Venturer groups Activities for Woodcraft Folk

Activities for Woodcraft Folk
Venturer groups
Introduction and welcome
A brief overview of the Woodcraft Folk
Facilitation of Venturer groups and sessions
The activity plans
Debate and discussion
Craft and creativity
Outdoor activities
Further resources
Next steps
Blank session template
Compiled by Rebecca Mattingly, Debs McCahon, Tom Gaffikin and Cathy Brown
Produced by the Woodcraft Folk with support from the TREE programme
With thanks to all the leaders and Venturers who gave their ideas for activities at Venturer Camp
2010 and who helped put together this resource.
Woodcraft folk
TREE programme
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Introduction and welcome
Welcome to this resource for Venturers and Venturer leaders. The aim of this resource is to provide
you with a wide range of activities for Venturers, 13-15 year olds in the Woodcraft Folk.
Most of the activities in this pack were collected from past and present Venturer leaders from
across the UK at the national Venturer Camp in 2010. Other activities are old favourites, from
a previous edition of ‘The Venturer Book’. All activities are examples of what has worked well
with actual Venturer groups. The result is a sharing of tried and tested activities to help new and
experienced Venturers and leaders alike.
The pack has been divided by the types of activity e.g. game, debating style, craft or drama activity.
As no two Venturer groups are the same, flexibility is the key to using this resource: take what
you want, adapt as you see fit, but most of all – enjoy it! The most important aspect is that young
people are given the opportunity to explore and try out new and more challenging activities.
A Venturer programme should take forward the ideals of Woodcraft Folk, by:
• opening young people to new ideas, experiences and opportunities to develop choices
• building awareness of and participation in democracy – within Woodcraft Folk and in the wider
• exploring issues which concern young people, at a level they can relate to and learn from
• giving opportunities to develop social skills and friendships
• developing a sense of awareness and empowerment
• offering activities in a non-competitive and co-operative environment.
Following a motion passed at Annual Gathering in 2010, membership of Woodcraft Folk at
a national level is now free for Venturers. Group leaders should encourage them to take up
membership by visiting
And finally, at the back of the resource is a blank template. This is for you to copy and capture your
own successful sessions as we hope that this sharing of ideas between groups will continue. We
also welcome your feedback on what’s in here, how it worked with your group, suggestions for
tips and variations, and any improvements that could be made.
Don’t forget to visit our website for further resources and ideas.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
A brief overview of the
Woodcraft Folk
The Woodcraft Folk is a unique progressive educational movement for children and young people
– both girls and boys – designed to develop self-confidence and activity in society, with the aim of
building a world based on equality, friendship, peace, social justice and co-operation. Our motto is
‘Span the world with friendship’.
Through its activities, Woodcraft Folk tries to give its members an understanding of important
issues such as the environment, world debt and global conflict, with a key focus in recent years
being sustainable development.
We expect all new adult members to understand and accept the Woodcraft Folk’s aims and
principles. It is important that new groups discuss these thoroughly, and remain constantly aware
of their practical implications for how the group is run. You can find the aims and principles on the
reverse of the adult membership form.
Unlike other traditional youth organisations, we don’t have a set uniform but children can choose
to wear ‘woodie hoodies’ or t-shirts designed by young members.
The Woodcraft Folk was established as an educational movement and charity in 1925, and was run
entirely by young people. We operate in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Contrary to the myths that surround our name, we do not under normal circumstances, hug trees
or craft wood. The name ‘woodcraft’ was used by the influential writer and naturalist Ernest
Thompson Seton at the turn of the twentieth century. Woodcraft in this context meant the skill of
living in the open air, close to nature. The Woodcraft Folk, like other youth movements, traces its
origins back to Ernest Thompson Seton’s pioneering work with North American young people.
For more information about the history of the Woodcraft Folk visit:
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Safeguarding children
Safeguarding is about promoting the welfare of children and young people and striving to keep
them safe from harm. Fortunately keeping children and young people safe is largely common sense
and can be overcome by simple planning.
To assist group leaders, the Woodcraft Folk has developed a series of policies and procedures to
enable groups to plan and prepare for their sessions. These policies give advice on recommended
adult-to-child ratios and provide valuable tools for completing risk assessments, prompting group
leaders to consider:
• the needs of group members
• the suitability of venue
• the suitability of activities planned.
Each district should have its own child protection or safeguarding plan based on the national
policy. If your district does not have a plan you should take some steps to ensure that the issue is
discussed with other leaders in the district with a view to formulating an agreed set of procedures
as soon as possible.
National policies are reviewed every two years. For your latest copy of Woodcraft Folk policies on
Health and Safety, Safeguarding, Whistle-Blowing, Drugs and Alcohol please contact the Head
Office on 020 7703 4173 or visit
This resource does not go into detail on the administration of a group but you should make sure
you have a health form for each child filled out by their parent or guardian. This will help you
decide on some of the activities such as those involving food if there are any children with food
allergies, for example.
You may also want to look at group dynamics and setting ground rules. The Woodcraft call can
be used to gain a group’s attention. All group members should know that when someone calls
‘Woodcraft’ loudly that everyone should stop what they’re doing and reply ‘Folk’ together and
listen. There is further information and guidelines on running groups online in the Woodcraft Tool
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Facilitation of venturer groups
and sessions
Woodcraft Folk groups are run co-operatively, with children, young people and adults working
together to learn about the world and develop skills and confidence, united by shared values of cooperation and equality. This is particularly important in the Venturer age group, as young people
take a more active role in facilitating their own activities, in preparation for being self-organising as
DFs post-16.
“Venturers is an opportunity to really be an active part of Woodcraft and make a difference”,
says Jess, a Venturer from Cambridge. “Whether you want to plan your own group nights or get
involved in a national campaign, Venturers is a great way to have new experiences and broaden
your horizons.”
Because developing self-confidence and leadership skills is a key part of the Venturer experience
and development, the role of the Group Leader is often more facilitative, than in younger age
groups. Step back and guide the Venturers through the processes and decisions which will affect
how the group is run and what activities are on the programme. There are lots of ideas for running
participative discussion and planning sessions in ‘Choose it, Plan it, Do it!’, available from www.
Different groups and different people will be able to take different levels of responsibility for
running activities and sessions, and developing programmes. Give young people the opportunity
to explore and try out ideas and support less confident group members to develop the skills with
this ultimate aim in mind. Encourage the group to be self-critical so that they can realise that their
role is not to demand, but to make, practise and evaluate their own decisions. As one group of
Venturers explained, “In Woodcraft Folk, responsibility isn’t boring or hard work, it’s just part of
gaining more independence”.
This book is designed to help Leaders and Venturers alike, to find new activities and plan sessions
– whether looking for a couple of games to run, or an activity to facilitate discussion of a weighty
world issue. Since Venturer group nights across the UK work in many different ways, this resource
does not presume a particular timeframe or structure for sessions or attempt to fit specific themes
to activities that can be flexible and used in several contexts. Instead, the activities are arranged by
type and ‘tagged’ on the page, and in the index, with other themes that relate to them to make it
easier to find what you’re looking for. When searching for a new activity, either work through the
contents to search for games, drama, discussion, creative or outdoors activities or look up the key
themes you want to cover in the index – for example, co-operation, equality, communication.
If you’d like further information and support, please contact [email protected] to find
out about upcoming Youth Leader training courses – training designed by Woodcraft Folk for
leaders of all ages and levels of experience who work with young people around the Venturer age
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The Activity Plans
Section 1: games
Section 4: crafts and creativity
7 Chair shuffle
35 Wicker lanterns
8 Mixing-up games
36 Mini cooking
10 The box game
37 Building challenge
11 The key game
38 Making a flag or banner
12 The chocolate game
39 Photography and film-making
13 Co-operative games
40 Spaghetti towers
14 The cup game
41 Making juggling balls
15 Nuclear apocalypse
42 Egg drop challenge
16 Points down
Section 5: outdoor activities
Section 2: drama
45 Tracking and trailing
46 Water relay
20 Werewolves (Mafia)
47 ‘Night-line’ assault course
22 The improvisation game
48 Alka-seltzer rockets
49 Parachute drop
Section 3: debating and discussion
26 Playing your part
28 Woodcraft Folk songs
29 In the picture
30 Rights auction
31 Discussion web
32 Analysing advertisements
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Chair shuffle
Themes: building group cohesion, energiser
Duration: 10 minutes plus.
What you need: a chair for every person, arranged in a circle. What to do: This is a great ice-breaker game which also breaks up the group from sitting with
their friends or by gender. Nominate one person to stand up inside the circle. That will leave an
empty chair which the person in the middle must try to sit on. To stop them sitting down, one of
the players next to the empty chair then slides across into it. This leaves a spare chair on the other
side of them, which the next person tries to jump into – and so on. There’ll be a Mexican Wave of
people moving around the circle shifting from chair to chair. The aim of the person in the middle is
to get onto the empty chair. It is not as easy as it sounds!
If they do manage to sit down, the next person in the circle, who should have filled that seat first
has to stand up in the middle. The trick is to aim for a chair ahead of the speed of the circle – or
you will always miss it.
This game warms everyone up and breaks up any cliques. It can be fast-paced and energetic, so
use chairs with backs to avoid people falling off and make sure there is nothing around the chairs
which anyone could trip over or hurt themselves on. A chair might fall back when someone lands
on someone else – all in the spirit of the game of course!
Extra tips: You can change the direction of play by hopping into a seat and then back into your
original seat thus reversing the flow.
In large groups of 20-30 people you can put two people on in the middle with only one chair
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Mixing-up games
Themes: energiser, building group cohesion
Sometimes you can find that a group of Venturers will split with boys on one side of the circle and
girls on the other. You may also sometimes find it helpful to move some Venturers from sitting next
to their best friends to increase the interaction within the group. Here are two games to help to
mix up the Venturers, get them thinking about all the different people in the group and finding out
more about each other.
A. “The Sun Shines On … “
What you need: A chair for each player, arranged in a circle.
Duration: 10-15 minutes plus.
What to do: Ask one of the Venturers to stand in the middle of the circle and remove their chair
(there always has to be one chair missing). Then they say “the sun shines on everyone who …”
And at this point they pick whatever they feel like, it could be “is wearing jeans” or “has a vowel in
their name” or “likes camping” etc. It can be anything, but must also apply to the person who is
standing in the middle. Everyone it applies to has to stand up and move to another seat. No-one is
allowed to sit back in their original seat or in a seat directly next to them.
While players are changing seats, the person in the middle tries to get a seat too and so (as long as
they were successful) you’ll have another Venturer in the middle to call for the next round.
Stop when everyone has had a few goes.
Extra tips: You may find that the people in the middle tend to always call characteristics that
are visible – e.g. “… is wearing jeans”, “…”has black hair”. If you want to make the game more
challenging for the person in the middle and more of a chance for the group to get to know things
about each other, you could start the rule that they must call something you wouldn’t necessarily
know by looking at someone. For example, “… has a birthday in the summer”, “… plays a musical
instrument”, “… has been in Woodcraft since Elfins”.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
B. Circle pile-up
What you need: A chair for each player, arranged in a circle.
Duration: 5-10 minutes.
What to do: This time instead of the Venturers crossing the inside of the circle you are trying to get
everyone into the same seat.
Everyone sits in a chair in the circle. In this game players will respond to calls by moving around the
circle, rather than across it.
Nominate a caller, this time for the whole game, rather than taking turns. Start by making a
statement about something that some members of the group have in common, saying “everyone
who …” and then give a direction for their movement – for example, “… move three spaces to the
left” (you can pick the direction and how many spaces to move each time). Not everyone will move
so you will end up with people sitting on each other’s laps.
From now on only the top person on the seat can move. If someone is underneath they are stuck
and can’t move. The aim is to get everyone sitting on a single chair, so now try to pick things that
you know about people in the group, which gradually get more and more people onto the same
seat. For example, “everyone who likes dancing, move two spaces to the right”, “everyone who has
a dog, move seven spaces to the left”.
The game ends when everyone is in one pile, but you may want to play another round to give
others the chance to be the caller.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The box game
Themes: building group cohesion, innovation
Duration: 30 minutes plus.
What you need: A cereal box (or a tallish rectangular cardboard box) with the top ripped off.
What to do: The box game is very simple and good for all ages. Usually it is played indoors but it
can be played outdoors too. Everyone playing sits in a circle around the box. The aim is to pick up
the box with your teeth – but you are not allowed to touch the floor with anything other than your
feet. If you accidentally put a hand, knee, elbow or forehead on the floor then you lose a life.
Once everyone has had a go at the first height (most people can pick up the box on the first few
rounds), the leader will tear a strip off the top of the box to lower its height of the box. Then you
repeat, with the height of the box getting lower with each round. If you lose three lives, you are
out – but watching other people trying and falling over can be equally fun as playing yourself! You
can control how long the game lasts by the amount you tear off each time.
With the right techniques, you can get to the point where it is just a flat piece of card on the floor
and you can still pick it up using your teeth. Encourage the Venturers to try different techniques
depending on their frame, flexibility and height etc.
Extra tips: Participants at Venturer Camp 2010 said, “it’s good to encourage people as they get up
to attempt a new height. We found chanting the person’s name or singing a motivational song
(e.g. Eye of the Tiger) while they attempt it adds to the spirit of the game, while the participant
gets a mental boost!”
This game is great for playing on camp or in a park where there is a relatively soft landing on grass.
Alternatively play on a mat or carpet.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The key game
Themes: teamwork, co-operation
What you need: A chair for everyone, a coin and a set of keys.
Duration: 15-20 minutes.
What to do: The players sit in two rows of chairs facing each other, holding hands behind their
backs. The coin flipper sits at one end, equal distance from the front two players. At the opposite
end of the two rows, set another chair (a full arms reach of the last two players) and place the keys
on it.
The aim of the game is for players in teams to race to send a hand-squeeze pulse down the line as
quickly as possible. When the pulse reaches the last person on the end, they grab the keys to win.
To start the game, the coin flipper on the end flips the coin and shows it only to the nearest two
players at the same time (one from each team). If the coin shows tails, the first two players from
each team do nothing. But when it shows heads, they squeeze the hand of the person next in the
line. The other players have to face towards the keys – otherwise it’s easy to cheat and watch the
two front people and squeeze from further down the line nearer the keys.
When the final person grabs the keys, they move from the end of the row to the start of the row
and everyone in their team shuffles along. The winning team is the team which rotates fully first
– so the person who started at the front ends up back at the front. If one of the teams squeezes
when they shouldn’t and therefore someone grabs the keys at a point when they shouldn’t then
they go back the opposite direction as a penalty for cheating or making the mistake. One group
• introduce a penalty for anyone who squeezes too early
• the last two players nearest the keys keep their hands on the chairs – not hovering over the keys
• the keys should be adjusted back to the centre of the chair after each go
• if you have an odd number of Venturers, the extra person could be the coin flipper or look after
the keys (adjusting the keys and ensuring that everyone apart from the front two are facing
Extra tips: After a few rounds, the teams will start to get jumpy with anticipation, and you might
want to make it more challenging. One leader says, “I count down the release of the coin so there
is some expectation as to when to squeeze but sometimes I reveal the coin earlier to the front two
to cause some indecision. You can also put obstacles between the last two players and the keys (i.e
a bench to run across or a mat to do a somersault etc)”.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The chocolate game
Themes: building group cohesion
What you need: A big bar of chocolate (or alternative), fork, spoon, oven gloves, apron, silly hat,
Duration: 20 minutes.
What to do: This game works best for between 5 and 15 players. Everyone sits in a circle around
the chocolate and the other props/clothing. Someone starts by rolling the dice in front of them (so
people can see). If they roll a number 1 to 5, then it goes to the next person and they roll and so
If someone rolls a 6 then its chocolate time! They have to get up, put on all of the clothing (the hat,
apron, gloves etc) and then try to eat the chocolate with the fork and spoon. They will also need to
get the wrapper off and break the chocolate without using their hands.
While the Venturer who threw the 6 is trying desperately to get to the chocolate and eat, the
others are going around in the circle rolling the dice. If someone else rolls a 6, the person in
the middle needs to stop, take off all of the garments and the new person starts dressing up
to take their turn. Needless to say the first person usually only gets as far as tearing off a bit of
the wrapper, later on in the game the chocolate is exposed so it is a race to see who can eat the
fastest. Comedy arises when someone is half way through getting dressed eagerly anticipating
eating the chocolate but then is interrupted by someone else who rolls a 6.
The game ends when all of the chocolate has been eaten!
Extra tips: You can vary the costume items. In winter you could play with a hat, scarf, gloves etc, or
you could have a fancy dress theme. Oven gloves work well as it is tricky to hold the cutlery with
them. You could have more or fewer items depending on how good the Venturers are at eating the
The game also works well with both Venturers and Pioneers so is good for inter-district nights with
mixed age groups.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Co-operative games
Themes: Co-operation
What you need: No equipment needed for the yurt circle. 4 chairs are needed for the square
Duration: 5-10 minutes for each activity.
How to play: Here are two simple activities to get everyone thinking about how they work
together, support each other and make a good team. Just follow the instructions below.
A. Yurt circle
Hold hands in a standing circle. Move outwards until everyone’s arms are outstretched, but not
taut. Number people alternately around the circle, number 1 and number 2. On a count of three,
all the 1s should lean towards the centre of the circle and all the 2s should lean outwards. Each
should counterbalance the other; no no-one should move their feet. Try changing over so that
everyone is leaning in the opposite direction.
B. Square balance
Arrange four chairs in a small square, facing inwards. Choose four volunteers (of roughly equal
height and weight) and ask them to sit sideways on the chairs with their legs to the left of the seat.
Ask four more volunteers to stand behind the chairs.
The people sitting on the chairs should lean backwards until their head, shoulders, and upper back
are resting on the knees behind them. When everyone is comfortable ask them to lift up their
hips slightly and the people standing behind them should carefully slide the chairs out from under
them. The four people should remain supported without the chairs. After a minute replace the
chairs so no-one falls on the floor! You may need to allow time to repeat this activity so that others
can have a turn.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The cup game
Themes: strategy
What you need: A cup or mug each for up to 8 players. If you have a big group and more cups/
mugs available, then split the players into groups and hold a final at the end.
Duration: 30 minutes.
What to do: Every player in the group starts by placing their fingers on the rim of the cup. Players
take it in turns to count down “three, two, one …” At this point every player has two options: they
can leave their finger on the cup or they can lift their finger off the cup.
For each player, the aim of the game is to guess how many people are going to leave their fingers
on the cup when the countdown is finished. If you are playing with 5 people, the guesses could be
zero, one, two, three, four or five. Zero if everyone (including yourself) takes their fingers off, or five
if everyone leaves their fingers on. Or any combination in between.
If you think that four people will leave their fingers on the cup then the countdown would go,
“three, two, one ... FOUR!” Only one player makes a guess on each round, and it passes around the
circle so that everyone has a turn. To start with you could count down slower until everyone has a
turn and is comfortable with the format.
When you guess correctly, you are ‘out’ – which means you win! You then watch to see who will
be in the last person to guess correctly. The suspense builds when you get to the final and players
are trying to outwit each other.
Extra tips:
You can create a leader board assigning points to who goes out first (and therefore wins) or you
can introduce forfeits/dares/penalties for the last person remaining, depending on the group
dynamics. Part of the game is to be able to predict what others might do – look for patterns in
players’ behaviour. Do they leave on, then take off then leave on alternately?
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Nuclear apocalypse
Themes: innovation, teamwork, energiser
What you need: One chair per person, plus a few extra
Duration: 10 minutes.
What to do: The aim of the game is to ‘escape a nuclear apocalypse’ by getting from one end of
the room to the other as quickly as possible without your feet touching the toxic floor. Split the
group into equal teams of 4 or more. Set out the chairs so that they are in a line heading towards
the other end of the room. There needs to be one more chair than person for each team.
Shout “Go!” and the teams must climb onto their chairs and then co-operate to move the chair at
the back of the line to the front so they can step forwards. They repeat this process to get to the
other end of the hall without touching the floor. The first team to get there wins.
Extra tips: You can make it harder by removing chairs throughout the game. This means that the
Venturers have to squeeze onto chairs together, making it harder for them to move quickly and
more likely to fall off. If you have other equipment available (mats, benches, tables etc), you could
place obstacle in the way for the teams to go around or over. If you don’t have any chairs, you can
play this game with a substitute such as mats or pieces of paper (like lily pads).
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Points down
Themes: innovation, teamwork, making decisions
What you need: No equipment needed
Duration: 10-20 minutes.
What to do: This is a very simple game which needs someone to lead the activity and rest of the
group to be the players. The leader tells the group that in this game there are nine points of the
body that are allowed to touch the floor – two hands, two elbows, two knees, two feet, one
forehead. Start off by getting into pairs. The leader calls out a number and groups have to quickly
arrange themselves so that they have that number of contacts with the floor. For example, if the
number nine is called, a possible combination for a pair of players would be four feet, four hands
and one forehead on the floor. If the leader calls the number one, one player would need to pick
up the other and then stand on one leg!
Extra tips: After a few rounds in pairs, try it in threes, fours and larger groups if you want. You
could even do it as a whole group, requiring all the Venturers to work together to respond to much
higher numbers.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Themes: communication
What you need: No equipment needed.
Duration: 20 minutes.
What to do: Everyone sits in a circle and sends one person out of the room (or somewhere where
they cannot hear the rest of group). The group then decide on a job to give that person. The job
can be anything; janitor, police person, bus driver, architect etc.
Once you have agreed on a role for this person you invite them back into the circle and then the
Venturers will ask them questions related to this job, to see if the person can guess what it is they
are being interviewed for.
For example, if you decide that the Venturer will be a police person, when they come back into the
circle you might ask them questions such as “Are you good at handling conflict?”, “Are you a good
driver?”, “Do you like wearing a uniform?”
The trick is to ask them questions that are not too obvious – be discreet or slightly ambiguous and
vague. The Venturer in the middle can answer how they like, but must try to answer formally as
if they are in an interview situation. Some of the answers (and questions) might be funny! At any
point, if they have an idea what their job might be, they can take a guess.
You can randomly pick who goes out each time, or ask for a volunteer. It can be helpful to pick
the more confident Venturers to start with, as it gets the game moving and gives quieter members
of the group more of a chance to contribute to the questions. Play a few rounds to give several
people a turn at being interviewed.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Werewolves (also known as Mafia)
Session Themes: teamwork, strategy, understanding others, creativity
This game is a competition between werewolves and villagers for survival. The werewolves (who
keep their identity secret – and can lie if suspected) try to kill the all of the villagers (one each
‘night’), before the villagers can work out who the werewolves are and lynch them (during the
‘daytime’). The game alternates between days and nights until the last person or a team wins. If
the last person standing is a villager, the villagers’ team wins. But if the last person is a werewolf,
their team wins.
The game works best with 10-20 people plus a narrator who facilitates the game and tells the
story. It can be played just sitting in a circle, or around a campfire and usually takes about 30
minutes or so.
This game may sound quite violent given that the aim is to kill other characters. However, this
isn’t the point of it – it’s primarily a mystery role-play strategy game. It’s up to the narrator how
you ‘dress it up’ – you can downplay the deaths and omit gory details if you like! The game is
essentially about Venturers learning about each other and how to negotiate, think creatively,
understand body language, work as a team and strategise. Debrief after the game so the group
can reflect on this.
What you need: Pieces of paper (one per person), pen and a hat.
Duration: 20 minutes.
What to do: Prepare the pieces of paper before the start of play: for a group of 12, write
‘werewolf’ on 2 pieces, ‘seer’ on 1 piece and ‘villager’ on the rest. If there are more than about 12
player, make 3 werewolves, a seer 1 and a seer 2 (who will open their eyes and investigate players
at separate times so they don’t know each other). Fold up the pieces of paper and put them into
the hat. Each person picks out a character, reads who they are and then keeps it secret. Then the
game begins and the narrator (you) talks the characters through each stage – starting with the first
First you set the scene by saying:
“Night-time falls in the sleepy village of … (all close their eyes, except you – the narrator), but there
are two werewolves in our midst, who are hungry and wanting to kill.”
You then ask:
“Would the werewolves silently identify themselves, by opening their eyes.” (they both open their
eyes, and see who each other is. Everyone else must keep their eyes tightly shut!)
”Would the werewolves choose a victim.” (they both non-verbally agree, and point together at
another player to be their ‘victim’)
“Would the werewolves close their eyes.”
”Would the seer open their eyes.” (The seer is on the side of the villagers and is allowed to ask you
whether about the roles of others in the group, one per night)
“Would the seer point at someone they would like to investigate.” (you saw who the werewolves
are and so you answer with a thumbs up if the person the seer is investigating is a werewolf, or a
thumbs down if they are a villager)
“Would the seer close their eyes.”
“Morning time, everyone open your eyes, and awakens – except …, who has had their throat
ripped out in the night!”
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The group then needs to discuss who they think the werewolves are. Of course, the villagers had
their eyes shut the whole time and so won’t know much, but individuals may have suspicions or
clues; for example, “X is very quiet”, “I thought I felt a rustling to my right at night time”, “Y is
quick to accuse”. One member of the townsfolk may have information: the seer, who is on the side
of the villagers but can choose or whether or not to reveal their information. They are at risk of
being the next ‘victim’ if they seem to know too much or openly admit to being the seer, but may
do so for the greater good of the village. But it’s not simple; a werewolf could also claim to be the
seer, to divert suspicion away from them or towards another, and to gain the trust of the villagers.
During the discussion the Venturers will be watching and listening carefully to each other. At the
end of the ‘day’ the village needs to decide who they suspect the strongest of being a werewolf.
To make this decision it can help to have a vote after the discussion. The accused gets a chance
to make a speech to defend themselves, but if no-one changes their mind they are lynched. The
villagers have either successfully got rid of a werewolf or have wrongly lynched an innocent villager,
in which case they are now two villagers down – the one that was bitten, and the one that was
wrongly lynched.
Night-time then falls again, and you repeat the process over and over, until either all the
werewolves have been lynched or all the villagers have died.
Extra tips:
It’s up to you whether players reveal their roles once they’ve been killed. It can be a little simpler
to start playing with roles being revealed, so that the villagers know whether they’ve got the
werewolves or not. The game can be harder, but more atmospheric and tense if the villagers don’t
know which side is close to winning.
A good narrator will craft the story in their mind, making deaths dramatic, while commenting on
the discussion through the day, with remarks such as “it seems like the town are leaning towards
Tom and Bridie but is there a conspiracy afoot?!”.
It is worth evaluating at the balance of werewolves to villagers in your game. For example, if you
find that the werewolf team keeps losing then you can alter balance next time by adding another
werewolf. The players often get a feel for this during the game.
It can boring to be out (‘dead’), so you could use the rule that dead villagers can continue to play as
ghosts, as long as they keep their eyes shut at night. Werewolves and seer(s) know too much about
the identities of others and need to just observe when they are dead.
To make the game more complicated, introduce more characters. For extra roles, go to www. and look up ‘werewolves’ or ‘mafia’.
page 21
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The improvisation game
Themes: communication, understanding others
This is a fun game which opens up the lines of communication and also encourages the Venturers
to think about each others’ (real) characters and ways of describing things, in order to help them
guess the right answers.
What you need: Small pieces of paper, pens, hat.
Duration: 20 minutes.
What to do: Start by giving out pieces of paper and pens. All write down some famous people on
separate pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in the hat. One at a time, pull out a piece of
paper and act out the famous person for the others to guess. You can act and speak, but can’t say
the person’s name (or any part of it).
Extra tips: To make the game harder, write down another set of people, but this time act them out
without speaking at all. You need to communicate solely through mime. Finally, write down a third
set of people but this time only use facial expressions to convey who it is.
page 22
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Themes: making decisions, natural environment, stategy
What you need: Paper and pens. It may also be useful to think about the scenario story in advance.
Duration: 1 hour.
What to do: Set the scene with the Venturers as being only human survivors of a global
catastrophe – e.g. a killer virus which spread around the world or a nuclear apocalypse (in which
case, you could play the game on page ? as a warm up). Be imaginative – create a back-story
and describe the carnage around them. But now they need to plan for the future. As a group,
brainstorm ideas about what you would need to do to survive. What would you need? Spend
about 15 minutes on this altogether.
Once you have a good number of suggestions, work together to group them into categories or
under common themes. A lot of them will fall under headings, like shelter, aid and food. This may
take about 10 minutes.
When you have the main groups formed, assign each category to a smaller group of Venturers and
ask them to discuss how they would go about implementing them in the specific scenario. Give the
groups 15 minutes to form their plans.
Bring the group back together to discuss each area. Consider which actions would be priorities
and try to reach a group consensus on the order of importance. It’s important that all views are
heard, so encourage everyone to get involved. You could also use this time to think about how
people communicate under pressure or in a crisis. What were the group dynamics like (e.g. did
some people talk more than others)? Did the time pressure make it difficult to come up with ideas?
Did you feel that you acted differently to normal? Allow 20 minutes for this feedback and wrap-up
Extra tips: Put a time limit of about 1 hour on the scenario. You could even work this deadline and
a sense of impending danger into your story-telling to build a need for urgency within the group.
page 25
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Playing your part
Themes: understanding others, having a say, empowerment, inclusion
What you need: Role-cards (listed below), discussion topic cards (write these yourself, choosing
topics you think would interest the group – for example, ‘if money were no object, where would
you choose for your next camp?’ or ‘what are the three most important threats to the global
Duration: 45 minutes.
What to do: To prepare for this activity, write a few cards with different discussion topics on.
Choose the topics yourself, choosing things you think would interest the group – for example,
‘if money were no object, where would you choose for your next camp?’ or ‘what are the three
most important threats to the global environment?’ You’ll also need copies of the roles listed on
page 29 to hand out to members of the group. Either write these out on cards or slips of paper, or
photocopy the page and cut them out.
Get into groups of 5 or 6 and give each person a copy of a different ‘unhelpful’ role card, which
they read and don’t show anyone else. Then give them a discussion topic card and ask them to
discuss the question, in role. After 5-10 minutes stop the discussion and ask the groups if they can
identify the role each person was playing.
In the same groups, try another discussion with a different topic and playing ‘helpful’ roles.
When all the groups have finished, gather everyone together to discuss:
• How did you feel about playing the different roles?
• Were you aware of what the different roles in the group were?
• Did you learn anything about yourself? Do you recognise yourself in any of the roles?
• What effect did the different roles have on others in the group? What other roles could you have
You could also try this exercise in one big group, with helpful and unhelpful roles in play at the
same time to see what happens.
page 26
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
To make the role cards, here are the descriptions:
Unhelpful roles:
Criticiser – you criticise everything anyone says e.g. “that’s a silly idea”, “that won’t work” etc.
Intolerant – you think you know best and are right. You won’t accept anyone else’s point of view
e.g. “This is how it is...”, “you don’t know what you’re talking about” etc.
Stubborn – you refuse to participate or agree with any decisions the group makes e.g. “I’m not
doing that”, “it’s against my principles” etc.
Chatterer – you monopolise the discussion and won’t shut up. Keep talking even if you repeat
Clown – you fool around making jokes. You want to liven things up and distract others, particularly
the one who is speaking.
Fidget – you don’t take part in the discussion but have annoying fidgeting habits such as clicking
your fingers, rocking your chair, getting up to look out of the window etc.
Helpful roles:
Organiser – you try to make sure everyone is comfortable and has a chance to speak. You try
to keep the discussion running smoothly. E.g. “David hasn’t spoken yet. Do you want to say
something?”, “can we come to a decision?” etc.
Problem solver – you try to help people who disagree to see each other’s point of view and try
to find solutions to problems e.g. “maybe it’s not fair to expect everyone to eat a vegan diet for a
whole week at camp if they’re not used to it. How about having a choice on the menu?”
Supporter – you try to me constructive and say when you support someone’s idea, but you don’t
put them down if you don’t e.g. “I don’t see it that way, you’ll still have to convince me”.
Questioner – you want everyone to clearly understand the situation e.g. “can you give me an
example?”, “can you explain that a little more?” etc.
Good listener – you are always attentive to what others are saying and when you want to
contribute you don’t say things that are irrelevant e.g. “I agree with that because...”
Provoker – you don’t allow the conversation to get stuck in a rut and try to stir things up so that
the issue gets examined from different points of view e.g. “we all agree the No Ball Games rule is
unfair, but what might senior citizens think?”
page 27
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Woodcraft Folk songs
Themes: creativity, Woodcraft Folk identity
What you need: Copies of the Woodcraft songbook, copies of the Woodcraft Folk aims and
principles, a guitar or other instruments to guide the tunes (optional).
Duration: 1 hour.
What to do: Choose a couple of the songs from the songbook and learn them as a group.
Depending on the size of your group, you could then either split up into small groups to discuss the
songs, or hold a discussion in the main circle. In the discussion, look at what the meaning is behind
the words and consider the following questions:
• What is the song about?
• Could it have more than one meaning?
• Is there a significant background that would help to put it in context?
• What was the songwriter trying to say?
• How does it relate to the Woodcraft Folk?
• Can you relate the song to any specific Woodcraft Folk aims and principles?
• Does it relate to other parts of today’s society – and if so, how?
Allow about 20 minutes for this discussion. If you’ve broken into smaller groups, make sure you
come back together and share the results of the individual discussions at the end. If the groups
were all considering different songs, feeding back the rest of the Venturers allows everyone to find
out more. If the groups were all looking at the same one, it could be interesting to see whether
different views and interpretations come out of the different groups, potentially sparking further
discussion. This can take about 15 or 20 minutes.
Extra tips: Most of the songs in the Woodcraft Folk songbook can be quickly researched with a
Google search. It might be worth looking up a few in advance so you’ve got a greater depth of
background information to call on if needed.
If you’re planning to split into smaller groups, it can be useful to have copies of the questions to
hand out to help and guide the discussions.
page 28
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
In the picture
Themes: understanding others, having a say, communication
What you need: Old magazines and newspapers, glue, scissors, pens, large sheets of paper
Duration: 1 hour.
What to do: Divide into groups. Using a variety of magazines and newspapers, cut out as many
different pictures and clippings as you can find about young people to make a quick collage in
each group. Allow about 20-30 minutes for this. When all the groups are finished with their
collages, pin them all on the wall for everyone else to see.
As a group, discuss the messages that the images and clippings in the collages give about young
• Are they negative or positive?
• What sorts of themes – for example, clothes or behaviour – do they convey?
• Are these images realistic?
• Are there any groups of young people not represented in the collages?
• How do you think older people might describe young people? Where do they get these ideas
• As young people, how would you like to be seen?
Extra tips: If you have time, recycle and recreate your collages so that they give positive images of
young people.
page 29
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Rights auction
Themes: global issues, making decisions
What you need: A list of things to auction (make enough copies to spread around the group), dice,
pieces of paper or Monopoly money.
Duration: 45 minutes plus.
What you need: Everyone throws the dice. Each person receives £100 for every each spot on the
dice (either just written on a piece of paper, or as Monopoly money). The money is to be spent on
what the individual wants or values the most.
Hand out the sheets and allow 10 minutes for everyone to work out their budget and how much
they think they are prepared to pay for the items on the list.
Ask someone to volunteer to be an auctioneer. Auction off each item and have the group members
bid for the items they want. Items should go to the highest bidder. Bidders should keep a note of
the money spent and the value of each bid.
Some suggested items for auction:
• Free healthcare
• A decent home
• Access to all land
• Free admission to all cinemas
• Education for all
• World disarmament
• Exemption from all laws
• Free expression of opinions
• A swimming pool
• Friends for life
• Guaranteed employment
• The right to a name
Plus any others you choose to add.
After the auction, hold a discussion about how everyone feels.
• Did they get what they wanted?
• Did they pay more than they had planned?
• How did it feel when someone else won the item they wanted?
• Is this a reflection of real life?
page 30
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Discussion web
Themes: communication, inclusion
Duration: 30-45 minutes.
What you need: Two balls of wool in different colours.
What to do: This activity works best with groups of 8-10 people, so if you have a very large
Venturer group, it might be worth splitting into two smaller groups.
Decide on a topic to be discussed. Ask for a volunteer to start the discussion. Take a ball of wool
and give it to them. They hold onto one end of the wool and when they are done speaking, pass
the ball onto whoever wants to speak next (they should have their hand-up). As the discussion
proceeds, a web will appear, showing the lines of communication. When the wool runs out, or the
discussion has finished, carefully lay the web on the floor.
Take another ball of wool in a different colour. Pick another topic. Whoever spoke last in the
previous discussion takes the ball of wool and asks another person in the circle if they would like
to speak. If they do, pass the wool on to that person. If they don’t, ask someone else if they could
like to speak. No one may ask for the ball of wool so that they may speak – they must wait to be
offered it.
Compare the two webs and ask:
• What stops people participating in a discussion?
• How can you stop someone from dominating a discussion and help those who can’t get a word
in have their say?
page 31
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Analysing advertisements (gender theme)
Themes: understanding others, equality
What you need: Advertisements aimed at either men or women (take note of the magazines they
came from), flip-chart paper, marker pens, glue.
Duration: 1 hour.
What to do: Put a list of the magazines on a large sheet of paper. Get into groups of 2 or 3 and
give each group an advertisement, a large blank sheet of paper, a marker pen, glue and a set of
questions. Each group should glue their advertisement onto the paper and spend 15 minutes
discussing the questions, noting their responses on the paper to create a poster. Questions to
consider are:
• What is being advertised?
• What is the product used for?
• What technique does the advert use to persuade people to buy this product?
• Who is it aimed at?
• How are men/women presented in the advert?
• What does the advert assume about the people it is aimed at?
• How realistic are the images being portrayed?
• Which magazine do think it is from, and why?
• Any other comments?
After 15 minutes, display the posters around the room and allow 5 minutes for each group to look
at all the others. As a whole group, discuss:
• What do you notice most about the adverts?
• Are there any general points to be made about the adverts aimed at men and women?
• What do the adverts suggest about men and women?
• What images do they put across?
• Are these images realistic?
• What effect to these images have on people?
• What problems might arise from presenting men and women in this way?
• Why are the images used?
Extra tips: This activity focused on the theme of gender, but you could use the same process to
focus on other issues – consumerism, the environment, war etc.
page 32
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Wicker lanterns
Themes: creativity, natural environment
What you need: Wet wicker, secateurs, masking tape, string, tea lights, cardboard, tissue paper,
Duration: Whole session.
What to do: Using the wicker, make a square base for the lantern. Take four short pieces for the
outer edges and strengthen the square with two diagonal cross pieces (see Diagram a). Bind the
wicker together with masking tape or string.
When you have made the base, affix a small piece of cardboard to the middle – this will be where
your tea light or candle will sit. You then need to cut the remaining wicker into longer strips. You
need a minimum of four strips for each lantern, one to start from each corner of the base that then
meet at the top in the middle (see Diagram b). Use tape to attach the wicker at the bottom and at
the top. You should now have a pyramid shaped wicker frame.
Cardboard base
for tea light
Tissue paper
Wicker frame
Diagram a
Diagram b
The next step is to cover this frame with tissue paper to add colour to the lantern. Tear long strips,
lay them over the wicker and paste runny glue over the top to build up a few layers and make it
stronger – like papier-mâché. Leave a hole in one side to slide the candle through and light the
lantern. It can also be a good idea to leave a small hole in the tissue paper at the very top to let
some of the heat escape.
Extra tips: You can make these lanterns in different sizes. Try making a series of small ones and
thread them together in a chain, or add a few more wicker supports and make a bigger one.
page 35
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Mini cooking
Themes: innovation
What you need: Chairs and table space for everyone, 1 or 2 empty fizzy drinks cans per person,
enough pairs of scissors for one between every 3-4 people, 1 tea light candle per person (with
a few spare in case some Venturers would like to cook two things at once), matches or a lighter,
newspaper to cover tables with, cocktail sticks, cooking oil, food to cook (see below).
Duration: 1 hour.
What to do: This activity can get quite messy, so start by laying some news paper down on the
tables! Everyone gather around the table, making sure you all have space to work. Give out the
cans (1 per person to start with) and distribute the scissors around the table. Then prepare your
cooking equipment together, taking the group through the following steps:
Step 1 Cut the fizzy drinks can in half. Throw away the end which has the ring pull and turn the
other half upside down on the table so that the underside of the can is facing up. There should
be a small bowl-shaped area on the underside. This is where you’ll cook your food, with a candle
underneath to heat it.
Step 2 Cut two slits upwards from the side of the can approximately 2cm apart and 3cm long. This
will create a small flap which allows some air to get to the candle, preventing it from losing oxygen
and going out.
Step 3 Light the tea-light and place it under the can.
Step 4 Add a tiny amount of oil to the bottom of the cooking part and then add food. Turn hot
food and remove it from the ‘pan’ with cocktail sticks to avoid burns.
Extra tips: This activity might take some advance planning as you’ll need to save up enough drinks
cans. But if you discuss it with the group a week or two beforehand and ask everyone to bring
some in, you could do it at shorter notice.
Discuss what to cook in advance so you can buy ingredients to the Venturers’ taste. Other groups
have cooked small pieces of bacon, thinly sliced sausages, mushrooms, cheese, scrambled egg
(whisking the egg in a separate bowl) and melted chocolate to dip strawberries into.
This is a relaxed, fun and sociable activity – the time required depends on how much the Venturers
want to cook and whether they decide to use more than one can each.
page 36
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Building challenge
Themes: teamwork, inclusion, innovation
What you need: Plenty of newspaper, some card, scissors, sticky tape, blue-tack (optional), straws.
A blindfold for each team (a scarf will do).
Duration: 50 minutes.
What to do: Split into teams of 4. Set something for the groups to build (e.g. the tallest tower, a
bridge to hold the most weight across two tables or a floating boat) and explain that they need to
do this using only the equipment and materials given to them.
However, they must elect one person in the team to wear a blindfold. They must also elect one
person in the team to not be able to speak for the entire game and someone who will only use
their ‘wrong’ hand in the game (so if they are right handed, to only use their left hand). The final
person is fully functioning.
Everyone must participate – and help others to participate throughout the whole game. You might
need to keep an eye on the blindfolded person to make sure that they are full involved. Also ensure
the person who cannot speak stays quiet!
Give the groups 30 minutes to build their structure. Then move around to look at what the other
groups have made and measure their height or test their strength with a small weight. The winner
is the group with the tallest tower, strongest bridge, strongest boat etc.
As a whole group, debrief after the activity to discuss how they felt during the game.
• Was it difficult to carry out the task?
• Did they do anything particular to include everyone in the task?
• What is it like for people who have disabilities or problems with carrying out tasks in real life?
page 37
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Making a flag or banner
Themes: communication, creativity, Woodcraft Folk identity
What you need: A large piece of fabric (or a flat bed-sheet), scissors, paints, felt, needles and
threads, plus anything you wish to be attached to the banner or flag.
Duration: Whole session plus.
What to do: Create a flag or banner for your Venturer group or district to take to events or camps.
How you do this is completely up to your group! Perhaps there are some group members who
are particularly artistic and have skills they could teach others. Perhaps the group has a particular
use for the flag/banner in mind, which might help decide how to make it. Here are a few ideas for
techniques you could use:
• batik and dyes can be used to create beautiful lightweight banners and flags that will flutter in
the wind
• embroidery and appliqué can be used to create interesting textures and detail – but remember,
the more stuff you attach, the heavier the fabric will be (might not be so good for flags).
• create a collage of different things to do with Woodcraft, your group, or your town for a heavier,
stiffer banner.
• use paints to put pictures and designs on to the fabric. This can be good for intricate detail.
Extra tips: Depending on the technique you choose to use, making a banner could take two
sessions, so plan ahead.
page 38
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Photography and film-making
Themes: communication, Woodcraft Folk identity, understanding others
What you need: Digital camera (with video function), paper and pens for planning, computer with
some basic editing software.
Duration: 2-3 sessions.
What to do: Make a video (or a series of photos) about your Venturer group and Woodcraft
Folk district to send to another group in another part of the country. To arrange to pair up with
another group, you could twin with one you met at a national camp or event, put an article on the
Woodcraft Folk website asking for another group to volunteer and get in touch, or call the Head
Office to be put in contact with a particular group.
When you plan your film project, you might find it useful to:
• Spend some time planning what you want your film to be about and draw up some story boards
before you get the camera out.
• Rehearse or walk-through any staged scenes.
• If you need it, why not see if there’s anyone in the district who could give you some technical
support and advice?
Extra tips: Doing the preparation, filming and editing for a film can take a little while, so it might
be worth setting aside two or three group night sessions to work on this and possibly establish a
small group of volunteers to do the editing on a computer at home.
page 39
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Spaghetti towers
Themes: teamwork, science
What you need: Uncooked spaghetti strands (a good handful per team), marshmallows or jelly
babies (roughly 20 per team), a retractable tape measure. For clearing up, you’ll also need a brush
for the bits of broken spaghetti and a damp cloth for sticky table-tops.
Duration: 20-30 minutes plus some clear-up time afterwards.
What to do: Divide into teams of roughly 4 people. Tell the group that their challenge is to build
the tallest tower using only spaghetti and marshmallows/jelly babies. Don’t give them any more
information, just say ‘go’! The aim behind this activity is for the teams to plan, discuss and discover
what works.
The key to success at tower building is to use triangles in the construction to ensure stability. In
fact, the best method is to build pyramids. Give the teams space to discover this themselves. Some
of them may build cubes and discover that they’re not very stable – that’s ok. This is also about
group problem solving and working out how to best use limited materials. Call a halt to the tower
building after 20-30 minutes, measure each one and discuss the outcome. Was it a question of
height versus stability? Which techniques worked and which didn’t?
page 40
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Making juggling balls
Themes: creativity
What you need: A packet of fairly thick balloons (enough for at least six per Venturer), bags of rice,
a few empty water bottles, a few funnels and some scissors. The amount of rice needed depends
on how many Venturers there are in the group and how many juggling balls you will make.
Duration: Whole session.
What to do: Give each Venturer two heavy duty balloons each. Using a funnel, pour about half a
cup of rice into an empty water or soft drink bottle (if you don’t have a funnel, make one from the
top of a second bottle). The size of your juggling balls depends on the amount of rice you use –
you need it to fit comfortably into the palm of your hand. Inflate a balloon to about the size of a
grapefruit, twist the neck and stretch it over the neck of the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down
so all the rice falls into the inflated balloon – then remove the balloon from the bottle and let it
Cut the neck off the balloon – the rice will stay inside. Now cut the neck off the second balloon
and stretch it over the first balloon to seal the hole and keep the rice inside your juggling ball.
You could use the ball like this, but they look more exciting if you add another balloon layer (in a
different colour) and create patterns. You can do this by:
• Cutting both the neck and part of the top off a third balloon and stretching it over the ball will
give you a single stripe of another colour.
• Cutting lots of very small holes in a balloon by pinching it between your finger and thumb and
carefully cutting off the tips will give you spotty patterns. Remove the neck and stretch it over
the ball as before to add this layer.
Do this three times so each Venturer has three juggling balls (each Venturer uses at least six
balloons in total).
Extra tips: Venturers may find it useful to work in pairs to make their juggling balls. There are a few
stages when an extra pair of hands can be useful.
One group made juggling balls at the start of term and then practiced juggling for 5 or 10 minutes
each session for the rest of the term to learn a new, fun skill.
page 41
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
The egg drop challenge
Themes: innovation, teamwork, science
What you need: An egg for each team, groundsheet or newspaper to protect the floor from broken
eggs, a selection of craft and scrap materials such as: paper, card, straws, bubble-wrap, sticky tape,
cotton wool, fabric, bin-bags, string, disposable cups, cardboard tubes, foam etc. You’ll also need
to identify somewhere to drop the eggs from quite a height, such as a balcony in a school hall, a
first floor window or from the top of a step ladder.
Duration: 1 hour.
What to do: This is an old favourite that gets small teams of Venturers working together on a
challenge – to drop a raw egg from a height without it breaking. It doesn’t need much preparation,
except for a good store of materials.
Divide into teams of about 3-4 people. Give each team a set of materials and tell them that they
can use them in any way they like to prevent the egg from breaking when it’s dropped. Some may
pack the egg in soft wrappings, while others may make a parachute or a multi-layered ‘crumplezone’ to cushion the impact.
Allow at least 30-45 minutes for groups to design and make their devices before everyone stops to
test them by dropping them one at a time and assessing the damage to the eggs.
Extra tips: One group recommends adding a twist. Instead of giving out materials to each group
at the beginning, give out amounts of Monopoly money and lists of available materials with prices
beside each. The groups then have to plan ahead, prioritise and decide what they want from the
materials ‘shop’.
page 42
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Tracking and trailing
Themes: energiser, teamwork
What you need: Pieces of coloured chalk (if you’re doing this activity in an urban area) or a bag of
flour (if you’re in woods).
Duration: 30 minutes plus.
What to do: Using the wicker, make a square base for the lantern. Take four short pieces for the
outer edges and strengthen the square with two diagonal cross pieces (see diagram). Bind the
wicker together with masking tape or string.
The aim of this game is for one team of Venturers to leave a trail for another team to follow. Split
the Venturers into two teams – one to leave the trail and the other to be the trackers. The trail
team starts out first (with a leader if needed) and leaves a chalk arrow at each street corner or a
small trail of flour at turning points in the woods to indicate which way they’ve gone.
Wait a few minutes before the tracking team starts to chase after the trailers. Keep an eye out
for the signs and move quickly to try to catch up. The route the trail takes is up to the first group
– they can decide at the time. The trail can either end with the group hiding and waiting to be
found by the trackers, or back at base, where the trail team wait and time how long it takes for
their trackers to come in behind them. Allow time for at least two games, once the group is back
together the teams will probably want to swap and have a go in the other role.
Extra tips: Once the group is really good at the game, make it harder by using more subtle chalk
symbols on the pavement, walls or even trees. In the woods you could even use broken twigs
and branches to direct your trackers, which blend into the surroundings and can be much harder
to see. Using twigs for arrows in the woods also means that you can play the game without any
Tracking and trailing can take varying lengths of time, from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on
how far the trail leads. Once the group has got to know the game, you could make it a shorter
activity, and part of a broader group night session by setting a five-ten minute time limit for the
first group to set the trail and get back to base. Alternatively, when running the activity on camp,
allow longer so that group can lay longer, more difficult trails.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Water relay
Themes: co-operation, innovation, teamwork
What you need: 4 buckets, water, some plastic bottles with holes punched in with a pair of scissors
or screwdriver.
Duration: 20 minutes plus.
What to do: This is an outside game and best for summer as people might get wet.
Split the group into two teams and establish a start line and a finish line for the activity. Each
team puts a full bucket of water at their start line and an empty bucket at the finish. Distribute the
bottles evenly between the two teams.
The challenge for each team is to get the most water from the bucket at one end of the course
to the bucket at the other end. All you have to transport the water are the leaky bottles. You can
only run with one bottle at a time (like in a relay race) but there’s no limit on the number of people
holding each bottle to move between the buckets. The idea is that it will take more than one
person to cover enough holes in a leaky bottle to be able to transport the water from one end to
the other. Meanwhile, the rest of the team can be filling up the next bottle ready to go.
Extra tips: Make sure you’ve put enough holes in each bottle so that one person can’t cover them
all with their hands.
You could make the task more difficult by introducing obstacles to go around, climb over and crawl
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
‘Night-line’ assault course
Themes: communication, teamwork, natural environment
What you need: 4 or 5 big balls of string (one ball of string will get you approximately 50 yards).
Scarves or similar to make blindfolds.
Duration: 30 minutes.
What to do: Two leaders (or older Venturers) go into the woods with the string during the late
afternoon while it is still light to set a trail of string between the trees. To start, tie up one end of
the string to a tree and then unwind the ball to take a taught line of string to a nearby tree. It is
usually enough to wrap the string a couple of times around the trunk or a branch of the second
tree, rather than tying a knot, before taking the string onto the next tree. Make the line zig-zag
from tree to tree, and to logs, stumps and branches. Make the string go high and low, through
tree forks, around rocks etc. Don’t make it too hard though – being blindfolded is disorientating
and even a simple course can be very difficult. The string line has to be continual so that the
Venturers can follow it. Once you have set up your course it is worth testing it, before setting the
Venturers off, to check that it’s safe.
Later in the evening, when it’s dark, take the rest of the group down to the night-line and ask them
to put blindfolds on at the start. Explain the task – to feel their way along the line in the dark and
follow the strong trail past obstacles. Set each Venturer off on the string, one-after-another in a
line. They can talk to each other, help each other by giving warnings – for example, when there’s
a sudden drop, or an awkward branch coming up, and will inevitably sometimes bump into each
Extra tips: When you’re setting up the trail, it is worth noting whether there are any footpaths or
areas where people mountain-bike nearby. The string trail could present a hazard if it crosses a
path. Also, don’t get the string too tangled – you will need to collect it in again afterwards!
When setting the Venturers on the trail, it can be helpful to have someone at the front who is quite
loud, in order to communicate with the rest of the group.
If you are on camp with younger groups you could run the night-line activity with the Elfins while it
is light and the Pioneers once night has fallen, before the Venturers try it blindfolded.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Alka-Seltzer rockets
Themes: science
What you need: Alka-Seltzer or effervescent vitamin C tablets, water, enough empty camera-film
canisters (with lids) for one each. These can be hard to source now, but ask adults in the district in
case someone has an old stash at home!
Duration: This could be a very quick 10 minute activity – but to explore the effect thoroughly,
experiment, or decorate the rockets, allow 30 minutes or more.
What to do: Hand out the film canisters – one per person. Break the Alka-Seltzer tablets in half
and give a piece to each person to place in their film canister. Check that all the canisters have
tight-fitting lids (very important!). When ready to launch the first rocket, add 1cm of water, snap
the lid on and make sure the seal is tight. Quickly turn the canister upside-down (so the lid is at the
bottom) and place it on a flat surface. Now stand back!
When water is added to the Alka-Seltzer tablet, bubbles of carbon dioxide gas are given off. When
the lid is fitted tightly to the canister this gas is contained within an enclosed space. As more gas
is given off the pressure inside the canister rises until there is enough force to overcome the seal
of the lid. The built up pressure exerts enough force to shoot the canister into the air, forming the
rocket. They go pretty high and make a very satisfying pop. The warmer the water you add, the
quicker the reaction - so make sure it’s not too warm or else you won’t have time to get the lid on
and move away.
Extra tips:
Although this can be done in a large space indoors, it can be pretty messy so is best done outside.
Take it in turns to set off the rockets and designate an area as the rocket launch pad so you don’t
have rockets launching all over the place. They’re small but they go fast, so there is a hazard.
You can decorate the film canisters with paints to personalise them, or even make a rocket body,
nose cone and fins out of paper. They do get very soggy though!
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Parachute drop
Themes: empowerment, teamwork, strategy
What you need: A number of cars or a minibus and drivers, copies of a detailed map of the area,
compasses, blindfolds, snacks to hand out to each group. Ask the Venturers to wear suitable
clothing and bring waterproofs.
Duration: 1-2 hours plus (depending on how far away from ‘base’ you leave the groups).
What to do: This activity is not literally a parachute drop – but involves dropping Venturers with a
map in an unknown rural location and then leaving them to navigate their way back. It’s a great
camp activity but could also be done as a group night in the spring or summer. It requires some
advance planning.
First, establish some drop-off locations. Look at maps, and maybe even go and have a look at
each one, to find a number of spots which won’t be immediately identifiable to the Venturers
but contain some clues that will show on an OS map – for example, a lake to the west, a field
with a distinctive hill, a gated road, a nearby train track. Find enough locations to drop groups of
around 4 Venturers at each one. Produce copies of the map, showing the drop-off locations and
surroundings as well as the ‘base’ (i.e. the campsite or meeting venue). Mark the base on each
copy, but not the drop-off points.
You’ll need to enlist some drivers for this activity – either with a number of cars to take each team
individually to their drop-off point, or a mini-bus to take everyone at once, working from the
furthest drop-off point back towards the base. Work out the composition of the teams with the
Venturers beforehand, blindfold them all and then drive to the drop-off points. Leave a team at
each location with a compass, a couple of copies of the map and some snacks to keep them going
on their walk. It’s now up to them to work out where they are and try to get back to base before
the other teams.
This activity may sound full of risks, but take a few precautions to make it safe and the Venturers
will remember it for ever. One potential risk is that a team will get lost because a number of people
with weaker map-reading skills ended up working together. Therefore, try to (subtly) balance the
teams so that they contain people with a mix of skills and the stronger navigators are spread out.
Some groups running this activity choose to leave an adult ‘shadow’ with each group who is not
there to lead the Venturers, but to follow and make sure they’re safe.
Extra tips: You can run this as a group night activity by dropping the teams in unknown parts of
town with street maps, or just outside of the city and asking them to find their way back into
It may be worth asking group members to hand in any mobile phones with GPS, or even bus
passes if doing the parachute drop in town, before setting off.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Further resources
This pack presents just a few of the many activities you can do with a Venturer group. Don’t forget
to have a look for more ideas and guidance at in the resources and Woodcraft Tool Box sections of
the Woodcraft Folk website.
Other resources you may find helpful are:
‘Choose it, Plan it, Do it!’ – participative facilitation tools and activities for groups; available online.
‘Annual Gathering group activities’ – activities to prepare delegates to represent the group and
introduce Venturers to how Annual Gathering works; available online.
‘Follow the Trail activities for Venturers and DFs’ – activities to help groups reflect on what
Woodcraft Folk means, how young people are involved and how we can take that further; available
online. – activities produced by the Global Village 2006 project, themed around the
Millennium Development Goals.
‘Games, Games, Games’ – available from Folk Supply.
‘The Woodcraft Songbook’ – available from Folk Supply.
All online resources can be downloaded from
By doing some of the activities in this resource you will not only have new ideas for specific
sessions, but also help on how to put activities together around an idea or topic, how to prepare
and how to facilitate them.
Hopefully it may also have sparked your own ideas for further sessions – either pairing up, or
adapting resources from this pack to explore a particular topic, or by creating something new.
Experiment, try new things and encourage the Venturers themselves to run activities for the group
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Next steps
For many people, being Venturer age is about expanding horizons. Build links between your
Woodcraft Folk group and the rest of your district, the movement and the wider world by:
• Going to a trip to a local outdoor pursuits centre, theatre or cinema
• Bringing in an outside speaker or activity for a themed session
• Linking up with other local Woodcraft groups to do a joint activity
• Planning a project with your group to run an event or take action on a local issue
• Getting involved with a campaign (and check to see if Woodcraft Folk is running one of its own)
• Supporting a younger Woodcraft group by getting your Venturers to run some sessions for them.
• Twinning with a Venturer group outside your area – you could exchange videos, photos and
emails with news and updates
• Creating a page about your group or district on the national Woodcraft Folk website
• Preparing a news item for the website about a recent activity or experience
• Going to a camp
• Visiting one of the Woodcraft Folk residential activity centres
• Doing some training as a group over a few weeks to get new skills and qualifications, such as
first aid, baby-sitting, sound and audio or jewellery making courses.
Being a Venturer may present many young people’s first taste of meeting Woodcraft Folk outside
your district. There are plenty of opportunities to make new friends and try new activities at:
• Venturer Camp – a week of workshops, entertainment and socialising dedicated to Venturers
from every corner of Woodcraft Folk.
• Regional camps – get more involved with organising and running your region’s annual camp.
• International camps – make friends from all over the world at these huge summer events.
In Venturers, there are also loads more ways to get involved in changing the Venturer movement
and the whole of Woodcraft Folk for the better:
• Do you want to change something about the way Woodcraft Folk works? Discuss it in your
group and send a motion to Annual Gathering, Woodcraft’s biggest democratic event of the
• Represent your group at Annual Gathering itself and join in the year’s biggest debate about the
future of Woodcraft Folk on a national level.
• Become part of Venturer Committee – a elected national board of Venturers from across the UK
who get together to share ideas and represent the age group in making plans and decisions.
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
This blank session template is to help you plan and record your own sessions. Once you have tried
them, please share them to inspire other leaders by uploading them to the Woodcraft Folk website.
Name of the session:
What you need:
What to do:
Some things to think about while putting together a session plan:
• Can you pull together a few shorter activities with common themes to make an engaging and
varied session to explore a particular idea or topic?
• Do you want to have any quick games to warm the group up or energise them part-way through?
Can you link them to the overall theme?
• Could you bring it back to the theme with a few key discussion points at the end?
• Do you need any particular equipment, resources or preparation?
• Do you need any extra helpers?
• Keep time fairly flexible to be able to respond the group on the night and have a filler game up
your sleeve in case part of it takes less time that expected!
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
Woodcraft Folk Head Office
Our UK headquarters are in Southwark, London, where most of our staff are based.
Units 9 & 10, 83 Crampton Street, London SE17 3BQ
020 7703 4173
[email protected]
Gwerin Y Coed
The Woodcraft Folk’s Welsh office
Y Ganolfan, Llanfrothen, Gwynedd, LL48 6LJ
0845 458 9560
[email protected]
Woodcraft Folk Scotland
The Woodcraft Folk’s Scottish office
87 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 2EE
0141 304 5552
[email protected]
Woodcraft Folk is a registered charity in England and Wales (1073665) and in Scotland (SC039791)
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
page 54
Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
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Activities for Woodcraft Folk Venturer Groups
19, 22
all ages
10, 12
Annual Gathering
50, 51
assault course
awareness of others
20-21, 26-27, 31
building group
7, 8-9, 10, 12
37, 40, 42
45, 47, 49, 51
7, 8-9, 11, 13, 15
37, 40, 42, 46
chemical reaction
child protection
7, 8-9, 13
circus skills
29, 32
19, 22, 26-27, 29, 31, 38, 39, 47
contact game
9, 16
11, 13, 46
20-21, 28, 35, 38, 41
drugs and alcohol
26-27, 49
7, 8-9, 15, 45
30, 32
Ernest Thompson Seton
4, 50
film canister
Folk Supply
Follow the Trail
global issues
ground rules
group dynamics
3, 4, 25, 31
having a say
26-27, 29, 51
health and safety
7, 8-9
26-27, 31, 37
10, 15, 16, 36, 37, 42, 46
knowing each other
26-27, 31,
page 56
making decisions
16, 25, 30
making things
36, 41
Millennium Development
natural environment
25, 35, 47
1, 4, 52
49, 52
problem solving
relay race
risk assessment
3, 49
19, 20-21, 25, 26-27
40, 42, 48
scrap materials
37, 42
session template
1, 52
29, 32
14, 20-21, 25, 40, 49
11, 15, 16, 20-21, 26-27, 37, 40, 42, 45, 46, 47, 49
45, 47
4, 51
understanding others
20-21, 22, 26-27, 29, 32, 39
urban outdoors
2, 28
Venturer Book, the
Venturer Camp
1, 51
Venturer Committee
viewpoints, different
26-27, 29
1, 39, 50, 53
Woodcraft Folk aims
and principles 2, 28
Woodcraft Folk contacts
Woodcraft Folk history
Woodcraft Folk identity
28, 38, 39
Woodcraft Folk motto
Woodcraft Folk songbook
28, 50
45, 47
young people
Youth Leader Training
Woodcraft folk
Woodcraft Folk is a registered charity in England and Wales (1073665) and in Scotland (SC039791)