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Baloo's Bugle


June 2004 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 11
July 2004 Theme

Theme: Fin Fun
Webelos: Aquanaut & Geologist
  Tiger Cub:




Circle Ten Council

Before you take your pack or den out for any water-related activities, please read:

Safe Swim Defense

Home Swimming Safety Rules

Water Rescue

Safety Afloat


Circle Ten Council

Most cities offer recreation swimming at their pools with qualified lifeguards on duty. Call your city's parks and Recreation Department or community Services office for specific locations, hours and fees. Some YMCA offices open pools outside their normal facilities for more affordable fees. Call the YMCA near you for more information. Some pools require letting them know ahead of time if you are planning to bring a large group so that they can arrange to have more lifeguards on hand.


Baltimore Area Council

  • Make and cook on a hobo stove

  • Help clean up a stream

  • Go Fishing

  • Go for a hike in a local park (Take plastic grocery bags and leave the place looking better than you found it)

  • Make blue gelatin with gummy fish for a snack

  • Hold walnut shell boat races


Baltimore Area Council

  • Visit the Baltimore Aquarium (or one near your home)

  • Have a water balloon battle

  • Visit the Goddard Space Flight Center (or another NASA installation)

  • Visit the Flag House (or see the Star Spangled Banner from Fort McHenry at the Smithsonian or the Betsy Ross House or something else historical for the Fourth of July)

  • Hold a Raingutter Regatta (Check it out in this section!)

  • Visit the C & O Canal (or another water based historical attraction near you.  We visited an historical canal near Dayton a few years ago)

Fishing Derby

Baltimore Area Council

There are a lot of good games listed here as alternate activities, don’t miss them!!

Also, there are many specifics for Maryland in here, but I am sure if you check with your local state officials you will find many of the same programs wherever you live.  Go to the “My Home State” Baloo for the list of state websites for kids if you don’t know where to start.  CD

There are two kinds of Cub Scout Pack fishing derbies: both are fun for boys and parents.

  • One is a partner-and-son fishing trip to a nearby lake or river where adults and boys can fish off the bank or in boats. Small prizes are awarded for the biggest fish, smallest fish and best string.

  • The other type is a family outing with games and contests related to fishing. The ideas listed here are for this kind of derby.

We are quite lucky in the State of Maryland, that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fisheries has a program called "Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs", where the DNR will supply on a loan basis, rods and reels to Scout units, free of charge. The DNR also has other resources such as booklets on fishing for youth, the State laws on fishing in Maryland, and other literature. The Fisheries can stock ponds and streams for events if open to the public. The also have flyers, posters, and other items that can be used in your derby. The DNR police are a good source who will visit a Pack Meeting and explain fishing laws, conservation, water safety, etc.

In the Baltimore Area Council, the Bass Masters will do demonstrations on casting and fishing methods. This organization has several programs depending on the local group which the boys can win prizes and other awards. In the past, the owner of a local bait shop has supplied worms or bait for Scouting activities. The State of Maryland has several other programs which are coordinated through the DNR, one such program is "My First Fish" for anyone catching their first fish in Maryland. A form is filled out and a certificate is sent to the fisherman. A second is, “Catch and Release,” if the Cub catches and then releases a fish (alive) there is a patch and certificate available that can be obtained from the DNR.

The fishing derby committee should follow Cub Scout guidelines for planning special events. Planning includes securing a site, arranging for transportation, planning activities and obtaining prizes and arranging for food and equipment. Try special promotional gimmicks such as invitations in the shape of a fish.

Make identifying signs for each contest area. Use ropes, posts, colored streamers, and colorful signs to mark game areas. Consider using a public address system to control the activities, if necessary and a tape player to provide lively music.

Suggested Fishing Derby Schedule

1:00 - 2:00 Gathering-time activities

2:00 - 3:30 Special contests

3:30 - 3:45 Awards ceremony

3:45 - 5:00 Free time for fishing

5:00 - 6:00 Meal and clean-up

You do not need to buy a lot of expensive equipment to start with. You just need a rod and reel (or a cane pole), some line and hooks and a few weights and floats. You also need a disgorger, or "hook-out", which is a metal or plastic tool used to take a hook out of the fishes mouth without hurting the fish.

Tackle for the Job

What about bait? To catch fish, anglers (fishermen) use some sort of food, or bait, to tempt fish to bite on the hook. Bait can be real food, either alive or dead. It can also be an imitation, which is used to trick the fish. Artificial flies and lures are in this category.  So is a piece of aluminum foil attached to the line.

Knots - Fishing line is quite smooth and you will need to learn how to tie special knots that do not slip when tying a hook onto the line. Always make the line wet before tightening the knot. Test the knot by pulling from both sides before you start fishing. Have a fisherman teach you knots that can be used to tie your hook onto you line and then practice them.  Or find pictures that show the knots and practice them.

Games for your Fishing Derby

You may want to have some alternate activities ready to go in case the fish are not biting that day.  Or younger Scouts become restless.

Guessing Contest: How many fish eggs are in the jar? Use marbles for the eggs. The winner gets the jar of marbles.

Snapping Fish Game: This game requires several fishing poles with sinkers and a piece of foam rubber attached to a 3 -by-4 foot line. Also, have several mousetraps set to spring. Object of the game is to set off a trap by hitting it with the foam rubber without getting the line caught in the trap.

Fish & Net Game: Three to five Cubs join hands to catch fish (Cubs) by surrounding individual players. Those who are caught become a part of the "net". The last five Fish caught make up the net for the next game.

Sardines: Select one Cub to be "It". He hides while the other players count to 100. Then they all search for him. When someone finds ``It" they hide with him. Continue until the last Cub locates "It". The first Cub that found "It" is the new "It" for the next game.

Fishpond Games: An infinite variety of games are possible with a "hook", a line, and a pole. Make hooks from coat­ hanger wire, paper clips, magnets, or even sticky gloop. Cut fish from felt, cardboard, wood, or sheet metal. The players can catch the fish by hooking them and lifting them out of the Ocean or stream. Fish can be marked with different point values or different colors can be worth different points, or even feats of skill (do a head-stand or hand-stand).

Crab Relays: Have the first Cub in each line sit on the floor with his back to the finish line. On a signal, he walks backwards on his hands and feet with his body parallel to the floor. When he reaches the finish line, he stands up and runs back and touches the next player. Who repeats the action, the first team to finish wins.

Rope Throw Rescue: Each Den has a coil of rope or clothesline and adults representing drowning persons whom must be rescued. The Cubs in turn throws the rope to a drowning person, who grabs it and let go. The player recoils the rope and hands it to the next player. Repeat until all have been rescued.

There is so much that can be done at a Pack Fishing Derby. Let your imagination run wild. Other games can be: Harpooner, where a Cub takes aim at a whale with a broomstick (harpoon). There is also the Fish Market where the Cubs throw slippery fish to their teammates who have to stack them (The fish are small nerf footballs that were soaked in baby oil). Casting competitions, mend fishing nets. A chowder race where each Den has to put an ingredient into the pot to complete the chowder. The derby can also be ended with a Crab Feast or Clam Bake.

Special Contests

Reeling Relay: Dens and families are arranged in relay fashion. The first player on each team has a fishing pole and reel. On signal, he places the fishing pole and reel on the ground in front of him, takes the plug and runs to a line 25 feet away, unwinding the line as he goes. He then runs back, sits on the ground, and reels in the line. The next member follows and so on, until all have played. First team finished wins.

Fishing Relay: The "fishpond" is a large cardboard box turned upside down, with slots cut in the bottom. In each slot, insert a "fish" cut from cardboard. On each fish mark a length and weight for it. For each team, you need a cane pole with a 3-foot string and a bent paper clip for the hook. Team members line up relay fashion, with the first member holding the pole. On signal he runs to the fishpond and catches a fish. A judge records the length and weight. The team with the greatest weight total of fish wins.

Rowing Relay - Players on each team sit or kneel in a large cardboard box and propel themselves to the goal line and back by using two short broomsticks with rubber tips.

Go fishing in the Lake: Prizes could be given for biggest fish caught, littlest fish, most fish caught, longest fish caught, etc. Inexpensive fishing tackle might be used for prizes.

Raingutter Regatta

Baltimore Area Council

This could be the sailing regatta of the century! Although the seas are only 10 - foot lengths of raingutter filled with water and the ships a mere 6 inches long, the race is a very exciting event. Each boy builds his own boat with supervision and help from parents or other family members (or selects one available at the derby). He also provides the wind for the sail with his own lungs.

The regatta boat kit, available from the local Scout Shop, has a pre-shaped balsa hull, metal keel and plastic sail. The hulls are sanded and shaped, and painted with colorful lacquer. Hull and sail are then decorated with decal kits (also available at the Scout Shop). The boats race in pairs on raingutter courses, propelled by the boys blowing into the sails.

If you have a number of model boat enthusiasts in your Pack then you will want to plan a Raingutter Regatta. Several classes of boats can be raced as long as they are not too big for your Raingutter course.

Race Course

The course will be determined by the facilities available. A portable wading pool, regular swimming pool, pond, lake, or even a good size puddle after a rainstorm can be used for racing the boats.

 The most commonly used course (and where the race gets its name) is the raingutter.

The course is made of standard rain gutters 10' long; set in grooves in two sawhorses. Allow sufficient space around the course for both participants and spectators. With gutters in place, put a small amount of water into each to make sure they are level. Make any needed adjustments, and when level, fill to about 1/2" from top.

Running a Rain Gutter Regatta

You will need someone standing at the start line (to make sure the boats remain at the start line) to say, "on your mark, get set, go" (i.e., the Cubmaster). The race is a slow enough event that the Cubmaster can easily take a couple of steps to the other end of the gutter to declare the winner.            However, if there are enough parents standing around, put them to work. Rules should be established prior to the event to resolve any difficulties.  There are suggested Derby Rules in the Cub Scout How-To Book. 

Boats sometimes seem to "stick'" to the side of the gutter; however, folding a paper clip and inserting it into the body of the craft such that a rounded portion of the clip protrudes approximately 1/8" at locations appropriate such that no portion of the side of the craft may contact the gutter eliminates "sticking".

Rain Gutter Regattas & Some Variations

Building Instructions

1.       Sandpaper the balsa hull to the desired shape, adhering to the specifications listed below. First use medium grade sandpaper, and then finish off with very fine sandpaper.

2.       Give the model two coats of sanding sealer, which can be obtained at a craft or hobby store.

3.       Using either a hand or electric drill can taper the mast. While you careful]), turn the dowel, work a piece of sandpaper back and forth until the desire shape is achieved.

4.       Give the entire model two coats of colored lacquer.

Material for Double Raceway

2 ea. -10 foot lengths of 5" diameter half round gutter

4 ea. -End caps for gutter rivets or bolts to end

2 ea. -Trough supports (I" X 4-" X 36") cut to fit gutter

2 ea. -End braces (1'' X 4" X 23")

2 ea. -Diagonal braces (1-" X 2" X 72")

4 ea. -Legs (2" X 2" X 34")

Several - 1 1/2"#10 Flathead wood screws (all fastenings) (This will make a frame to support 10' lengths of rain gutter filled with 8 gallons of water. It can be assembled and disassembled quite easily.)

Giant Wind-Up Water Bug

Baltimore Area Council

Materials: Two Styrofoam meat trays, 3" long light thin rubber bands, pencils, scissors, white glue, sharpie marker, colored pencils or markers.


1.       Cut the bottoms of the meat trays out and glue them together, making sure that one of the trays has the smooth side out.

2.       Transfer the bug and paddle wheel patterns to the smooth side. Use carbon paper or trace to another sheet of paper, blacken the backside of the tracing with a #2 pencil or crayon and then trace over the pattern with a dull pencil.

3.       Cut your bug out of the Styrofoam being sure to include the notches in the legs for the rubber band.

4.       Decorate the bug with colored markers or pencils.

5.       Stretch the rubber band between the legs. A thin rubber band that fits without stretching much is essential.

6.       Slip the paddle wheel in the middle of the rubber band loop and wind up gently. Placing the paddle wheel off center will cause the bug to travel in circles.

7.       A toddler's swimming pool is the ideal place to release your bugs. Try having a Den race.

Octopus Tie Slide

Baltimore Area Council

Materials: English walnut shell carefully halved; small wiggle eyes; black chenille stems, black tamper evident ring from a soda bottle; hot glue; craft glue; black acrylic paint.


1.       Paint the exterior of half a walnut shell black. Let dry.

2.       Consider the pointed end of the shell as the top and use craft glue to attach the eyes approximately a fourth of the way up from the bottom. Let dry.

3.       Cut 4 chenille stems in half. Bend each piece in half. Hang them on the soda ring. Put some hot glue into the shell. And carefully press the eight legs and ring into the glue, extending them from the rounded end.

4.       When the glue is dry, fill the rest of the shell with hot glue.


Baltimore Area Council

Materials: Find as many patterns as you can from cookie cutters to children's flat toys, coloring books, anything you can trace a pattern from. They can be dinosaurs, reptiles, amphibians, birds, etc.

Also, stapler, translucent plastic lid (like those on margarine tubs), scissors, colored tissue paper, newspaper, spray shellac, leather punch, suction cup window hook.


1.       Cut the edge of the lid off leaving a flat plastic disk for the base.

2.       Attach the chosen pattern to the lid by stapling all around the edge.

3.       Cut out the pattern.

4.       Tear the tissue paper into 3/4 " x 1" strips.

5.       Put the lid on several layers of newspaper and spray with shellac.

6.       Immediately lay pieces of tissue on the pattern, overlapping the strips and the edge of the pattern.

7.       Spray another layer of shellac over the top of the tissue.

8.       Set aside to dry.

9.       When completely dry, trim the excess tissue from around the edge. And punch a hole in the top of the suncatcher. Now you are ready to hang it on the window using the suction cup window hook, plastic side to the window.

Balloon Powered Boat

Longhorn Council

You will need: 1/2 gallon milk carton (need 1/2 for each boat); A drinking straw that bends; Heavy-duty tape; A long balloon; Scissors; A nail.

1.       Cut one side from the carton to make the boat.

2.       Trim the straw so the part that bends is exactly in the middle. The straight parts should be about 2 inches each.

3.       Tape one end of the straw inside the balloon. Secure the tape tightly but don’t collapse the straw.

4.       Using the nail, poke a hole in the bottom of the carton (the stern of the boat).

5.       Insert the balloon straw “ari jet” through the hole in the stern. Pull the straw through and bend it at a ninety-degree angle.

6.       Blow up the balloon. Then hold the end of the straw with a finger. Launch the balloon boat in the water.

Tub Time Toy

A tub-time toy that doesn’t need batteries.

It does move on its own.

Longhorn Council

You will need: Waxed cardboard (e.g. milk or ice-cream cartons, butter boxes); Scissors; Pencil; Ruler; Waterproof tape (duct tape or strong packing tape); Bar of Ivory soap.

1.       If you are using cardboard from food container, wash out the carton well.

2.       Cut a 2" by 3" rectangle out of one side of your carton. Find the center of a short side of the rectangle, and then use a ruler to mark a straight line from this center point to the corners at the opposite end. Fold up along these lines.

3.       Tape up the end of the boat with the waterproof tape.

4.       Cut a very small wedge from the soap. Then cut a hole in the back of your boat, making it smaller than the wedge.

5.       Put the boat in a half-full sink, bathtub or other quiet water. Place the soap wedge into the hole in the boat so that the point of the wedge is toughing the water. The rest of the wedge sits on top of the boat. Now watch your boat move forward.

Soap On A Rope

Longhorn Council

You will need: 2 cups soap flakes*; 1/2 cup hot water; Egg beater; Food coloring; About 1 yard of cord or thick yarn.  *Grate soft white soap into flakes. Ivory works well.

1.       Pour soap flakes and water into a bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired. Beat until evenly mixed.

2.       Gather the mixture in your hands. Press it into a firm glob.

3.       Knot the ends of the cord together with a large knot.

4.       Form the soap glob around the cord just above the knot. Squeeze the glob so it hangs securely from the cord.

5.       Form into a special shape (keep it simple).

6.       Let the soap dry for several days.

7.       Tie another knot just where the cord comes back out of the soap.

Sand Candles

Longhorn Council

You will need: Sand; Flowerpot or similar sized container; Wax block or household paraffin (approximately ¼ lb. for each candle); Candle wicks (craft store) or waxed string; Empty can with the label removed; Small pebble; Crayons (optional).

Close Adult supervision is required throughout this activity!!

1.       MELT WAX: Break up the wax and put pieces in the empty can. Fill a small pot 1/3 full of water, put the can in the pot and the pot on the stove over low heat. If you want colored candles, put a piece of crayon in the melting wax. While the wax melts, prepare the candle mold.

2.       MAKE MOLD: Fill the flowerpot with MOIST sand. Dig out the candle shape-- use your hand or press an object into the sand like a small rubber ball or a small can. Important: You are making the candle upside down. To make the candles like strange sea creatures, make large or small holes in the sand jutting out from the basic candle shape (use your finger or a pencil).

3.       PLACE WICK: When the mold is finished, tie a pebble to the end of a strand of the wick and embed the pebble in the sand at the bottom of the mold as shown. Wind the other end of the wick around the pencil and balance on top of the flowerpot. Make sure the wick is straight.

4.       POUR WAX: Pour the liquid wax into the mold carefully. In a few minutes the wax will sink a bit--pour in more wax to make it level (this will be the bottom of the candle). Let the wax cool completely.

5.       FINAL STEPS: To unmold, turn the flowerpot upside down. The sand will come out in a hunk in your hand. Carefully remove the candle. Brush off as much sand as possible. Let dry and brush off again. A very thin coating of sand should remain on the candle surface.

VARIATIONS: Instead of poking small holes, keep the moist sand walls smooth and embed pretty pebbles and sea shells (shell’s outside to the sand). Or how about making candles right-side up? You need to keep the bottom of your sandy pit flat but you don’t have to embed the wick in the sand.

No Care Aquarium

Longhorn Council

You will need: Two 9" paper plates; Small amount of sand or aquarium gravel; Two shades of green construction paper; 8" square of clear sandwich wrap; Glue; Scissors.

1.       Cut center out of one plate and glue clear sandwich wrap on inside.

2.       Cut a circle of green construction paper and glue it inside the other plate.

3.       Spread a light coat of glue over a 1” strip at the bottom of the green circle. Sprinkle sand over the glue. Let dry and shake off excess sand. Optionally, you may want to use aquarium gravel (you will need more glue for gravel).

4.       Draw several fish or cut out some pictures of fish from a magazine. Glue them above the sand on the green circle. Use lighter shade of green for seaweed. A few wavy lines made with a dark green marker will make the water look as though it’s moving.

5.       Staple the plates together or sew them together with colored yarn.

6.       Now you can see the aquarium picture through the clear sandwich wrap.

VARIATION: In place of clear wrap, use clear blue cello wrap (used to wrap fruit baskets and the like, available at a craft store). You will not have to use the construction paper circle.

Sand Painting

Longhorn Council

Do this outside where you don’t mind the sand. Designs should be simple. Younger boys may want to outline their designs with sand rather than filling it. How about writing their names with sand?

You will need: Sand; Several plastic containers with lids; Food Coloring; Newspaper; Heavy tag board or cardboard; Pencil; Glue.

1.       Put sand in the plastic containers and add a few drops of food coloring--a different color for each container.

2.       Cover and shake the containers or stir until the sand is completely colored.

3.       Spread the colored sand out on newspaper for a few minutes and let it dry while you color more. (Try combining primary colors.)

4.       Using the pencil, draw a design on the tag board or cardboard.

5.       Spread glue on the outline of the design.

6.       Cover the outline with one color of sand. Shake the excess sand back into its container.

7.       Spread glue onto another area of the design, and then fill it in with another color of sand. Repeat until the entire design is complete.

8.       Allow to dry (about an hour). Attach a small piece of string like a loop on the back and hang on the wall.

Layered Sand Jar

Longhorn Council

You will need: A variety of colored sands (see the craft above); Nicely shaped clear jar (not too big) with a lid; Funnel.

1.       Spoon a layer of colored sand into the jar. Or pour the sand through a funnel into the jar. Gently tap the jar to make the sand level if you want flat layers.

2.       Continue adding layers of different-colored sands until you reach the top.

3.       Screw the lid on tightly.

Beach Ball Neckerchief Slide

Santa Clara County Council

You will need:

One half-ball-shaped wood piece 1 1/2" diameter* (available at a craft store);

Acrylic paint or permanent markers;

1/2" section of 1/2" PVC pipe;

Thick craft glue or low temp glue gun.

*If you cannot find half-ball shapes, cut a wooden ball in half. Be careful, it is small and craft wood shapes are usually hardwood. Adult should do this.

1.       Paint the wood piece like a beach ball.

2.       Let it dry.

3.       Glue the PVC pipe section onto the flat side of the 'beach ball'.

Rope Neckerchief Slide

Santa Clara County Council

You will need a piece of rope about 8-inches long and a whipping cord.

Whip both ends of the rope (Bear Achievement 22).

Lay a bead of low temp glue along the rope and coil the rope in a circle. It may be easier if you wrap the rope around a 1/2" dowel, being careful not to glue the rope to the dowel.

Buoy Key Ring

Longhorn Council

You will need a large enough piece of cork and twist ties

It floats, so it’s a good gift for anglers and boaters.

1.       Drill a hole through the middle of a cork.

2.       Insert a large plastic coated twist tie through the hole in the cork.

3.       Thread the key onto one end and securely twist the ties together.

4.       Test for buoyancy in a sink filled with water. If it sinks, try a larger cork or add another one.

Footprints in the Sand

Santa Clara County Council


Footprints in the Sand

Capture that barefoot-on-the-beach feeling -- and a record of your feet -- with this simple plaster-casting project.

Supplies:  Plaster of Paris, small bucket, freshwater, 4-inch lengths of string (optional)


Choose a site to cast your molds -- the moist, hard-packed sand near the water's edge works best.

Firmly press both feet into the sand. The prints should be about 1/2 inch to 2 inches deep. (If your child can't press down that hard, he can use his finger to dig down into the print, following its shape.)

Mix up the plaster, according to the directions on the package, so that it has a thick, creamy consistency. Pour the wet plaster gently into the footprints.

To make hangers, tie a knot about a half-inch in from each end of the pieces of string. As the plaster begins to harden, push the knotted ends into the plaster and let dry.

After 20 to 25 minutes, gently dig the footprints out of the molds and brush away any excess sand. Set sole-side up in the sun for about an hour to let harden.

Jet Boat

Santa Clara County Council

Jet Boat

Kids will love being the captain of this balloon-powered jet boat - perfect for racing in pools, ponds and bathtubs.

Supplies:  Plastic pipe elbow, 1/2 inch in diameter, and its accompanying plastic nut (ask at your local hardware store); Two 5 1/2 x 8-inch Styrofoam food trays; Balloon; Rubber band


Thread the nut on the plastic pipe elbow. Then cut a hole in the bottom of one of the trays and push through the elbow's non-threaded end.

Stretch the balloon over the threaded end. Next, secure the elbow underneath the tray with the rubber band, wrapping it around several times.

Cut a rudder from the other tray, and insert it through a slit cut in the stern of the boat.

Tips:   To operate the vessel, inflate the balloon by blowing into the elbow. Block the end of the pipe with your finger as you set the boat in the water, then release it and watch the boat zip away.


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