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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

Play 40:40

Play the classic game of hide and seek, with a race back to base. It’s also known as Scatter and 123 Home.

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You’ll need

  • A base, such as cones to mark out a space, chalk to draw out a base or a hoop to be a base

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. There's also more guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples. 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 helpers for each team to have one. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

To watch in full screen, double click the video

Setting up the game 

  • Find an area with plenty of safe hiding spaces, without people leaving the agreed boundaries.  
  • Set boundaries with your group for during the game, which you could mark out with cones or natural features, such as walls and hedges. 
  • Remember to check the terrain and make sure the game area is free of hazards. For example, hazards could be dips in the grass, steps, rocks or rivers if you’re playing outside.  
  • Find a way to identify the tagger, such as by wearing a necker. 
  • Choose an item to be base, such as a tree or a hoop. 

 Introducing the game 

  1. Explain the boundaries of the playing area and where the no-go zones are. 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.
  2. Tell everyone where adults will be around the site and what people should do if anyone in their team needs help. This should include setting memorable spot where an adult will always stay.
  3. Explain the signal to stop play and how long the game will go on for. A long blast on a whistle works well as a signal to stop the game.
  4. If playing in a public space, young people should be paired up so no young person is left alone, and they should run or move together.  

Playing the game 

  1. Everyone needs to agree on a home base, such as a tree or hoop.
  2. One person is chosen to be ‘it’ and their role is to protect the base.
  3. All other players are the ‘hiders’. Their role is to try to get safely to the base without being spotted and named.
  4. The person who is ‘it’ should stand facing the base with their hands covering their eyes. They immediately start counting slowly to 40 while all the other players, the ‘hiders’, must quickly hide.  
  5. When ‘it’ counts to 40, they shout ‘40-40’ and now starts looking for the other players. 
  6. The ‘hiders’ must try to get back to the base without being seen. They can hide behind things, such as trees or bushes.
  7. If a player gets to base without being seen, they shout, ‘40-40’ and their name. For example, ‘40-40, Jack!’ They’re then safe and need to wait at the base for the remainder of the game.  
  8. To catch someone, ‘it’ must see the person, run back, touch the base and say, ‘40-40, I see [name]’. For example, ‘40-40, I see Katie!’  
  9. If the ‘seen’ player is behind or in an object, they must say that too, so they would say ‘40-40, I see [name] behind that tree’ while pointing at it.  For example, ‘40-40, I see Alia behind that tree!’  
  10. Players that are caught by ‘it’ returns to base.  
  11. Play continues until all players are either home or out.
  12. The first player safely home becomes the next searcher. If no-one makes it home, then the last person out becomes the next searcher. 


Wide games help people to practise their teamwork and problem-solving skills. This game needed everyone to work as a team, such as by people distracting the person who was ‘it’ to help others get to the base. You may have hidden together or told each other where ‘it’ was. Did you work as a team? How did you communicate with other players?   

If you were ‘it’, how did you plan to tag people – did you have a strategy? Was it hard to keep track of people or monitor the base? 

This game was also about problem-solving. What was the trickiest part of the game? People might think about having to hide from their opponents or knowing when to it was safe to run to the base. Did people have to think ahead when they were deciding what to do?    

If people were designing their own wide games, how could they help people develop their problem-solving and teamwork skills? What would you change about this game to make it better? How could we make it more creative? What would you do to make this game easier, harder, more challenging or more fun? 


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.

Contact games and activities

Make sure everyone understands what contact is acceptable, and monitor contact throughout the activity.

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.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast, and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Visits away from your meeting place

Complete a thorough risk assessment and include hazards, such as roads, woodland, plants, animals, and bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas). You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement. When you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies. Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, such as high visibility clothing, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs. Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts. 

  • To make the game easier, make the base bigger or make the playing area bigger. You could also add objects for people to hide behind, such as boxes. 
  • To make the game harder, make the playing area smaller or have two people playing ‘it’.
  • People could run, move or play in pairs during the game.
  • If it may take some people longer to hide, the person playing ‘it’ could count to a higher number, such as 60.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Ask young people what changes or adaptations they’d make to this game, then give their new rules or ideas a try.