Activity Ideas

Below is an outline of each Activity Type and some suggested activities that you could run, feel free to use any of them (tell your VOC Activity Coordinator!), if you don’t wish to use these suggestions, that’s fine too. You have the VOC theme and what type of activity you need to create, so just get together with your activity team and throw ideas about in a bit of a brainstorm (don’t forget to write everything down). Often the most outrageous ideas with a bit of pounding turn into fantastic activities.

Art and Expression

Painting, puppetry, acting, singing charades or music.

The team draws various criteria out of a hat and must incorporate them into a skit lasting 3-5 minutes.

Give the team a painting to copy, it should be a simple picture with a few different colours. Only one team member can see the painting and must direct the rest in its reproduction. The rest of the team controls the Brushes. Which are controlled like puppets with strings, each team member manipulates a different string and under the direction of the one viewing the painting, they paint a masterpiece.

Make a song from a given list of improvs and sing it with accompanying instruments.

Divide team and have them Mime or charade a really complex message (song lyrics).


Tracking, trapping, fire-lighting, building shelters

Fire the cannon!, the cannon is old and will blow up as it is fired and so the cannon fuse must be lit from 2-3 metres away. Cannon is a candle properly secured give the team String, matches (lots) some short poles or ample supply of sticks. Add some wind by having the marker wave a big fan at a set distance and rate.

Build a water filter. Give the team some sand, hessian and some other cloth and twine and a jar of muddy water but no other containers.

Build a rabbit trap that will work automatically, give the team some twine plenty of sticks and a carrot.

Make a fire on a 50c piece that burns at least 1 or 2 minutes. the coin could be raised so that a larger fire is impossible.


Non-verbal, signalling, relaying messages, radios

Ask the team to relay a message: give the team time to work out a method then split them in two. Distance apart should be about 25 m and must be a signal (no shouting or passing a note). Give one half (A) a list of names and the other (B) a telephone book. Half A must request and receive the address and phone number of the names from B.

Give each team member a set of instructions that are a part of building a structure out of blocks. Team members cannot show each other their instructions, must read it out to the rest of the team. Instructions might be height, width (in blocks), colours and shapes to use.

Give each team member a set of clues that will help direct one member about a maze. The grid is a series of cards that have series of coloured symbols and corresponding letters that makes up a word. Clues will be cryptic but some
thought will reveal what they are. Clues = Bearings, Distances, Order, Shape and Colour. There will be no symbols to show what each number is (degrees or metres). Team can discuss their clues with each other but cannot show them
(nailed down). One Venturer has the bearings as a list of numbers, the Venturer with the order list can pick which bearing to use first, Distance: how far to go: shape and colour what symbol to choose.

Ask the team to relay a message: give the team time to work out a method then split them into three or four stations about 10 metres apart in a circle. Give each station an ‘intelligence report’ the first station must pass their report onto the second, who use this information to interpret their own report and pass this info onto the third and so on.

Construction and Mechanics

Building a tower, vehicles, ballistae, bridges, cranes

Crane lift: team must lift a heavy object from behind a low fence that is about two Metres away. Must devise a crane to lift then swing the object back to the team. Object has an easy to snag hook loop, Give team poles, ropes, pulleys and a hook. Length of poles are such that team must build, Team cannot cross the two metre gap to the fence.

Using the following materials transport two or three cups of water at the same time from one side of the mountain gorge to the other without spilling a drop. Team must be split so that there are people on each side of the gorge no conversations must take place over the gorge only sign language. 4 x 1.5 meter dowel, 2 x 1 meter dowel, 20 meters of twine, 12 paper clips, 2 cups with water! 20 different sized elastic bands.

Team is outside a rope circle, inside the circle is a container (wood box with loose fitting lid) with an object in it. Team is given only 3 metre lengths of string or cord (about 10) some pulleys and hooks. Team cannot enter the circle or use any poles and must open the container and remove the object. Can create many variations of this.

Team is on an open plain, a flood is coming and the team must build a platform to hold themselves and all their packs 50 cm off the ground. Team may not use any trees, rocks or stumps. Must build a platform, give them long and short poles and ropes.


Without utensils, in difficult situations, cordon bleu.

Using a paper bag, A tea candle, one piece of long dry spaghetti, water and two matches only. Cook the spaghetti and tie it in a reef knot. Throw in a few decoy items twine, dowel, scissors.

Make a nice hot cup of tea and present it from 1.5 – 2 Metres away. Create a circle, each team member is given a position around the circle and must remain there for the activity. In the centre of the circle are two platforms (ply sheets wired to
milk crates) on one platform is an Esbit or metho stove that is burning, the other is spread with a table cloth Each team member is given a item that is required to make a cup of tea – metal cup, water, tea bag, milk, sugar, biscuit
and a nice cup and saucer (plastic). They are also given an array of 6 ft poles and lengths of twine. Only mixing ingredients on the platform with the stove the team must make a hot cup of tea and serve it onto the table cloth platform.

Boil some noodles up a tree.

Upside down cake, make the team hang upside down and cook. Have a selection of harnesses that hang some team members upside down, rest of team supports by handing ingredients and directions.


Caring for or protecting the native environment, using environmental principals.

Environment detective, there has been a disaster, such as a fish kill in a river, teams are given clues as to the cause and must work together to find the culprit. Was it toxic pollutants? Was it a change in water temp? was it a lack of oxygen?

Build a wind turbine that will generate electricity. Provide teams with some equipment and info about how to build a wind turbine that can light an LED.

Tree Huggers. Team is lead blind folded to a tree (or trees) within a forest of trees they are given time to investigate the tree while blindfolded. The team is then lead about 20 to 30 metres away and must then find their tree.

First Aid

Moving patients, DRABC, multiple injuries.

The Venturer team is team of die hards, they must finish Dragon Skin, as they travel a team member is injured, they must be treated and move on when another member is injured and so on. There is a ‘Circuit of Injuries’ team takes off and reaches the
first station which has an injury which has occurred to a team member like a sprained ankle (can’t walk) team must fix the team member and move on at the next another member is injured. Injuries will gradually incapacitate all of the
team – Blind, can’t walk, cant use hand etc keep doing things to them until no-one can move. Focus on resolving the problem and moving on not correct first aid.

Team must transport a badly injured person. They must improvise a stretcher and transport the casualty to a nearby safepoint. Patient must carried carefully and not tipped or bounced about, patient is a dummy (or volunteer) strap a cup of water
to the patient, cup must arrive full, or they must start again.

Run a game show based in first aid.

Triage, give the team a situation that involves many injuries and ask them to work through them all assessing the importance of each injury.

Mental Challenge

Solve riddles or codes, logical deduction

Team members must sit in a circle about 2-3 metres apart facing the rest of the team. Each team member is given a different code to break and a set of clues to help break the other members codes (but not their own). Without showing the others their
own code or clues they must each break their respective code, the team may discuss and gesture about the codes but may not see each others instruction sheet. The codes will be based on conventional codes but will be twisted sufficiently to make their solution difficult.

Give the team an irregularly shaped container and tell them to fill it exactly half way. The container should be at least 2L in volume and have a billy style handle. Give the team several plastic containers (all smaller than the measured container),
a thick dowel (with a notch at either end), twine, a white board marker and paper. At least one container should be a clear cylinder, but should not have any graduations and all should have a billy style handles. Two ways to solve 1.
Use the paper to measure the cylinder and mark half, quarter, and eighth graduations. Use these to calc the relative volume of the measured container then halve it and refill the container to half way. 2. Use the dowel as a balance, if you balance it at exactly halfway along the dowel, you will need the same weight at the other end. Once you have the equivalent weight at the other end,
move the fulcrum away from the measured cylinder to the 3/4 – 1/4 point empty the measured container and refill until it comes into balance again, it will only need half as much to refill.

Use an improvised weighing balance to calculate 1.5 kg of sand. (1L of water = 1 Kg)

Small board on which a row of blocks is placed with a card from a children’s matching game glued to each. Marker asks each player in turn an easy trivia question (fit to theme). Team member can answer or pass but cannot speak with team mates, If
pass next player can answer or pass etc, If answer is correct can turn over two blocks to see what they are, block is then turned back over, If incorrect move on to next player and answer next question. Limited number of questions – Once all questions are asked team have 10 Min to discuss location of blocks and write down what is where.


Photo-navigation, map making, building and using instruments, Orienteering.

Triangulation. Over a wide, flat area put lots of markers in the ground (firebreak). Team must split into three groups, each group is given a location – the tower, the Fire station and the house: which they must use to triangulate the position of a secret hideaway. Each group starts in a different, pre-determined position and is given a set of directions and distances which they pace out, at each waypoint there is a marker in the ground with a number on it. By collecting all of the numbers and adding them up, they get the bearing to triangulate the location of the treasure. They use that bearing from their location (tower, fire station or House) and together triangulate the position of the Hideaway. There are many dummy waypoints, not too close together to avoid confusion, they are arrayed randomly. There are several dummy hideaways. The paths each group takes should cross and run into each other.

Team must draw a map given a detailed set of instructions using navigation concepts, Bearings in degrees and compass points, Distances on ground (scale), Introduce problems of magnetic variation, triangulation etc. Instructions describe the location of features on the ground, team must make an accurate to scale map make from these instructions. Team will need a compass coloured pencils grid paper and a ruler or scale.

Photo navigation, create a course and give the team a photo showing which way to go, give photos from different angle or distance to where the team is use zoom etc.

Physical Challenge

Rope courses, moving without touching the ground, combined disabilities

Crossing the swamp – Logs and planks. There are a series of short logs (different lengths) lying parallel to each other varying distances apart in a swamp (about 6-8 logs). The team is given a selection of 4 planks from which the must select two and use them to move their team from log to log. If they chose the wrong plank they may go back and exchange planks. None of the logs shall be able to hold the whole team – if necessary note on each log how many people can stand on it. There should be at least one section where both planks are required to get the team from one log to the next. This way the team will have to shuffle the planks back and forth to get the team across. Should test balance and teamwork – extend number of logs to extend activity.

Blind bearers The team have escaped from a dungeon, they are all blind except one who cannot walk. Team must escape by carrying their only seeing member to direct them. They must travel a short but torturous path through bush over and under logs and trees etc. Mark out path with twine.

Manhandle something awkward and heavy through a course, such as a tyre tower. 4 tyres large to small in a tower and on a carrying frame. Tyres are not secured so can fall apart. Must carry intact through the course

Rescue / Retrieval

Rescue from a height, depth, from an inaccessible point or an uncooperative agent, systematic searches

Simple Lift over a wall. String a rope between two trees about four metres off the ground and hang a tarp from it, secure the tarp well, this is the wall. There should be opportunity to sling ropes over higher branches. There is an injured person on one side of the wall, he must get to the other side. Team must build and lift a Stretcher with the patient over the wall. Two ways – throw ropes over a higher branch to use as lifting points or tie another rope between the trees about 1 metre higher up and use this a lifting point. Patient should be a min 20 kg dummy.

Rescue a cat out of a tree (without killing it). Create a device to snare and lift safely down a cat (soft toy) stuck up high.

Move a patient over a course of tripwires (wired to sound device).

Sensory perception/deprivation

Blindfolded activities, descriptions using senses

Pitch a tent blind folded, set the tent pieces on the ground 50m away team must get to the tent and put it up blindfolded. Need A-Frame Tents that can be damaged, blindfolds.

Deaf Lead the Blind. One of the team is deaf (industrial earmuffs stuffed with cotton wool) test them! The rest of the team is blind – painted out goggles or masks. The team must put up a tent or build some other contraption, they can all talk to each other but leader can’t hear and team can’t see. The constructions should be reasonably complex.

Observation. Team must observe a situation and report it back to intelligence. Create two displays 50 – 100 metres either side of the ‘intelligence office’, make the displays be fairly complex. Details required to be observed are numbers, equipment and armaments, vehicles, officers etc fit it to theme, give team 10 min free time to find the displays and report, but after ten minutes a patrol comes through if they see a team member they are captured or shot and their report is lost. Team must decide how to split team between displays and how long to spend finding info, within ten is safe but longer is less safe.

Make something with no sense of touch, meccano set, maybe take away hearing and sight of some team members

Dragon Skin

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