Rope Games/Knot Tying

Heave, Ho, Throw   Heave, Ho, Throw Game  

This Game is meant for Cub Scouts.
Decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your younger scouts or not.
Required: 25 foot rope for each team.
Notes: Practice throwing rescues for water safety.
Instructions: Teams line up single file at a starting line. One scout from each team sits down facing his team about 20-25 feet in front of the line.
First scout in each team has a rope. Each scout makes one throw with the rope trying to reach the drowning scout. The sitting scout tries to reach the rope being thrown without moving from his spot. He can lean and reach, but can not move his rear.
Each scout throws the rope once and then goes to the end of the line. Count how many scouts are in the largest team so all teams throw the same number of times, possibly some scouts throwing twice.

Teams score one point whenever the drowning scout can reach the rope thrown to him and the rescuing scout does not lose the rope. The team with the most points when all members have thrown is the winner.
Coil a rope. Throw it, hitting a 2-foot square marker 20 feet away.
Stuff one old sock into another one, then tie the sock to one end of a 12-foot rope (clothesline or thicker). The Cub Scouts form a circle around the leader, then try to jump over the sock and rope as the leader swings it around at an ankle-to-shin level, slowly at first, then faster. The last boy touched by the sock or rope wins. (It's even more fun when parents take a turn.)
 177. ROPEWALKERS. ( Active.)
Each player is given a rope of 1,5-2m long. The object is to walk on the rope up to its end. While walking the players must hold the end of the rope in the hands. The players mustn't leave the rope and let it off. The player who manages to fulfil the task the first (not letting the rope off and not leaving it while walking) gets the prize.
Lassoos(lariats0 and more

Tug-of-War Tournament

A game we played at the Skills Showdown was tug-of-war. Not just any tug-of-war, though, this was tournament-style, complete with brackets! Long rounds and several levels of elimination meant that each patrol got to play quite a bit. We had five patrols, and each patrol got to do four tugs before the first elimination level. Only one patrol was removed from each elimination. What a great activity!

How to Play

This game starts with an announcement: we need adult leader help. All adults are directed over to one spot. Next is the announcement that we’re going to play a big game of tug-of war. This is a tournament, where each patrol will be competing against the other patrols to determine the grand champions!

To make the game more fun—and use the adult leader volunteers—each patrol is given five fun-size Snickers bars. They can use one of these to “purchase” an adult leader for one round of tug-of-war. The “purchase” is good for only one round. The bracket lets Scouts see which patrol they will face up against next and decide whether or not it will be worthwhile to “purchase” for this round, and if so, how many adults to “purchase.”

The winning team gets the ribbon!

How the Game Went

Scouts were definitely excited about this game—there was a resounding cheer at the announcement! Adults were mildly interested in the tug, though their excitement grew quite a bit as the game progressed and Scouts became even more excited.

I did three things with this game that really made it much more exciting than just a typical tug-of-war, and I think they made it a fantastic event:

  • Brackets and elimination rounds ensured that each patrol got to tug at least four times. Four of the patrols got to tug five times, three patrols six times and two patrols seven times. In total, we completed 22 rounds of tug of war! With that many rounds, I kept the “winning distance” short: to win, you only needed to pull the other patrol about three feet.
  • The “purchase an adult” idea was a great twist. The Scouts really enjoyed trying to weigh their chances of winning against the other patrol. They would first try to assess if they could beat the other patrol on their own, then they’d try to decide if they needed to purchase an adult. And even then they were a little cautious with their spending because they knew more rounds were coming up. A lot of consideration went into how they could win each round.
  • Nobody was worried about losing their round. With so many elimination levels and only one patrol getting eliminated each time, they all knew that they could afford to lose some, and once they were eliminated, it wasn’t a big deal because they had already played so much.

Purchasing adult help quickly grew into something bigger: candy bars were no longer enough, and Scouts were bring out leftover pretzels from lunch and other snacks to barter with. The adults would play patrols off of each other to get the best treats. Eventually it even moved beyond food: “dance like ballerinas” and “lay on the ground and pretend you’re swimming” were two of my favorites. It became a game within a game.

Finally we came to the last round of the game, to determine the grand champion and ribbon winners. The Scorpion and Moose patrols were weighing their options and considering their purchases. Eventually they were all ready: each patrol had purchased the remaining half of the Troop! Everybody was on the rope for one patrol or the other. I yelled “go!” and saw them at a standstill. For a good five or ten seconds it didn’t look like either side would budge, then.. snap! The rope broke, right in the middle!

We decided this was a do-over round, but it had to be “sane.” Only the two patrols and adults they purchased could be on the rope. That, of course, resulted in a great tug between the two patrols, and a great finish to the game.

Tunnel Ball

July 9, 2008 5:04 am

I was in charge of the games station at our district day camp this year. We did several games I was familiar with and some that were new to me.

One of the new games we did was Tunnel Ball. It was a lot of fun.

Here is how you play Tunnel Ball:

The playing field is set up with two concentric circles. The outer one should be pretty large. You can use rope or chalk to mark the two circles.

The attacking team stays on the outside of the large circle. The defending team stays in the “tunnel” — the area between the two circles. A target (e.g., an upside down bucket) is placed inside the inner circle.

The goal of the attacking team is to hit the target with the ball. The goal of the defending team is to protect the target from being hit.

The attackers are free to pass the ball between themselves.

Once the attacking team has hit the target three times, the teams switch sides.



many of theses games can be done blindfolded
Gathered from e-mails shared on Scouts-L listserv.

Look at these carefully. Some of these games are better suited to Boy Scouts,
while others are perfect for Cub Scouts just learning knots.

The Rope Pyramid

We had a pyramid shaped board with a tag for each scout. Any scout could challenge a scout on the line above him and if they tied all the eight knots correctly, first, the tags were switched. You could only challenge once a week. The top three could be challenged by anyone. The top three got to be so good that they could tie the knots behind their back.

Knots Galore

Give the team captains a 24-inch length of rope. At the signal, the captains tie a knot in one end of the rope, the second player ties one near the first, and so on down the line. There should be one knot for each player on the team. After all the knots are tied and the number checked, it goes down the line again with each player untying a knot. First team to finish wins.

Rope Throw Rescue

Each den (or team) has a coil of rope. Adults representing drowning victims are in the water. Each Webelos in turn throws the rope to the drowning person who grabs it and then lets it go. The player recoils the rope and hands it to the next player. Repeat until all den members have cast successfully. Can be played on land, too.

Save My Child

You will need 6 pieces of 4-foot long rope per team, a blanket (for indoor game) or a wagon (for outdoor game), and a broom handle or stout stick. The object of the game is to tie the ropes together to have a rope long enough to throw to someone out about 15 feet away and pull them to safety. One boy sits on the blanket or in the wagon and waits for his team to tie the ropes together using square knots or sheet bends. Once the rope is thrown to the waiting boy, he must tie a bowline in the end while the other boys tie a clove hitch around the stick. All pulling must be done on the stick and not the rope. The first team to pull the boy to safety with all the knots properly tied wins.

Knot Step Contest

Line up the Webelos at one end of the room. Each is given a 6-foot length of rope. Call out the name of a knot. Each Webelos ties the knot. Judges check the knot. Each Webelos who tied the knot correctly can take one step forward. The process is repeated until a Webelos is across the finish line.

Square Knot Relay

Divide the den into two teams. Give each boy a piece of rope. At the signal, the first boy runs down to a rope lying on the ground, ties his piece to the end using a square knot or sheet bend, and returns. Each boy repeats in turn. The first team to successfully tie all pieces of rope together using correct knots wins.

Friendship Circle Closing

Each den member is given a 3-foot length of rope which he ties to his neighbor's with a square knot so that a circle is made. Boys pull back on the line with their left hands and make the Cub Scout Sign with their right. The Den Leader says, "This circle shows the bond of friendship we have in Cub Scouting. Now please join me in the Cub Scout Promise."

Drop the Knot

The group sits in a circle with their hands behind their back. One person walks around the outside with a piece of rope. They select someone, place the rope in their hands and say a knot. They then continue around the circle. The challenge is for the knot to be completed correctly before they return to the same place. If the knot is not finished or not correct, the person tying it changes place with them and goes around the circle with the rope. The game can be adjusted according to the knotting skills of participants - either by the range of knots that may be specified or if they are more competent with their knots by requiring the knot to be tied with hands kept behind the back.

Knot Dodge

Two teams are numbered off. The leader of the game calls out a number and a knot. The person with the corresponding number from one team has to go to a designated point and tie the knot. The person from the other team with the same number has to go to another point and try to hit the person tying the knot by throwing a ball (or a beanbag) at them. So the person tying the knot has the double challenge of tying the knot correctly while also dodging the throws. We used to play this on a basketball court. A length of rope was tied hanging down from the stand behind the backboard, and the knot was tied with a second length of rope onto the first. The person tying the knot would signal they had completed it by swinging on the joined ropes. The person throwing the ball had to throw from behind the free throw line (with older scouts who can throw harder and more accurately this may even need to be inside the center circle). They can go anywhere to retrieve the ball after a throw, but cannot throw it again until they have returned to the free throw line.

Human Knot

Up to twelve people stand in a circle. Each would first put in their right hand and hold with another one (not adjacent to you). Then put in the left hand hold with another one (not adjacent to you). You must get the group untied without letting go of hands.

Round-Robin Knots

Take the basic eight knots (overhand, square, clove hitch, two-half hitch, bowline, taut-line hitch, sheet bend, and timber hitch) and see who can tie them in 60 seconds or less. Good game that enforces the ability to tie knots.


All the boys form a circle, each with a length of rope. The instructor calls out a knot, and the boys tie it, then drop the rope at their feet when finished. The first one to correctly tie the knot drops out, then the remaining boys go for it again on signal. This process continues, using the same knot, until only one boy is left, who is then declared the "champ-not" for that knot. (The beauty of this game is that the boy who needs the most practice gets the most practice.)

Knots & Lashes

Give each patrol three staves, and three lengths of rope about 10 feet long. On "go," they have to lash the three staves in a triangular shape (using square lashings), then use the resulting structure as a platform to carry a patrol member a certain distance and then back to the finish line. Lots of fun - requires them to know how to lash, and know how to lash well enough that the structure doesn't come apart while carrying one of their buddies! Also requires teamwork, planning, etc.

Giant Clove Hitch

Put a pole in a ten foot circle. (In a gym, a volley ball net pole in the middle of the Center basket ball circle works fine.) Hand each end of a thirty foot plus rope to two scouts, and tell them to tie a clove hitch on the pole, without stepping into the circle, and without letting go of the rope.

Blind Knots

Tie 8-10 different knots and put them in bags of textile fabrics, one in each bag. See if anyone can recognize all of the knots without opening the bags. You can let them put their hands in the bag or just touch on the outside.

licorice laces

Challenge Scouts to tie knots using bits of rope from your Magic Bag, or from licorice laces. Bonus: it's both a snack and a game.

Magic rope trick

Do "Magic" rope trick, first have scouts pick up rope and try to tie a knot without moving their hand or fingers where they first grabbed the rope, they can't let go


Shoe lace knot rope trick -magically remove a knot tied in middle of rope




Impossible Knot Trick

Tie a knot at end of rope, hang rope over box or something with knot on unseen side.

then pick up rope with hand and knot hidden in palm. then try a couple of false starts. shake the rope with no results then pick up the untide end place it in palm and get ready to shake and let the knot end fly out


One handed Knot Trick



Threading the Needle Magic Trick Revealed