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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Create YouthShaped art with Bits and bobs

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You’ll need

  • Glue sticks
  • Sticky tape
  • Camera or phone
  • Neutral craft materials, such as lollypop sticks, pom poms, buttons, ribbon, bubble wrap and so on
  • Natural objects, such as acorns, pebbles, leaves, sticks and so on
  • Clean and safe household objects, such as pasta, rice, nuts and bolts, plastic plant pots, and so on
  • Frames (either pictures frames or you can make your own card frames)
  • Cardboard

Before you begin

·       Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.

·    Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Contribution to the YouShape Award

This activity may contribute towards the ‘Central’ section of the YouShape Award, depending on the Scouts section you’re in. If this session completes the requirement for an individual or a group, you may want to hand the ‘Central’ badge out at the end of the session.

Setting up this activity

·       Gather your bits and bobs. You could ask young people to bring in things they find at home or outside. However, remember not everyone will be able to do this, so it’s good to have items that everyone can use.

·       Set out the picture frames, objects and equipment on the surface that you’ll be working on, making sure everyone has access to them. You might use separate containers or set all the bits and bobs up in different creative ways. You may want to cover the surface with a protective material to help contain mess, such as a PVC tablecloth, burlap or thin plastic mats.

·       Make sure equipment and materials are age appropriate. Supervise the activity closely to make sure small objects are not put in mouths, ears and noses. Remind young people not to put anything in their mouth and wash hands regularly.

·       You may want to run this activity outside, depending on the weather. Before running this session, you might want to run a session collecting the items on a YouthShaped Nature Walk.


Run the activity

1.     Gather everyone together and tell people that they’re going to use their imaginations to get creative and make something out of all the items. They could put them on a piece of card, spread them out on a table or floor, or use the frames.

2.     Show everyone all the objects and talk through what they are. You may want to remind people not to put any of the objects in their mouths, noses or ears.

3.     When you’re ready, ask everyone to start working with the objects. Let people get creative and see what they make. The fewer instructions you give, the better. If young people ask questions, you can choose to answer them or you might want to ask them what they think the answer is.

4.     As everyone is looking at the objects, volunteers and young leaders should spend time going round and asking everyone what they’re making. Alternatively, you might ask them about what they’re creating once they’ve started making and are in ‘the zone’. You could ask ‘What do you want to do with all these bits and bobs?’ or ‘What could you create?’

5.     If young people are unsure of what to do, a volunteer or young leader could join and create their own artwork with the bits and bobs. However, remember that whatever an adult or young leader creates could influence or guide young people, so they should try to do something neutral, such as a pattern rather than a particular image.

6.     Let everyone continue creating. There’s no wrong or right way for young people to engage with the materials. The main thing is just to let people see what they invent. If someone finishes quickly, encourage them to keep going. What else could they create? You could ask prompting questions about their design.

7.     People could use glue to make their creations last, such as by glueing the items to card, to frames or to another item.

8.     Spend about 30 minutes crafting, then gather back together to talk about and reflect on what people want to get out of their YouShape Award.

9.     When everyone has finished, get together in a circle. Ask everyone to bring their creations with them. As a group, reflect on what everyone’s created.

10.  Everyone should be curious about what each other have created. You could invite people’s questions to deepen into their ideas. Ask each young person about what they created, what it means to them and what inspired them. Listen and note down what everyone says. Based on how the creations inspire everyone, talk about what you might like to continue exploring for the YouShape Award.

11.  Ask everyone to think about or write down what their theme for the YouShape Award is. It could be based on what they’ve made. Remember, different individuals, pairs or groups could set different themes, rather than having a whole section theme. This can be useful, especially if people have similar themes or ideas.


This activity was all about self-expression, imagination and creativity. What was it like choosing the objects? How did you decide what to use?

This activity was all about making something. What did you make? Was it a pattern or an object or a living thing? How did you use the objects? Did you think differently as to what some things could be, such as using sticks for arms and legs? What are your favourite things about it?

Why did you choose to make this? Is it something you like? Your favourite thing? A nice pattern or texture? Is it based on something else, like a book or film? Is it something you want to know more about or enjoy doing?

Looking at what you’ve made, can you think about one thing you want to learn about, get better at or know more about? What would you like to do or learn at Scouts?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Glue and solvents

Always supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions that could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

To make it easier, you could simplify the number of different objects on offer. For example, three options would be more than enough.

·       Some arts and craft activities may involve touching certain textures or items or involve getting messy. People should only do this if they’re comfortable too. People could wear plastic gloves if they don’t like the feeling of a certain material on their hands, they could work in a team so someone else could do that part of the task, they could use another method of being creative, or use a different tool to help them avoid touching the material.

·       An adult volunteer or young leader should offer help to anyone who needs it during the make or with specific craft items. People could also work with a partner or in a small group, so they can help each other. For example, they could help with cutting up items into shapes.

·       You could use different objects for people to craft, paint, draw or print with, so there’s a range of items for people to be able to grip and hold. If anyone struggles with fine motor skills, they could use larger materials. You could swap out the items for something easier to handle.

·       People who struggle with making choices could find all the options a bit overwhelming, so they might need extra support. They might want to work with a friend, young leader or volunteer to be able to help be creative. You could have a whole group discussion before letting people decide, as this might help people think of ideas or choose the best option for them. If they find it difficult, you could have a ready-made list of ideas for people to use and pick from. The list might inspire another idea!

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Take a photo of everyone’s creations, so you can keep coming back to them as a group.

You can build on what was created from Bits and Bobs into your programme to keep it youth shaped. For example, if someone created a fish tank, you could talk about what everyone knows about fish and run sessions based on their ideas. These could include how do we take care of animals, a visit to an aquarium, creating artwork using fish colours, discussing what it’d be like to live in water, exploring how fish breathe, reading a fish-based book, doing some water-based science, playing a fish themed game, or going pond dipping and seeing who lives in a pond.

Make sure you pay attention and note down the ideas each person generated. You can ask them questions about what they've made, experienced or shared. You might choose to do this individually, towards the end, or during a closing circle time.