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Baloo's Bugle

May 2002 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 8, Issue 10
June Theme

Critters, Cubs and Campfires
Webelos Traveler and Artist



Mike Gillespie sent this great Pinewood Derby idea

 For our pinewood derby this year I presented the scouts with car stands that I got from work, I work at an automotive machine shop, I was thinking what would I like to set my car on, a wooden stand?, Nah!! Oh maybe an imitation road from a 1x4 painted gray with stripes from white out, Nah did that last year, oooohhh how about an actual piston from an engine, used of course and well cleaned and glass beaded, Yeah, They loved it.
I suppose that you could ask at your local machine shop and they would gladly give up some stuff they would normally discard or recycle.


Campfire Slide
Source: Debbie Kalpowsky
York Adams Area Council



          1½-inch disk

          ¾-inch PVC slide ring

          Thin twigs

          Red & yellow crepe paper and cellophane


          Hot glue



1.        Break twigs into small lengths (no longer than 1¼ inches) About 10 will be enough.

2.        Cut paper/cellophane into small pieces and crumple into ½-inch ball (Have both colors crumpled together)

3.        Using hot glue, mount the paper/cellophane ball onto the center of the disk.

4.        “Build” a teepee fire around the ball of paper/cellophane, as shown in the picture below.

5.        Use hot glue to set the twigs permanently in place.

6.        Mount the slide ring to back of disk using hot glue.


Build A Campfire
York Adams Area Council

Have enough materials on hand and some pictures of the different types of campfires (lean-to, stack, pyramid) that people build.  Let each of the boys build his own campfire out of the material set aside for him.  NOTE: This is not suggesting that you turn over matches to the boys to “do their own thing.”  Do not leave the boys unattended with MATCHES!  During the Den Meeting, you might decide to go over fire safety, campfire building, and then use their creations at the end of the meeting to have a multi-fire campfire.

Square Foot Survey
York Adams Area Council

Give each boy a magnifying glass, a pencil, paper, and a 4-foot long loop of string.  Have him lay out the loop into a shape on the grass (square, circle, triangle—it doesn’t matter).  Have him use the magnifying glass to find as many “critters” as he can in his area and write down or draw pictures of what he saw.  If you can get a book from the library on bugs, have the boys look up some that they saw.

Play “Bugs”
York Adams Area Council

This is a variation of the game “SPUD” that just uses a different word.  To play the game, have the boys stand in a circle with IT in the middle.  IT throws the ball up straight up in the air and calls out another player’s name who has to catch/retrieve the ball.  When he gets the ball he yells “BUGS” (again, it’s not SPUD anymore!).  Everyone stops when he yells BUGS.  He then can take four giant steps toward whichever player he wants (spelling out B-U-G-S as he takes them).  He then throws the ball at the player to hit him.  The other player cannot move from his spot but can move around to dodge the ball.  If the thrower misses, he gets a letter, beginning with B, and has to toss the ball.  If he hits his target, that player gets the B and he tosses the ball next.


10 Things You Can Do For Wildlife
York Adams Area Council

1. Respect the Environment—All facets of our environment—soils, plants, animals, air, water—are interrelated in a complex system. The quality of life is directly dependent upon this system, so we must all do our part to protect our environment and keep it clean.

2. Conserve Water—Water is such an everyday part of our lives that it's all too easy to take it for granted. Water is required for many home and industrial uses, for agriculture, for generating power, and even for recreation; yet our water resources are extremely susceptible to waste and abuse. Conserve water, it's precious.

3. Don't Pollute or Litter—The poisoning of our environment is one of the greatest threats facing mankind. Support all efforts to control pollution, and don't litter under any circumstances.

4. Leave Baby Animals Alone—Many young wild animals die prematurely because too many persons find them and think they've been abandoned. Such is rarely the case. Baby animals should be left in the wild where their mothers can properly care for them.

5. Build and Erect Bird Houses—Artificial nest boxes provide many kinds of cavity nesting birds with places to raise their young. House wrens, house finches, bluebirds and woodpeckers are just some of the bird species which can be expected to nest in appropriately placed nest boxes.

6. Feed Birds in Winter—Bird feeders can entice countless birds to within easy viewing distance. Cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches and many others can be easily attracted to your yard where they can brighten up a gloomy winter day.

7. Plant Seedlings—Food producing plants can fulfill the food and cover needs of many kinds of animals, and beautify a lawn as well. For an assortment of tree and shrub seedlings proven especially useful, buy the Game Commission's "Plantings for Wildlife" packet at the next spring sale in your area.

8. Learn and Obey the Game Laws—Familiarity with the state Game Laws will provide anyone with a general knowledge of the Game Commission's responsibilities and operations. Hunters, however, must be thoroughly familiar with the laws governing their sport. Sportsmen cannot afford the obnoxious actions of the ignorant hunter.

9. Promote Scientific Wildlife Management—Only through science can meaningful wildlife management occur. Programs governed by emotion or popularity subject wildlife populations to dramatic swings and sometimes inescapable plunges. Science minimizes the risks through continuous monitoring and data collection, the keystones to any successful wildlife management program. There's no better place to begin spreading the word than in our schools.

10. Support the Game Commission's "Working Together for Wildlife" Program— This program provides everyone with an opportunity to support research and management programs directly benefiting nongame. Ospreys, bald eagles, river otters and bluebirds are just a few of the animals being helped through this program. Show your support for this program by buying and displaying "Working Together for Wildlife" patches, decals and fine art prints.


Review Campfire Safety Guidelines
York Adams Area Council

Here is a list of tips and guidelines you should follow in building and extinguishing your campfire:

          Circle the pit with rocks or be sure it already has a metal fire ring.

          Clear a 10 foot area around the pit down to the soil.

          Keep plenty of water handy and have a shovel for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.

          Stack extra firewood upwind and away from the fire.

          Keep the campfire small. A good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks give plenty of heat.

          After lighting the fire make sure your match is out cold.

          Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread.

          When extinguishing the fire drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Move rocks, there may be burning embers underneath. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.

Feel all materials with your bare hand. Make sure that no roots are burning. Do not bury your coals - they can smolder and break out.


Hold Closing Pack Meeting Campfire & Family Camp
York Adams Area Council


In order for a Pack to conduct an overnight camping program, someone from the Pack must be a BALOO-Trained Scouter.  BALOO Training is described in the Training Opportunities section of this Pow Wow Book.  So, send someone from the Pack to BALOO Training and have that person then coordinate an overnight campout for the Pack.  If a campout cannot be arranged, at least consider holding a campfire Pack Meeting.  Refer to Chapter 32 of the 2001 edition of the Cub Scout Leader Book for outdoor activity guidance and tips. 

“Bugs-Only” Pet Show
York Adams Area Council

Have the boys make their own Bug Houses (see Den Meeting Craft ideas) and catch a bug to bring to the “Pet Show.”  Make sure to have lots of categories to assign winners so that every boy walks away with a ribbon.  To help you develop categories, start with a basic list of attributes, like size, color, physical traits, etc.  Then start listing out as many different “award areas” you can think of for each, such as, for “size,” biggest, smallest, longest, thinnest, etc.  You will also need to organize Pack members to provide the following help: Awards (making or getting the ribbons), Sign In (to take the names of the boys and their pets), Judges (to figure out what to award each participant).  For the actual show, have each boy stand up with his “pet” and give a short talk about it—its name, where it was found, what it is, and what he likes (or dislikes) most about the pet.  If any of these bugs survive the trauma of the capture/captivity/show, make sure the boys release them back to nature.


Pack Cookout
York Adams Area Council


Every year our Pack holds two summertime activities that include a cookout.  For one of these, the Pack provides the main course (pit beef, dogs, and burgs) and people bring covered dishes to support the event.  This is always a real success—give it a try!


Critters Cacophony?
York Adams Area Council

Have a pet show.  As I scoured the Internet for ideas for this month’s theme, I learned that the term “critters” is applied to just about any and all animals.  So, in keeping with that definition, it’s always a lot of fun to hold a pet show.  The pet shows we’ve had in our Pack have been great fun for the Cubs and their families.  We make sure to give each boy and his pet a special 1st Place Award recognizing some attribute of his pet.  Stuck for ideas?  Here are the instructions and award categories list we used at our last pet show:

Pet Show

Judge’s Instructions

Purpose:  The purpose of the Pet Show is threefold: (1) to have a fun activity for the boys and their families; (2) to give the boys an opportunity to present themselves in a “public speaking” forum, using a topic that is of interest to them and in surroundings that do not threaten or inhibit their presenting themselves; and, (3) to provide an opportunity to recognize and “reward” all of the boys totally and equally.

Method:  During the Pet Show, all of the boys will “parade” their pets in front of the judges and audience and then tell their pets names.  Then each boy will answer some questions from the EMCEE (the CM) about his pet.

Judges’ Responsibilities:  The judges will have a list of judging categories from which to select a deserving award for each boy’s pet.  It is probably best to look over the collection of pets to see where each one will fall in terms of physical attributes.  Then, as each pet is presented, a suitable award category can be selected.  Judges’ decisions are final and fully binding.  J  Have a good time with this; it’s meant to be fun for you as well as for the boys!

Judging Categories:  The following sheets contain lists of general (e.g., size, “looks,” etc.) and award (biggest, smallest, etc.) categories.  The judges should use these and any others that they feel appropriate to identify an award category for each pet.  Only one pet can be named in any award category so that all pets/Cub Scouts receive a first place ribbon.

Size: Biggest, Longest, Tallest, Most Gigantic, Most Immense, Largest, Lightest, Strongest, Smallest, Tiniest

“Looks:” Shiniest, Furriest, Most Wooly, Fuzziest, Softest, Most beautiful, Cleanest, Most Good-looking, Most Striking, Most Handsome, Creepiest

Physical Attributes: Biggest Eyes, Biggest Feet, Longest Tail, Biggest Teeth, Most Slobber, Longest haired, Shortest haired, Most Black, Most White, Most Brown

Sound: Most Quiet, Noisiest, Loudest, Squeakiest

Personality: Funniest, Slowest, Fastest, Most Timid, Most Rambunctious, Most Excited, Most Comical, Most Amusing, Most Raucous, Happiest, Most Afraid, Most Fearful, Bravest, Most Frightening, Scariest, Most Interesting, Calmest, Brightest

Judge’s Choice


Camping Buckets
National Area Capital Council
This project was contributed by: Sharon Mehl


You can make these buckets to take to Day Camp. The boys decorate them to match the Camp "theme". The boys can bring their rain ponchos, bug guard, sunscreen, etc. and place them in their own bucket. The buckets also provide something to sit on at a table.  Parental supervision is recommended.

5-gallon new (empty) paint buckets with lids (see tips below)

Permanent markers or "Painters" paint markers

Paints and sponges, optional

Pliers, optional


First thing you need to do is remove the tear strip from the lid!  If you can't pull it off by hand you can use the pliers to help you get a firmer grip.  Let the children use markers or paint and sponges to decorate their paint buckets in the Camp theme.  Note: Our theme this year is Cubs Around the World.

Give each child a list of supplies they need to bring to camp and have them bring it in their bucket.

Tips: Purchase the paint buckets through your local Home Improvement or Paint Store.  The paint and markers being applied to a slick surface is likely to chip.  If you mix in equal parts of Plaid Folk Art paint with Glass & Tile medium, the paint may adhere better.  Generally, though, the buckets are made just to decorate camp for one week and will do just fine for the week of being bumped around.

The buckets come in handy for holding each individual child's projects (such as lanyard projects) and to keep them from getting mixed up. It is also an easy way for the scouts to bring everything home on the last day of camp.


Onion Sack Suet Feeder
National Capital Council


Unbend a wire coat hanger to make a hanger for this feeder. Bend the other end into a smaller hook  Fill a mesh onion sack with suet (the hard white fat from the edge of meat).  Note:  I like to buy Suet blocks from the local discount store—there are some blocks you can buy that won’t spoil in the heat).  Tie a firm knot in the top of the sack.  Push the small hook through the sack under the knot.

Use the large hook to hang this suet bag feeder on a tree branch where animals such as dogs and raccoons can't reach it.


Toad Abode
National Capital Council


A simple water and cover feature for amphibians.

Get a medium-size clay pot and saucer from a garden center.   Put the saucer on the ground and keep it filled with water.  Nearby, put the pot upside-down with an edge resting on a rock.  That makes room for a toad to fit through and hide inside.  (If you have a broken pot with a chunk missing at the rim, you have an abode with an instant doorway--no need to prop it up.)

Watch for night visitors.


Making a Terrarium
National Capital Council


Materials large jar or plastic container with lid rocks sand  granulated charcoal (used in fish aquarium) - prevents bacterial growth, odor, and souring of the soil  moist soil small, slow growing plants such as small ferns, spider plants, philodendron (dwarf varieties), ivy and small plants from the woods


Wash and clean jar (remove label)

Add rocks

Add layer of sand (1 inch)

Add granulated charcoal

Add a layer of soil 1-2 inches deep

Transplant the plants to the jar

Sprinkle lightly with water

Decorate with rocks, moss, or small items and put lid on.


Make A Water Scope
National Capital Council

Have an adult help you cut the bottom off of a milk or juice jug. to make viewing easier, you can also cut off some of the top to widen the opening. Try not to cut the handle, so you can hold your scope.

Cover the bottom opening with plastic wrap and hold it in place with a rubber band. Trim off any extra wrap and tape around the band. You want the window to be tight, so the water won't seep in.

Take your scope to a pond or shallow stream and put it into the water with the plastic-wrap end down. You should be able to see under the water clearly. It's best if you keep your scope in one place and don't move around too much. That way, the animals won't be afraid to come close, and you'll get a good look at them.



Always stay away from deep water  and always get permission from an adult before going!


Taken from the National Wildlife Federation web page: http://www.nwf.org/rrick/2000/mar00/scope.html


Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard


Plant some flowers in your yard that would be attractive to butterflies or hummingbirds.

Cosmos - for butterflies as a pollen source and for finches as a seed source.
Sunflowers - pollen for bees and butterflies and seeds for birds
Zinnias - butterflies love these and they're easy to grow
Strawberries - Turtles, birds, snakes, chipmunks, and KIDS eat the fruit!

There are many more plants and flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds like.  Do some research and let your imagination go crazy.  You will see many more butterflies if you provide a place for them to raise young right in your own yard!  Dill, parsley, and fennel are good larval food sources for butterflies.

Put a dish of water out and keep it full.  This will give wildlife a place to come and get a drink on those hot summer days.  For an experiment, you could dust the area around the dish with flour and see the tracks of all the animals that visit your water dish.

Select a patch of lawn and don't mow it all summer. This is great habitat for fireflies, birds, butterflies, and other creatures that may hide in it or snack on it!

Make a snowman or snowwoman, and dress her for the birds. Make a necklace out of birdseed, raisins for the eyes. Use sturdy branches for the arms so the birds will have a place to perch.

Taken from the National Wildlife Federation web page



Four On A Penny
Trapper Trails Council


Give each boy a penny and ask him to find four complete items that will fit on the penny without touching each other or hanging over the edge.  (You will be amazed at the number of tiny flowers, bugs, seeds, and rocks, etc.)

The Search For Green
Crossroads of America

Each boy is assigned one square foot of ground. Within a given time period, they are to examine the ground closely. When time is up, boys compare lists and discuss what they have found.

String Walk
Crossroads of America

Set up a long string across the landscape. The string should be about three feet off the ground and wind through all sorts of terrain. Without knowing where you've placed the string, the boys are blindfolded and asked to follow the string, using their hands to guide them. Make sure the boys do not put any weight on the string, or use it to help balance; it is just a guide. Make sure also that the string travels over many semi-difficult areas, so the boys have to crawl, pick their way through brush, and go up and down slight inclines. Adults should be placed all along the string to aid the boys. At different points in their progress the boys should be asked the direction back to the starting point, or whether they know exactly where they are. This will keep the boys actively checking position and direction.


Feed the Birds
Crossroads of America


Although you can buy pre mixed bird seed, it’s a lot more fun to custom mix your own. First find out what the birds in your yard prefer. Buy very small quantities of different varieties, such as black oil sunflower seeds, millet, thistle seeds and yellow corn. Fill an muffin tin or an open tray feeder with the seeds.(keep them separate) Monitor which type of seeds the birds depleted the soonest. Then buy those seeds in bulk and blend your own concoction.


Birdseed Garland
Crossroads of America


Thread a 20 inch piece of twine through a large eyed needle, knot the end and sew through the raw peanut shells. Tie the garland to a branch. Remember to replenish the garland to keep the birds coming.


Hatch A Batch Of Amphibian Eggs
Crossroads of America

Spring is the time for amphibians to make their treks to ponds and other watery places to mate. You probably have been hearing them at dusk on cloudy days. Go down to the waters edge with a pail and see if you can find any eggs to bring home and hatch. Frogs eggs are bunched together in a clump, toads eggs are generally arranged in a long string. Bring only a few home in your pail, along with plenty of water, algae and pond plants for the tadpoles to eat.

If you can't get frog eggs from the pond you can order from the science suppliers. Or you can buy a kit containing the tadpole to send for your kit write to: Science Kit & Boreal Laboratories 777 East Park Drive Tonawanda, NY 14150-6782.

Frogs' eggs will grow into tadpoles within a week or so. Keep only one or two tadpoles, returning the others and any un-hatched eggs to the pond. A tadpole soon develops hind legs and then tiny front legs where the gills were. The gills are also replaced by lungs at this stage. Gradually the tail disappears, during which time the tadpole does not eat. Transfer your tadpole to an aquarium now, one with a slopping rock or a floating log and a cover. Grown frogs eat a lot of live food. You could start by feeding them meal worms, but you will need to return them to their natural habitat.

Make a Plant Press
Crossroads of America

Pressing plant specimens is a good way to preserve them. While you can stick leaves and blossoms between the pages of books an even better press is a portable one, you can carry with you on hikes. You can make your own with some simple materials.

Cut two pieces of 1/4" plywood or masonite-6x8". Drill holes in the four corners of each board and attach them to one another with long bolts topped by wing nuts. Put several pieces of cardboard between the boards, trimming the corners to accommodate the bolts.

As you find flowers and leaves to press, place them between sheets of paper. Sandwich these between the layers of cardboard. Tighten the nut evenly at all four corners to put pressure on the plants to press them flat. Your specimens should dry in a few weeks.


Sticks and Stones
Crossroads of America

For this version of jacks, use ten sticks and a pebble. Hold the sticks like a hand full of spaghetti and drop them onto the ground. Toss the pebble into the air and try picking up a single stick with one hand and the pebble with the other one. Next try picking up two twigs, and so on.


A Rain Gauge
Crossroads of America

While you can make a rain gauge in any container marked off in inches, you can make a gauge that is more precise. The beet container for collecting rain is a wide-mouthed one.  Place a funnel inside it, because it will keep some of the rainwater from evaporating before you get a chance to record its depth.  But measuring a small amount of rain in such a large container is difficult.  Here's a trick for making more precise measurements.  In addition to the container you have sitting outside collecting rain, you will need a tall jar that is only 1" to 11/2" in diameter.  Fill your collecting container with exactly 1" of water.  Pour the water into the tall jar and mark the level of the water.  Divide that inch into fractions.  Whenever it rains, collect that water in the bigger container, but transfer it to the measuring jar to see how much rain really fell.


Rain Sticks #1
Crossroads of America


Paper towel tubes darning needle tooth picks (double pointed) white glue

hot glue, wallpaper or contact paper 2 balloons and popcorn.


Poke holes into the paper towel tube. Put the toothpicks into the tube at different angles. Clip off the ends and spot glue into place using white glue. Cover the entire tube using the wallpaper or contact paper. Place a balloon on an end securing it with hot glue. Fill the tube about 3/4 full of popcorn. Place a balloon on the open end securing it as before.


Growing Seeds Indoors
Crossroads of America

Some seeds benefit from a head start indoors.  Sow the seeds of those plants that need a long growing season, and those that you would like to have bloom as early as possible. 


Container that is deep enough for plants' roots and that has drainage holes. (milk cartons, or yogurt containers).

potting soil plastic bags seeds


Dampen the potting soil before putting it into the container. Bury large seeds about ¼” to ½" deep, sprinkle tiny seeds right on top of the surface, covering them lightly with more soil.  Label the container, and put it in a plastic bag.  Place in a warm, dark place.  Check them everyday, and when the seeds have sprouted, remove the bags and put containers in a sunny place or under a plant light.  Keep the plant moist but not too wet.  You'll have to transplant the seedlings as they grow, and give them food (fertilizer) to keep them healthy.  Just watch them grow.

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