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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

Try stave dancing

Make sure your staves stay standing in this test of listening skills and reactions.

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You’ll need

  • Wooden staves or broom handles, one per person

Before you begin

  • If your group has more members than you have staves, plan another activity similar to this one, so that everyone stays busy while this activity is being run. A good example of a game you could play alongside is ‘Zip, zap, boing!’.

Run the activity

  1. Everyone should stand in a circle facing inward. Give each person a wooden stave to hold out in front of them. The stave should touch the floor and should be held up vertically with one hand.
  1. Explain to everyone that the aim of the game is to follow the commands without letting any of the staves fall. Some commands you could use are:
  1. Run a few practice rounds to check that everyone understands the commands. Then run the game. Commands should be called out at random by the person leading the activity.
  2. If a stave falls and hits the ground, the person who drops it should sit down.
  3. The last person still standing and holding up their stave is the winner.


This game relied on quick reactions of mind and body. Listening, comprehension and agility were all tested. Did anyone come up with a way to give themselves an advantage, like holding their stave in a certain way or watching the person leading the activity closely? Did anyone find this game too difficult and that they simply couldn’t react quickly enough? Remember: if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.


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.

Poles and long objects

Be careful when moving poles or long items. Take care if the ends are sharp. Have appropriate supervision for this 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.

Put the commands into a short story so they have to listen out for the commands.

You could add more steps to the ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ commands. For example, ‘Two left’ could prompt everyone to move two steps around to the left to hold up the stave two places along. 

Mix it up with opposites and have the Scouts do the opposite of what is being said. For example, 'left' now mean right. 

Make it accessible

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Once everyone is familiar with the rules, have Young Leaders and members of the group run this game.