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Bored Tiger

Hi, I just joined a new pack and am den leader for Tigers. One if the Tigers is very quick and did the Lion program. He already has the oath and law MEMORIZED. He seemed bored out of his mind during moments I was introducing concepts to some of the new Tigers. I asked him if he remembers things after hearing them once and he seemed happy that I understood, and he asked why the others can’t remember because it is so easy.

I’m brainstorming ways that I can help the tigers be introduced to their requirements while keeping this child engaged during concept introduction. I attempt to make everything games/hands on for most of the meeting, but I’m stumped for that 1-5 minute introduction to new things. He tends to try to take over and he obviously already has learned the concepts. I don’t want to lose his interest, but I also don’t want the other kids to feel like they can’t make mistakes and learn.

Any ideas?



My son did Lion last year, and is a Tiger now.
Last year all by my son dropped and we did our meetings with Tigers so he has seen some of the stuff already.

I am hoping that we can see about doing different electives this year to help keep him going.

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Have him help teach (where he can). It will be great practice for Scouting. I also have worksheets/color pages that go along with the theme each week to keep them calm and sitting while I talk. I’ve found word searches and mazes are the most popular, and that might give him a challenge to focus on while you talk. Pinterest has tons of free printables.


Make him your Den’s first Denner. Have a five minute ceremony, give him the Denner’s Cords and explain to the rest of the Den what he’s going to be doing, and that everyone in the Den will have the chance to be the Denner eventually.


I am the same way when I was his age, even making the content exciting did not help if I already knew the answer. I think having him help teach the concepts or ask him a question and have him answer.

Encourage him to do all of the adventures. He wants a challenge.

In regards to the denner comment. This is typically not done until the Webelos level so it may not be fully understood by the other kids. Have him fulfill the role of denner without the formal ceremony. What I mean by this is have him pass things out, have him help the other scouts, set up activities and games, etc.

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I dunno. We had Denners and Assistant Denners in my son’s den starting with the Wolf level, IIRC. It worked out pretty well, and gave the scouts a sense of ownership in their den.

Their role certainly evolved as they moved from there through Webelos. We actually called our elected youth leaders in second year Webelos Patrol Leaders (we had over a dozen scouts in the den, so we split into two patrols and let the scouts largely organize themselves). They helped plan the agenda for the upcoming den meetings and coordinated among the scouts, as best they were able.

Good to know. I guess it depends on the situation but the research I did through what the BSA says in regards to denner it was not for tiger level. It may be fine for wolf and bear.


Denner as an official concept is intended for the wolf and up levels. But you can bring down some of the idea from it to the tigers. But be careful because if he’s going to be doing things like taking role, handing out materials, etc it can feed into a teacher’s pet sort of situation.

In theory, tigers are supposed to be with their parents at meetings and chances are the parents have a bit of experience with his precocity. You might work with his parents to see if they have areas to help redirect him. If the only problem is the few minutes at Talk Time/introducing a new topic then its partially just about him learning to wait. I would worry more if he starts getting bored during everything else.

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Jed has it right. Lions and Tigers have adult partners. That’s why those dens have no denners and no assistant den leaders. Every parent is an ADL.

Shelley’s suggestion is a great on and the first thing that came to my mind. Figure out what he already knows and ask him to help you present those elements.

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The BSA info on Denners is not very consistent, saying in one place that every Den can have a Denner, and in another that Denners are for Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Dens.

With that said, you need to do what works for your Den. Having a Denner for a Tiger Den isn’t adding or subtracting from requirements, nor is it even changing the program at all. All it’s doing is giving a kid a little more bling for their uniform, and a few extra tasks every week.

I think a small ceremony is important – it’ll make him feel important, and help explain to the other Scouts why he has some extra tasks.

My son was the exactly the same way and our Pack was so small Lions and Tigers were together. He would practically beg not to go to scouts to do what he called “baby stuff”. I worked with him on tiger electives outside of the den to keep him motivated. When doing the belt loops, I did the topics in a more advanced setting and it seems to have worked. He loves being a wolf and is always excited for scout night now. I am now his wolf den leader and he wants to do everything he can to get his belt loops and patches. Best of luck!

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I think asking him to help hand things out or assist you is fine but I would be careful about giving him a formal role. Kids that young can be touchy about peers “telling” them what to do. Kids who have a natural tendency to be a little bossy can also get worse. You want everyone to feel equal and at home and having fun. You might have his parent or another leader do something different with him during those segments. Have him work on making you a demo knot tying board that you can use with the whole den later on.


Great job in recognizing this Tiger’s needs!!! This kid may be a gifted (accelerated) learner. Most kids need to hear things 10-12 times and according to your interview of him, he may only need once or twice. Gifted abilities do not always cross all subject areas and gifted kids can present intensities and sensitivities as well. Great time to find out a little about gifted kids now as often they are pushed aside as “not a problem because they already know the content”. PLEASE tell the parents now to look into this possibility. Resources are available at the national association for gifted children (nagc) or respective state associations. This will come up in school as well and can be a problem . . . 5 years old and bored at circle time. Most schools do not test for giftedness and depending on the state you live in most teachers are not required to have training about how to best serve gifted students. Not being served appropriately can lead to behaviorial frustration problems (sometimes the kid can put a lid on it until they return home at the end of the day) or underachievement in later years. Do not expect every quick learner to be interested in being a teacher’s helper. Taking that role depends on the personality. My son certainly wasn’t the teacher’s helper (aka: more chores) type. That role makes the distinction of their different learning ever more present (hence the comment you had about “why don’t the other kids get it?”) Coloring to some kids (particularly boys that develop fine motor later) can be tedious. Worksheets in classrooms are often used to keep quick learners “busy” while the rest of the group catches up. These kids are not fooled by the fact that they get extra “busy work”. If you use handouts, try fun puzzles as the other comment mentioned. Having things to fiddle with, such as Legos, while the activity happens can help. Scouting can be wonderfully enriching and yes, simplistic sometimes at the level of a gifted learner. The opportunity for outings and doing cool stuff with your kid can not be underestimated though. Thank you for your recognition and trying to help serve this Tiger!


I would start by explaining to the young man that he is a quick learner and appeal to his desire to help others. Then I would create some tasks to have him do while engaging others.

Thank you everyone for the ideas and conversation.
We had another den meeting today and things were a bit smoother. I’ve found he likes to be moving. He tolerates little talk time but is very engaged when we are in activities. I think if I break up the topics in short bursts of explanations and make things as active as possible, it will help him stay engaged and that wouldn’t take away from other scouts. I’m also going to try some of things you all suggested. Thank you all for the suggestions, and keep them coming if anyone can think of anything else!

Keep him happy and you will keep most your group happy. That is something that spans all the ages.

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