living things that share the place where we live. All animals, plants, and insects have a purpose in our environment. It is everyone’s duty to be mindful of other creatures’ habitats. Regardless of their age, Tigers can make a difference.

Takeaways for Cub Scouts

  • Learning about the creatures and plants that share our living world
  • Knowing it’s never too early to understand our animal and insect neighbors
  • Learning how to protect the environment
  • Practicing service to the community and the world
  • A Scout is thrifty, kind, clean. [Tiger Character Compass]

Adventure Requirements (Tiger Handbook, page 30)

  1. Take a 1-foot hike. Make a list of the living things you find on your 1-foot hike.
  2. Point out two different kinds of birds that live in your area.
  3. Be helpful to plants and animals by planting a tree or other plant in your neighborhood.
  4. Build and hang a birdhouse.
  5. With your adult partner, go on a walk, and pick out two sounds you hear in your “jungle.”

Notes to Den Leader

This adventure is family-based, but it can be adapted easily to the den setting. Significant advance notice may be necessary to secure donations of trees or seedlings.

In addition, you may need to prepare for the tree planting in Meeting 3 as an outing. In advance of the outing, the leader will need to make arrangements with the outing location and confirm the outing plan with families, including transportation and any additional items they need to bring. Make sure a tour and activity plan has been submitted, if required, and activity consent forms are distributed, signed, and collected.

See the Appendix for optional den meeting activities, including openings, gatherings, and closings.


Preparation and Materials Needed

  • U.S. and den flags
  • Poster of the Scout Oath and Scout Law
  • Index cards with each principle of the Outdoor Code
  • Materials for building a birdhouse (See Activity 1.)
  • 1 large towel, such as a beach towel, for each Scout and partner team
  • 1 inflated beach ball for each team
  • A talking stick (See Closing.)
  • Read the Backyard Jungle adventure in the Tiger Handbook .


Play the Beach Ball Toss game. Divide the players into two-member teams, and give each team a towel and a ball. They hold the two ends of their towel so it spreads wide between them. Then, without touching the ball, they use the towel to toss it to other teams. As the game progresses, to make it more challenging, put four players on one towel or have the teams toss the ball over a net or rope stretched across the room.


  • Conduct a flag ceremony of your choosing that includes the Pledge of Allegiance and, as appropriate, the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
  • Using a poster showing the 12 points of the Scout Law, have Tigers recite the Scout Law together with you. (A hand-lettered poster will suffice if a printed one is not available.) Have the Tigers identify which points of the Scout Law apply to protecting the environment. Then ask them why they chose those points.

Talk Time

  • Carry out business items for the den.
  • Introduce the Backyard Jungle adventure to the den. Build interest by describing the goals of the adventure and some of the activities that are planned.
  • Introduce the Outdoor Code, which appears in the back of each Scout’s handbook. As Tigers, the focus will be on one principle: “Be clean in my outdoor manners.”

Have the Tigers pair up. Give each pair a card with one of the principles of the Outdoor Code, and ask them to talk about their principle and how it might be explained or demonstrated to everyone. After a minute or two, each Tiger pair should give a brief summary. Tell the Tigers that they will explore their living world during this adventure and will need to think about ways to take care of it.


Icon Activity 1: Make and Hang a Birdhouse BackjardJungle

(Requirements 2 and 4) Step 1: Build a Birdhouse (Requirement 4)

  • Milk or Juice Carton Bird Feeder. This is one option for making a birdhouse. Have each Tiger and his adult partner cut the sides out of a rinsed-out, cardboard milk or juice container while leaving the corners in place. If time permits, paint and decorate the carton. Punch a hole in the top large enough for a piece of yarn or ribbon to pass through, and form a loop large enough to go around a tree branch. Poke small holes in the bottom. Fill the bottom of the carton with bird seed, if you choose.

Step 2: Hang the Birdhouses (Requirement 4)

  • Once each Tiger and adult partner pair has made a feeder, discuss with your den where to hang the feeders to attract the most birds. Also discuss how you may observe birds feeding without disturbing them.

Step 3: Bird Walk (Requirement 2)
Go outside, and choose a safe path where Tigers are likely to spot birds. Walk the path quietly, and watch for birds as you walk. When you spot a bird, ask the Tigers and their partners to answer the following questions in their jungle notebooks:

  • What color is the bird?
  • How big is it?
  • Can you see the bird’s home? What kind of home does this bird live in?

Share that many birds’ homes are called nests. Birds make their own nests to help keep them warm and to hold their babies or eggs when they are away from the nest. Ask: What are their nests made of? Do you see any babies in the nest? What sounds do they make?

Guide Tigers and their partners to resources such as a library or the Internet to learn about birds that migrate through their area. If your area is home to several species of birds, be sure to include them in the conversation.

IconActivity 2: Outdoor Sounds (Requirement 5)

This activity can be held after the bird watching, with the bird feeders hanging in trees. Allow the den members to continue their walk, following the directions below.

  1. Go outside for a short walk. Explain to the Tigers that when you are outside, you should not talk, just listen. In a safe place, have them stop and close their eyes. Ask them, “How does closing your eyes make it easier to hear the sounds?”
  2. See how many non-human sounds they can identify. Ask if they can hear any animal noises. Can they identify which animal is making the sound?

Have the Tigers record what they observed either by writing or drawing pictures in their jungle notebooks to illustrate it. If a nest is spotted, have them identify the type of material the birds used to build the nest, making sure not to disturb it.


For a different experience, try going outside at different times of the day to hear different sounds. Ask the Scout, “What sounds do you hear in the early morning or late at night?”


  • If Tigers are not familiar with a talking stick, introduce the concept here. Gather the Tigers into a circle. Explain that only the person holding the “talking stick” or “object from nature” will be able to speak. The rest of the den listens as each Tiger and his partner share one favorite thing about the bird walk.

After the Meeting

  • Share a snack and drink, if appropriate.
  • Make sure all participate in cleaning up from the craft and the snack, as necessary.
  • Record completion of requirements 2, 4, and 5.

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Preparation and Materials Needed

  • U.S. and den flags
  • Tokens such as beans, play money, playing chips (enough for each Tiger to have 5)
  • 1-foot hike materials: string, sticks, paper, pen/pencil
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 30) and a hat to demonstrate sun protection
  • Themed hike materials; options include:
    — Egg Carton Hike. Empty egg cartons—cut in half, one half carton per Tiger—with a note inside telling him to collect six objects that fit these six categories: smooth, rough, hard, soft, colorful, and his favorite color.
    — Babies Hike, Circle Hike, or Friend of Nature Hike. Each of these requires paper and a pen/pencil. The Friend of Nature Hike also requires trash bags and nonlatex disposable gloves.
  • Plaster of paris and plastic spoons (optional, for Activity 4).


Play “Odd or Even.” Each player and his adult partner starts the game with five tokens (beans, play money, playing chips). He secretly puts any number of tokens, from 0 to 5, in a closed fist. Then he  approaches another player and asks the player to guess “odd or even.” If the player guesses right, he wins a token. If he guesses wrong, he forfeits a token to the questioner. Play continues until time is called. The player with the most tokens when time is called is the winner.


  • Conduct a flag ceremony of your choosing that includes the Pledge of Allegiance and, as appropriate, the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
  • If the moon is visible, hold the opening outside, and salute facing the moon. This is acceptable because an astronaut placed a flag on the moon.

Talk Time

  • Carry out business items for the den.
  • Explain to the Tigers the type of hike they will be taking. (Options are described in Activity 1.)
  • Remind them before they go outside that they need to protect their skin from the sun with sunscreen. Ask them how they can be prepared for rain or other weather when they are outside.


Icon Activity 1: Hike (Requirement 1)

  1. Take a 1-foot hike.
  2.  If time permits, choose an additional hike from the following options:

1-Foot Hike (Requirement 1)

Help Tigers stake out a 1-foot-by-1-foot square outside, near the meeting place. Encourage them to write down or draw pictures of every living thing that they see in this small space. Ten minutes is sufficient for this activity. After the Scouts have recorded their observations, give them time to describe what they observed to other members of the den. If appropriate, invite them to talk about how this activity would be different if carried out in a different place and what they might expect to see elsewhere.

Options for Themed Hikes

Egg Carton Hike. Each Tiger receives one half of an empty egg carton. During the hike, Tigers collect objects from nature to put in their containers. Adult partners help each Tiger find one example of each of the following: something smooth, something rough, something hard, something soft, something colorful, and something that is his favorite color. During this hike, Tigers may ONLY put in their cartons objects from nature that they find on the ground. Remind them that whatever they collect to share with the group will be returned to nature after the meeting. Doing so is one way Tigers will learn to follow the principles of Leave No Trace.


If a Tiger sees something that fits one of the categories, but he cannot take it because it is alive or not on the ground, he may record what he observed on a piece of paper to put in his container.

  • Babies Hike. Each Tiger/adult partner team searches an assigned area for babies of all kinds—plants, animals, and insects. Remind them to only observe and never disturb. They should be ready to share with the group about the things they found.
  • Circle Hike. All participants form a circle in the selected observation area, and identify as many different living things as possible within the circle. This can also include evidence of living things, though you may not see the creature itself. For example, you may see a spider web but not see the spider. The circle can be made larger by taking steps backward if the observation area needs to expand.
  • Friend of Nature Hike. Provide each member of the den with a trash bag and nonlatex disposable gloves. During the hike, each Tiger commits to being a “friend of nature” by putting in his bag anything that does not naturally belong in the area.

Icon Activity 2: Reflection

  1. Gather the Tigers and partners outdoors (if weather and time permit) to share their collections/observations.
  2. Ask about the animals, insects, and birds they observed. The goal is to identify at least two different kinds of birds and at least five different animals and insects in our living space.
  3. Collect the observations they have written or drawn for display at the next pack meeting optional).

Icon Activity 3: Skit Preparation (Optional)

In preparation for the pack meeting, practice a skit based on the theme for the month, such as the one listed below.

The Lost Tigers Skit
Narrator: Our Tiger den has been busy learning about our environment and how to help take care of it.  They recently participated in a hike, walking through some dangerous territory—the backyard! They learned how to navigate safely out of this precarious spot. Things got pretty scary when they lost their way, but our brave Scouts employed their newly learned tracking skills. In fact, if we listen carefully, we should be able to hear how they found their way out.

All Tigers (together, yell): “Mr. (or Mrs.) Cubmaster!”

Icon Activity 4: Starting Spoon Beetles (Optional)

  1. To prepare for the “spoon beetle” activity for the next den meeting, it is an option to create the plaster of paris molds in advance—which will allow extra time for them to dry.
  2. Mix together some plaster of paris and pour the mix into plastic spoon molds for the next week’s “spoon beetles” activity. (See Meeting 3 Gathering for detailed instructions.)
  3. Set aside to dry, and bring the molds to the next meeting.


Form a living circle, and give the grand howl. To form a living circle, have the Tigers make a circle, standing with their left shoulders facing inside the circle. Then have them extend their left arms into the center of the circle, making a fist with their thumbs out. Each Tiger will grab the thumb next to his fist until everyone is joined by holding thumbs. The den leader or designated Tiger begins the yell with “ARRR…” (the grand howl). Then, with their right arms straight up making the Cub Scout sign, they will yell, “AKELA, we’ll do our best!” (See page A-22 in the Appendix.)

After the Meeting

  • Share refreshments if appropriate.
  • Record completion of requirement 1.
  • Collect recorded observations if they are being saved for the pack meeting. Encourage Tigers to return the items in their egg carton collections to nature.
  • Clean up the plaster of paris materials.
  • Complete preparation for tree planting (requirement 3).

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Preparation and Materials Needed

  • U.S. and den flags
  • The Outdoor Code (See the Tiger Handbook.)
  • Preparation for tree planting (See Meeting 3 Resources.)
  • “Which Animal Am I?” game; requires tape, slips of paper with names of animals
  • Spoon beetle materials (See Gathering below.)
  • Unit den leader should have in possession (if required by local council practices) the tour and activity plan, signed activity consent forms, and a copy of the Guide to Safe Scouting.


Have Tigers make and decorate spoon beetles. Use the plaster molds created in the spoons at the previous meeting. Using paint, glitter, sequins, stickers, markers, felt pieces, etc., let Tigers decorate their molds to look like beetles. Help them glue magnets to the flat sides of the molds, and set the beetles aside to dry.


The best results are obtained when the plaster has dried for at least 24 hours. The plaster molds may be made ahead by the leader or at the end of the previous meeting.


  • Plaster of paris (available at most craft and hardware stores)
  • 1 box of plastic spoons
  • Plastic bowl
  • Paints (Acrylic will work best.)
  • Paintbrush (Cotton swabs are an inexpensive alternative.)
  • Small refrigerator magnets (Optional; if used, press lightly into the plaster of paris as it hardens on the bowl of each spoon.)

Instructions: Masc

  1. Mix the plaster of paris according to the instructions on the box.
  2. Pour the plaster of paris into the bowl of each spoon, and let it harden (preferably overnight).
  3. Once it is dry, you should be able slide the plaster of paris right off the spoon. The molds are then ready to paint.
  4. Have the Scouts decorate their beetles.


  • Say the Pledge of Allegiance and, as appropriate, the Scout Oath and Scout Law. If the den does not have a United States flag on the outing, ask one Scout to display the flag on his uniform for the group.

Talk Time

  • Carry out business items for the den.
  • Ask how trees help clean the air and improve the environment. Allow time for sharing ideas.
  • Share the Outdoor Code. (See the Tiger Handbook.)
  • Explain to Tigers that this type of code is like a promise. Ask them why they think we need codes. Encourage Tigers to tell what this code means to them.


Icon Activity 1: Tree Planting (Requirement 3)

Option 1: Plant a tree. (See Meeting 3 Resources.)
Option 2: Clean and winterize a flower bed for a church, charitable organization, or school.
Option 3: Plant a seedling and let it grow indoors until weather permits planting outside.


If weather, time of year, or plant availability makes planting a tree impossible, choose an alternate activity. Make sure to obtain permission prior to doing any work.

Icon Activity 2: Play the “Which Animal Am I?” Game

  1.  Make slips of paper with the names of animals on them, such as ostrich, monkey, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, parrot, dolphin, shark, chihuahua, polar bear.
  2. Without revealing the names, tape one slip of paper on each player’s back. Tigers must ask yes-or-no questions until they can guess which animals they are.

Icon Activity 3: “My Big Backyard” Game

Everyone, including adult partners, plays this game. Have everyone stand or sit in a circle. The leader begins the story by saying, “Today in my backyard, I saw _______________.” He or she then fills in the blank with anything real or imagined. Each person gets a turn and must first repeat what everyone else has said (“I saw a ______, a ______,” etc.) and then add one more thing until the story has gone all the way around the circle. Tigers may need some help with remembering, so it’s OK to give them prompts.


All the participants form a circle and hold hands for a prayer. Choose a person who will open and close the prayer. Ask Tigers and their adult partners to share something they are thankful for and then squeeze the hand of the person next to them. If anyone is uncomfortable sharing aloud, they can simply squeeze the next person’s hand without saying anything. The same person who began will end the prayer after everyone has had an opportunity to share. One good way to incorporate the adventure’s theme is to have each Tiger and partner identify something they are grateful for that is found near where they live.

After the Meeting

  • Share refreshments, if desired.
  • Make sure everyone assists in cleaning up, especially from the spoon beetles activity.
  • Record completion of requirement 3.

aranaUpon completion of the Backyard Jungle adventure, your Tigers will have earned the adventure loop shown here. Make sure they are recognized for their completion by presenting the adventure loops, to be worn on their belts, as soon as possible according to your pack’s tradition.


Planting a Tree


Be sure you have permission to plant a tree in the planned location.

If you will be planting the tree in a location other than your den’s usual meeting place, be sure that information has been confirmed with families.

Some organizations may be willing to donate trees or allow you to purchase them at a reduced rate. These include:

  • Local nurseries
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • The Arbor Day Foundation
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • County agricultural commissioner’s office

In addition, many states have tree-planting programs. Information may be obtained on the Internet, at the local library, from local civic organizations, etc.

How to Plant Trees

Materials: shovels, seedlings, water, soil

The outline below may be helpful in showing the simple steps for planting a tree with Scouts. Trees and shrubs are a very important part of the environment. They provide several things including shade from the sun, shelter from strong winds, and homes and food for birds and other animals. They also produce oxygen for everyone to breathe, and they protect soil from damage by raindrops. Most trees live for a long time!

  1. PlantsDig a hole. Make the hole twice as wide and deep as the size of the container the tree came in. You will want to break up the soil from the hole thoroughly with your hands or with a shovel.
  2. Carefully remove the plant from its container. First, break off any roots growing out of the container. Next, holding the seedlings between your first and second fingers, turn the tree’s container upside down. Gently tap the bottom, and squeeze the container slightly to loosen the soil. Try to ease the plant out of the container without pulling it, and try to keep the soil column surrounding the roots intact. Again, it’s a good idea to trim any roots that are long or that may
    have grown outside the container.
  3. Plant your tree seedling. Support the roots and stem while filling in the hole. If you use fine soil to fill in around the roots, you can then pat it down and make it firm with your fingertips.
  4. Water your seedling right away with one-half to a full bucket of water. You will need to pour the water gently so the soil isn’t washed away.
  5. Look after your tree or plant, as it needs weeding and water. If you place mulch around the base of the tree, it will help keep the weeds out. Newspaper, black plastic, gravel, and woodchips all make great mulches.
  6. Now watch your tree grow! It may be fun to measure your tree as it grows, and watch what kinds of insects, birds, or other animals are attracted to it. Thank you for helping to improve the environment!
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