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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 Where's the Whistle?

Can you be the first to find the whistle, using just your hearing, in this fantastic wide game?

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You’ll need

  • Wide open space
  • Blindfolds or neckers
  • Whistles (you may want to have a squeezy hand whistle for hygiene)

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. 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. 

Ideas of when to run this activity 

  • This was one of the games in Baden-Powell's Scouting Games book. This makes it a great activity if you’re marking Scout Scarf Day with your group.  
  • Scout Scarf Day is on 1 August. It celebrates the anniversary of the first ever Scout camp, which took place on Brownsea Island in 1907. 

Setting up the game 

  • Find an area that’s a safe space for people to move around in when blindfolded and explain the boundaries, such as where the no-go zones are.
  • Check the terrain, such as for bumps or slippy surfaces.
  • Make sure all hazards, such as things people can trip over or knock into, are removed. These can be included in your no-go zones. For example, hazards could be dips in the grass, steps, rocks or rivers if you’re playing outside. If you’re inside, it might be rugs on floors, tables or stacks of chairs. 
  • You may want to use a hand-squeeze whistle, so no-one has to share a blow whistle.
  • As people will be blindfolded, you may want to have extra adult supervision for the no-go zones to help guide people away.
  • Explain the signal to stop play and how long the game will go on for. A different noise to a whistle, such as clapping, may be a good signal to stop play.
  • 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 always stay.
  • You might want to divide your group in half for this activity. This’ll give people more space. The group who aren’t playing could act as extra referees, timekeepers, scorekeepers or supporters. Anyone who doesn’t want to play could also take on one of these roles. 
  • Take a look at our guidance on running active games
  • If playing in a public space:
    • tell people how they can use the space respectfully, without disturbing the wildlife or other people enjoying the site.
    • young people should be paired up, so no young person is left alone, and they should move around together.  

Play the game

  1. Explain that the object of the game is to be to move across the space while blindfolded and tag ‘it’. Whoever’s ‘it’ will be using the whistle in short bursts. Players need to listen for the whistle, then start moving slowly across the space. Once they think they’re within reach, players can try to tag 'it’.
  2. One person should be chosen to be ‘it’. They should be given the whistle. ‘It’ is frozen during the game, so must stand still on the same spot. They can’t move from the spot; however, they can squat, duck and swerve out of the way to avoid being tagged.
  3. When you’re ready to play, ‘it’ should then stand at one end of the space. Everyone else should line up the other end of the space. 
  4. Everyone needs to be given blindfolds, except for ‘it’.
  5. When ready, ask all the players (apart from ‘it’) to put on a blindfold. Remind everyone they must walk, rather than run.   
  6. When everyone is ready and in position, start the game.
  7. Ask ‘it’ to start using the whistle in semi-regular, sharp bursts. They could use it more regularly if they notice anyone going off course.
  8. Remind ‘it’ that they mustn’t move from their spot during the game.
  9. Once a player has tagged it, they can remove their blindfold and stand around the edge of the space.
  10. Keep going until everyone has found ‘it’.
  11. If you want to, you could award points. Points could be awarded in descending order, so the first person to finish earns the greatest number of points and the last person earns the lowest. However, you could award bonus points for teamwork, good listening or for being caring.
  12. If your group are split into pairs or teams, you could add up points to find the winning group. 
  13. If a player is going off course, the whistle should be blown more regularly to attract their attention back in the right direction. Anyone supervising the game could also gently steer them back on the correct course.


How did you find being able to navigate without being able to see?  Was it easy or difficult? How did it make you feel? What was it like having to rely on your sense of hearing?  


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.

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.

Contact games and activities

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

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. 

You can adjust the size of the space you play across and how often the whistle is blown. 

  • If anyone isn’t comfortable wearing a blindfold, or doesn’t want to wear one, they could close their eyes or cover their eyes using their hands instead. Alternatively, they could take on another role for this game, such as scorekeeper. No-one should be made to wear a blindfolded if they don’t want to be.
  • Choose a location what will be accessible to everyone. This game could also be played in a large indoor space. 
  • If it’s too noisy and anyone doesn’t like the noise of the whistle, you may want to change it to the person saying a word, making a beeping noise verbally or clapping their hands.  
  • The person could wear ear defenders, or you could run the activity outside or over a larger space to reduce the noise. Shutting doors and windows can help to reduce external sounds, too. 
  • People could move in pairs by holding hands or each holding the end of a necker if people don’t want to go alone during the game. 

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Could be a great activity for a young person to lead. 

People could choose how they want to score this activity, or suggest any variations, as long as they’re safe