BBC Dig In: Pesky pests

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Growing your own grub is not without its challenges especially when bugs and beasties get sight of your prize veggies. This fun game is designed to help Scouts understand that you need to keep a watchful eye on your vegetables as they grow, otherwise you may not get the bumper crop you'd hoped for.


2 large sponge balls
Hula hoops to mark out the vegetable patches
3 different coloured sets of bean bags or similar objects to represent vegetables. Or even use real veggies or paper cut-outs


- The idea of the game is for two farmers to defend their three vegetables patches from the pesky pests by hitting them with the sponge balls, dodge ball style. It’s the job of the pests to take the vegetables from the patches and return them to their home base without being hit. The farmers win if they successfully hit all the pests (with a ball); the pests win if they take all the vegetables before the other pest teams

- Before you start playing the game you will first need to set up space. Place the three hula hoops around your space, these are the three vegetable patches, one for carrots, one for lettuces and one for beans. Fill each hula hoop with a different coloured bean bag or vegetable

- Next identify three home bases for the pesky pests. You will be dividing your Scouts into pesky pest teams, one team of carrot fly, one team of slugs and one team of pigeons, and you will need a home base for each one

- Choose which Scouts will be the two farmers and divide the remaining Scouts into equal teams of carrot flies, slugs and pigeons and send them to their home base

- Give each farmer a sponge ball.ready to play!

- Start the game by blowing a whistle or shouting‘Pesky pests Go!

- The teams of pests send one member at a time from their base to try and take a vegetable. Carrot flies must collect carrots, slugs must collect lettuces and pigeons must collect beans

- The farmer must try to eliminate the pest by hitting them with their sponge ball. When the farmer is holding the ball he/she must stand still and cannot move again until the ball is thrown

- If a pest is hit, they are out and must return to home base and sit down. The next pest can then leave home base to try and take a vegetable

- If a pest successfully returns to home base with a vegetable the next team member can then go

- The winning team is the team who collects all the vegetables from the patch first, or the last team to have all their pests eliminated - whichever happens first

Notes: This game works best with 5 or more pests in each team. If your section is smaller than 17, play with two vegetables and teams of pests, and one farmer (keep two balls in play)

After the game:
- Ask the cubs what challenges they might face trying to grow their own veg. What can be done to protect their plants and keep pests at bay?

- If the farmers are finding it too easy, throw in some additional challenges, eg ‘The farmerÂ’s wife is ill, go to the hospital (corner of playing area) for 20 sec


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