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Tie a tasty reef knot

Learn how to tie a classic reef knot with a tasty twist. If at first you don’t succeed, tie, tie again.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tack
  • String
  • Strawberry laces
  • Liquorice laces
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A step by step illustration of how to tie a reef knot.

Before you begin

  • Untangle the laces. Make sure you have at least one of each for everyone, with plenty of spares for mistakes or sticky fingers.
  • Many supermarket own brand strawberry laces are suitable for vegetarians (and anyone else who avoids gelatin) – make sure you check the packet. If you have any doubts, check with the young person and their parents or carers.
  • If anyone follows a vegan diet that means they avoid beeswax, or doesn’t eat gluten, you may need to give them string to tie their knot, then give them a vegan sweet to say ‘well done’ at the end.

Get knotting

  1. The person leading the game should show everyone a reef knot, and explain why it’s such a useful knot. Reef knots open easily and lay flat, so they’re perfect for tying bandages, securing belts, tying bundles together, and securing parcels. 
  2. The person leading the activity should show everyone how to tie a reef knot with a red strawberry lace in their right hand a and a liquorice lace in their left hand.
  1. The person leading the activity should give everyone one strawberry lace and one liquorice lace. Everyone should hold their red strawberry lace in their right hand, and their liquorice lace in their left hand.
  1. Once everyone has finished their tasty reef knot, they should tuck in!

How to tie a reef knot:

  1. Cross the liquorice lace behind the strawberry lace, then loop it over and under the strawberry lace, so the two are intertwined. 
  2. Take the ends that face upwards and pass the left (red) end over and through the black (right) end. 
  3. Hold all four ends and gently pull, then tighten the knot in place.


  1. Pass the liquorice lace over the strawberry lace and tuck it under, as you say ‘left over right and under’.
  2. Pass the strawberry lace over the liquorice lace and tuck it under, as you say ‘right over left and under’.
  3. Pull the four ends showing the reef knot shape. 

Make a World Membership Badge

  1. Everyone should look at the World Membership Badge on each other’s (and the grown ups’) uniforms. Everyone should try to spot the reef knot on it. 
  2. The person leading the activity should use 'The Scout emblem' sheet to talk about what the different parts of the badge represent. 
  3. The person leading the activity should give everyone a paper plate. Everyone should try their best to draw the fleur-de-lis from the World Membership Bade in the middle. No one should draw the rope that goes around it.
  1. Everyone should make a reef knot using two pieces of string or cord. They should twist the loose ends into a circle, just like on the World Membership Badge. 
  2. Everyone should use sticky tack to attach their reef knot circle around the outside of the fleur-de-lis, to complete their World Membership Badge.


This activity needed everyone to try, try again to develop a useful skill. Can anyone remember some of the ways to use a reef knot? Everyone should look around the room and see if they can spot some of the places a reef knot could be used. It could be used to tie back curtains, secure bags of equipment, tie up tents, tie together a bundle of wood, or tie a blindfold for a game. How did everyone feel while they were learning this skill? Some people may have felt frustrated, or excited. How do people feel now?

This activity also reminded everyone that Scouts is worldwide. Everyone should compare the World Membership Badges they made with the badges on people’s uniforms. Can anyone remember what the different parts of the World Membership Badge mean? If people were going to design a badge for Scouts all over the world, what would it look like, and why?


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


Check for allergies before you begin and read the guidance on food safety. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.


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