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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

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Discover what this means

Go cloud spotting

The clouds in the sky are way up high. One, two, three – how many can you see?

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You’ll need

  • A4 paper
  • Cotton wool balls
  • PVA glue
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Pictures of different clouds (optional)
  • Blankets (optional)

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.

Planning this activity

  • You may want people to bring something to sit or lie on, such as a picnic blanket, so they can watch the clouds comfortably. 
  • You may want to run this activity over two weeks, with one week to look for clouds and one week to make the clouds.
  • Choose an appropriate outdoor area, where you’re likely to see clouds. Make sure it’s somewhere you can safely stay, move around and watch them. This might be just outside your meeting place, a nature reserve or a park.
  • If you’re going to meet at a location other than at your usual meeting place, make sure parents and carers know exactly where you’ll be, what people may need to bring, the day, the location, and what time to drop off and collect everyone.  
  • Make sure everyone knows to come dressed for the weather. Don’t forget to check the forecast and be prepared for it to change.  
  • It’s important to check the sunset times, making sure that you’ll have sufficient light throughout the activity. It’s best to run this activity on lighter evenings, such as in summer. 
  • Remember to have suitable supervision, an InTouch process in place and activity consent forms. It’s important to make sure that anyone with medication, including an inhaler, brings it with them and gives it to a volunteer, too. 
  • Make sure the area you visit is accessible for everyone, choosing a suitable place for drop off and collection. You may need to think about avoiding steps or steep gradients or including frequent breaks. 

Introducing the space

  1. Everyone should head out to the outdoor space or meet at the chosen venue.
  2. Explain the boundaries of the area are and where the no-go zones are.
  3. Tell people how they can use the space respectfully, without disturbing the wildlife or other people enjoying the site if you're in a public space.  Remind people to be calm and quiet, so you don’t disturb wildlife, and not picking any flowers or plants. They take litter home.
  4. Tell everyone where adults will be around the site and what people should do if anyone needs help. This should include setting memorable spot where an adult will stay at all times.
  5. Explain the signal to stop and how long the activity will go on for. A long blast on a whistle works well as a signal to stop the activity.
  6. If you’re moving around in a public space, young people should be paired up so no young person is left alone and they should move together.

Running the activity

  1. Gather everyone in a circle and ask everyone if they’ve ever seen clouds.
  2. What do people already know about them? You could talk about what they look like, the different shapes they form, how fast they move, and how they can sometimes make it rain.
  3. Explain there are lots of different types of clouds. 
  4. You could use pictures or point at clouds to help you talk about the different types of clouds.
  • There are big, fluffy clouds. 
  • There are thin, wispy clouds. 
  • There are wavy clouds. 
  • There are grey rain clouds. 
  • There are storm clouds. 

Going cloud spotting

  1. Tell everyone you're going to see how many different clouds you can spot.
  2. Everyone should sit or lie on the ground. If you have access to a grassy area, it’ll probably be more comfortable than concrete.
  3. Try and get everyone to be quiet and really focus on the clouds. It could be really relaxing for some people and something they may want to do outside of Scouts when they feel they need a quiet activity.
  4. Ask everyone to look for their favourite cloud. They should try to remember what it looks like. You could also take a photo of the cloud to help people remember it, or try drawing the different clouds.
  5. Everyone should look at the clouds above them. Some questions might include: 
  • What can they see?
  • How many clouds can people count?
  • What different shapes can people see?
  • What different clouds can people see?
  • Are any clouds different colours?
  • Are there clouds that looks like people’s pictures?
  • Which clouds are moving fast? Which clouds are moving slowly?
  • Do any clouds look like animals or objects?


Make your own cloud

You may want to run this activity over two weeks, with one week to look for clouds and one week to make the clouds.

  1. Everyone should head back to their meeting place.
  2. Give everyone a piece of paper, some cotton wool and some glue.
  3. People should think about their favourite cloud, or any of the clouds they saw, and try to make them using the cotton wool. They could do one cloud or lots of different types of clouds. It’s up to them whether they want to make lots of big, heavy clouds or lots of little wispy clouds.
  4. Everyone should use the glue to stick some cotton wool to their picture. 
  5. Next, people could use coloured pens or pencils to add any details to their cloud picture. Do they want to add any details like Sun, rain, or storms? Is the weather in their picture affecting what people are doing on the ground?
  6. Gather back in a circle and, if anyone wants to and is happy to, they could share their cloud photos with the group. 


This activity encouraged everyone to learn something new, be creative and have fun whilst playing a game.

During the activity everyone had the opportunity to look at all the different types of clouds, see what they look like and make their own cloud. You took some time outside to look at the clouds in the sky.

  • What different types of clouds do people remember? How do they move differently?
  • Did anyone make their picture look like a specific cloud? Why did they choose that one?
  • Did everyone enjoy looking at the clouds? How did people feel when they were looking at them?
  • Did anyone point out clouds to someone else?
  • Whose friends helped them to spot new types of clouds?
  • How did people feel when they were helping each other and working together as a team?
  • Did anyone find it really relaxing?
  • Did it help to make you feel calmer or more focused?
  • How did you feel afterwards? Did you feel refreshed?


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.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

  • People can lie down, stand up or sit down to look at the clouds, whichever they're most comfortable with.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

You could learn more about clouds at home. Why not have a look into how clouds link to the weather, why clouds form, or the official names for the different types of clouds? 

You could show everyone how to make a cloud in a bottle using the instructions in Condensation station.

If someone is really interested in clouds, give them the opportunity to tell everyone what they know about clouds (if they want to).