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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

Promise puppets

Show you know what your Promise means, and why Investitures are important, by sharing a story in a shadow puppet theatre.

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You’ll need

  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Wooden skewers
  • Torch or phone
  • Cardboard box
  • Tracing paper

Before you begin

  • Gather a set of materials for each group. Cereal boxes work well as the cardboard box. You could also use copy paper or baking parchment instead of tracing paper, and craft sticks work well instead of bamboo skewers.
  • If you’re using bamboo skewers, snip off the sharp end.
  • It might be useful to have some extra adults (or older young people) so there’s enough to help each group. Why not invite parents and carers to help?

Go through the Promise

  1. Everyone who’s been Invested should say their Promise out loud. People should say the Promise they made – it’s OK if people say different versions at the same time.
  2. The person leading the activity should remind everyone that there are different versions and that people choose the one that works best for them.
  3. Some people who have been Invested should share what happened at their Investiture.
  4. The person leading the activity should ask if anyone knows why the Promise is so important. Every Scout makes a Promise, so it reminds people that they’re part of a worldwide family. It helps everyone remember that they share Scout values such as integrity, respect, and cooperation.

Plan a play

  1. Everyone should split into four groups with a helper.
  2. The person leading the activity should give each group a theme: doing my best; being helpful and kind; loving our world; being Invested.
  1. Each group should talk about how they could make up a puppet story about their theme.

Make a theatre and puppets

  1. The person leading the activity should give each group a box, some scissors, some tape, some pens, and some tracing paper: everything they need to make a theatre.
  2. Each group should tape the ends of their box closed. They should draw a rectangle on the front and back, leaving a bit of a border (about a couple of centimetres) around the edge.
  3. Each group should cut both of their rectangles out. An adult (and only an adult) could use a craft knife, or people could poke a hole and cut them out with scissors. Groups should save the cardboard to make puppets.
  4. Everyone should tape or glue some tracing paper to the front ‘window’ of their box. It doesn’t matter whether they stick the paper to the front or the inside: whichever they find easiest is fine.
  5. Everyone should use the leftover cardboard to draw and cut out some characters. Everyone should make sure the puppets are big enough to be seen – and that they have simple, clear, outlines. Tiny details, features, and colours won’t be seen – exaggerated silhouettes are best.
  6. Everyone should tape their characters to craft sticks or bamboo skewers.
  7. Everyone should angle a lamp or torch behind the box. They could dim the lights for the best effect.
  8. To be a puppeteer, everyone should sit or stand at the side of their theatre. They should put their puppets near the illuminated paper. From the front, people will be able to see the silhouettes.
  1. Everyone should practise their plays.
  2. Once everyone is ready, they should take it in turns to show their plays to the other groups.


This activity gave everyone the chance to explore the different parts of the Beaver Scout Promise as well as the Investiture. What does it mean to people to be a Scout? Scouts hold certain beliefs and values. Why do people think it’s important to do you best? Can anyone think of an example of when something has been difficult or challenging, but they’ve tried hard to succeed?

The Scout Promise also talks about showing love and respect for other people and the world. How do people feel when others are kind and helpful to them? Being helpful also involves creating and keeping friendships where people can work together, listen, and help each other. This is an important skill! Well done to everyone who’s learning to work together and keep the different parts of their Promise.


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.


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


Provide some light, so the environment isn’t completely dark. Everyone must be able to see others and move around the area safely.

Rubbish and recycling

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.

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.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

You may want to make the theatres first, so that everyone can get on with making their puppets and practising as soon as they’ve thought about their Promise.

You may want to run this activity over multiple sessions so everyone has time to think about each part of the Promise and Investiture.

Not everyone has to use a puppet or speak in the play. People could direct or help prompt others if they’d like to.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Young people could perform their show to older people, for example, in a care home. They could even see if any of their audience have been involved in Scouts – what did Scout values mean to them? This could count towards the Community Impact Staged Activity Badge.

Young people should have ownership over their plays from the story to the performance. Encourage everyone to think about their own experiences when they’re making up their stories.