Baloo's Bugle

January 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 6
February 2008 Theme

Theme: Chinese New Year
Webelos: Scholar & Engineer
Tiger Cub
Requirement 4


Advancement Ideas:

Carol E. Little, CS RT Commissioner

American Elm District, Black Swamp Council

Tigers -

Ach 2D, 4G, 4F; Elect. 2, 30

Wolf -

Ach 2A, 2B, 8C, 12;, Elect. 4E, 11B, 14A, 22A, 22B


Ach 15B, 15C, 17B, 17E, 22A, 23; Elect. 11B


Alice, Golden Empire Council

The Language and Culture Belt Loop would be an excellent choice for every level of  Cub Scouts for this theme.  (See Special Opportunity item.  CD)

Tiger Cub Achievements:
#5G –
Take a hike with your den – try making one of the Chinese forms of art about the world of nature you have seen

Tiger Cub Electives:
– If you have a boy with a Chinese heritage, this would be a great time to invite him or his family members to come share how they celebrate
#2 – If you make decorations for a Pack Chinese New Year’s celebration

#3 – Have a family Tangram puzzle night

#21 – Make a puppet based on a Chinese character or animal

#31 – Choose an animal from China, such as a Panda Bear – but there are lots of others!

#35 – Play one of the Chinese children’s games outdoors with your pack

#45 – Visit a Chinese bakery if there is a China Town in your area – try to find out what the different treats are called;

Wolf Achievements: 

#4f – If you are able to visit a China Town in your area, or an important religious building used by Chinese people;

#6b, c – Make a collection about something Chinese – pictures of the different animals used in the Chinese horoscope, pictures of famous Chinese locations from travel agent or Chinese embassy brochures, or maybe a collection of “Chops” for family members or friends;

#8c – help make a Chinese dinner for your family

Wolf Electives:

#2 – if your den puts on a skit about China or a Chinese folk tale;

#4f – Play one of the Chinese outdoor wide games;

#5a-e  – Learn kite flying safety rules, then make and fly a kite to celebrate the invention of kites in China; 

#9 – Help prepare for a family or den party with a Chinese New Year theme;

#12a or d – Do an art project based on China or Chinese art; 

#22a, b – Learn to say hello and count to ten in Chinese

Bear Achievements:

#3d – If you are able to visit a China Town or a Chinese heritage location and learn about it;

#8e – See if there is any Chinese background to the history of your community; 

#9b,c – If you choose food with a Chinese theme;  #10b – Have a family Tangram Puzzle night;

#15b, c – if you choose Chinese games from this packet; 

#18e – write a thank you note if a guest expert comes to talk about China or teach Chinese customs; 

#19 – Use whittling chip skills to create your own “Chop” or make a sculpture of an animal that lives in China; 

Bear Electives:

#9 – Visit an Asian art museum or make an art project based on Chinese art;

#10 – make a mask of a Chinese character or animal


Webelos Activities:

Artist #3, 7, 9 – follow a Chinese theme or style;

Communicator #10 – invite a Chinese speaking person to share what they know about their language;

Craftsman – try making something that represents Chinese culture or craft; 

Showman – using puppetry, music or drama, share something about China or it’s culture or history.

Paper Dragon

Sam Houston Area Council

In China, the dragon is a symbol of good luck.
During the New Year’s holiday, people have a dragon parade.



Here’s a dragon that you can make for your own parade.


*  Two different colors of construction paper

*  Scissors

*  Pencil

*  Ruler

*  Craft sticks, dowels, tongue depressors or even chopsticks (for holding the dragon)

*  Tape

*  Glue

*  Poster board or cardstock for stiffening the dragon's head

*  Crayons or markers

*  Sequins for eyes

*  Dragon head pattern

*  Colored tissue paper (several colors) in ½” to ¾ strips least 12 inches long


Dragon Head

1.       Enlarge the dragon head pattern to fill a piece of construction paper (or larger if you have bigger paper and a plotter)

2.       Color the dragon head.

3.       Glue it to the poster board or cardstock and let it dry.

Forming the dragon body. using the two long construction paper strips,

4.       From the construction paper, cut several 1” wide strips from both of your colors of construction paper until you have enough to make (by taping strips together) two different colored 36" strips

5.       Take the end of one long strip and lay it crosswise over the end of the other strip. (You can tape these beginning ends together).

6.       Now take turns folding one strip over the other until your strips runs out.  Tape the two ends of the strip together and then open the dragon body. 

7.       Glue the dragon body to the back of the dragon head.

8.       Glue several tissue paper strips to form the tail of the dragon.

9.       Attach a craft stick (or other stick) to the dragon’s head and another craft stick to the dragon's tail - you will hold onto the dragon in these two places during the dragon parade.

Dancing Paper Dragon Toy

Alice, Golden Empire Council


Cut a Dragon head and tail out of colored paper. 

Decorate with glitter, feathers, etc.

Cut another piece of colored paper in half lengthwise, then paste two ends together to make a long rectangle. 

Now accordion fold vertically along the whole length of the rectangle. 

Glue or tape the head to one end and the tail to the other end. 

Now tape the head and tail to two wooden barbeque skewers, balloon sticks, chopsticks or straws. 

Hold each skewer in one hand and make your dragon dance by moving your hands in a swirling fashion while you move around the space. 

This is an individual version of the huge Chinese dragons carried by many people in Chinese New Year parades.


Neckerchief Slides

Utah National Parks Council

Panda Bear: Use 1 white 1½ or 2 inch pompom for each bear.  You will need 2 small black pompoms for the ears and 2 small white pompoms for the cheeks. Use two small wiggly eyes. You can use a tiny black pompom for the nose if desired. Glue a ring to the back for the neckerchief to the threaded through. (Note: I like to use expandable fake wedding bands for backs so that they can be made tighter or looser.)

New Year Banner: Write Happy New Year in Chinese on red laminated card stock. This is an easy inexpensive way to go. Put a ring on the back of the paper and you're finished.

Paper Kite: Make this with toothpicks and tissue paper or construction paper strips make cute neckerchief slides, either with a diamond-shaped kite or a box kite, with or without tails. Tails are fun but can be caught easily and break the slide.

Zodiac Animals: You could also let the boys research their Chinese Zodiac Sign and make paper animals or more pompom animals. The snake is very simple–a pipe cleaner and wiggly eyes. Twist it around your finger loosely. However, Webelos would have been born in 1997, so the year of the ox would be appropriate. Nine year olds would have been born in 1998 which was the year of the tiger. The eight year olds would have been born in 1999 which was the year of the hare. All these animals are very easy to make with pompoms, but you will need a little felt or pellon to make ears and strips and horns. Have fun!!!

Make Your Own Chinese Abacus

Sam Houston Area Council

Have the Cub Scouts make and learn to use an abacus.
Here are some simple instructions for making a 5-digit abacus.

There are some websites listed at the end of Baloo with more ideas for making and using an Abacus.  CD

Materials (for 1 abacus):

9 - 4 1/2" craft sticks

1 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch cardboard sheet  If you used different size craft sticks, adjust size to match size of craft sticks)

5 stir sticks – round, not flat

35 pony beads (optional: 25 of one color and 10 of another color)


*  Be careful in using the glue gun. A low temperature glue gun is best when working with Cub Scouts.

*  Use tweezers to remove the “hot glue spider webs” from around the beads so that the beads can move freely.

*  The “straws with beads” are just pony beads on mini coffee stirrer straws (round ones, not flat ones). You can get coffee stirrers at a grocery store. The beads need to slide on the straws so don't glue them!

*  Also, the Chinese abacus has 5 beads below (earth) and 2 beads above (heaven) the middle cross bar. You can make the beads different colors for above and below the cross bar.






Activity Ideas

Alice, Golden Empire Council

Decorate the Pack meeting room – Hang Chinese Lanterns made by the boys. Take cuttings from flowering branches and place around the room, or take bare branches and add “blossoms” made from scrunched up pieces of colored tissue paper and glued on.  Each den or family could also produce their own “mural” – their own version of Chinese painting, a Chinese landscape with poetry, or a collage of photographs from brochures about China obtained from a travel agent or Chinese embassy.

For Gathering Time as families enter, have them go to different stations:  Some ideas for stations –

*  Learning to say 5 words or count to 5 in Chinese; 

*  Playing a Chinese game;  

*  Hearing a Chinese legend; 

*  Making their own Chinese Dragon for a parade.

*  Pick an activity that the boys have enjoyed during the month, and use it for one of the stations. 

*  Let the boys display something they have done during the month at each station and explain it.

Contact the Chinese Embassy in any large city – they will send you brochures, pictures, sometimes even games and other information about their country-especially if you explain that you are a Scout leader – (This works for any country - I even got a large Korean flag!- Alice)

Check with local colleges or universities for foreign student groups or students from China – Invite them to come and share information about their homeland. (One time when I did this, the students made a special calligraphy of each person’s name, using ink and a brush – everyone was excited to take it home! They might also share a special food treat.-Alice)

Ask Travel agents for brochures from China.  They have them from countries all over the world.  See if the agents have been there or know someone who could come and share pictures and information about their travels in China.

Visit an Asian Museum – Look for information about culture or history you have heard about, or for art examples that you might want to try doing yourself.

Make a Chinese Dragon and have a parade  ~ There are several ways to make a dragon – For a pack-wide dragon, provide plenty of boxes – Families and boys can make a Dragon using the boxes – provide scissors, colored paper, markers, glue and tape.  The whole dragon could consist of a boxes, or you could make the head out of boxes and provide a long red plastic tablecloth body, with each section attached to the others with duct tape – Start your Pack meeting with a Dragon parade – Be sure there’s a camera to record the fun – and take a picture of each family peeking out of the dragon.

Each den, person or family could also have their own individual dragon – see easy directions under Crafts.  Everyone marches around the room to show off their dragon before the pack meeting begins. Play an authentic Chinese music tape and have people drop those little “bomb” noisemakers to make the sound of firecrackers.

Attend a Chinese New Year parade as a den or pack.

Visit a China Town if there is one in your area. 

During the month, have the boys draw Chinese quotes in Chinese script, and have them on display for the pack meeting.  (See for some great ideas and samples)

Make and fly kites to celebrate the invention of the kite in China. Be sure to go over the rules for kite safety under Wolf Elective #5a.  Check out the March 2007 issue of Baloo for "Baloo Skies"  There is along item on kites in the article.  Or go to The Big Wind Kite Factory,”

Gather or make some abaci (plural of abacus but abacuses is also acceptable) and let the boys try their hand at counting things.

Origami Flying Bird

Brenda, Last Frontier Council


A Square (4"x4" or larger) piece of origami paper.  Use different colors.  Construction or bond paper works, too


Watch video at

or check directions at

and make birds

Note to leaders -

It took me several viewings until I could make the bird.  Don’t expect instant success from video.  However, once you master the skill, I think you will be able to easily teach your Cubs because you will be both verbalizing the instructions and demonstrating.  And you can give them help as they do it.  CD

Parade Stilts

Sam Houston Area Council

Players make stilts by running twine or light rope through #10 cans or large tomato cans

See Wolf Book, Elective 7b.

Make sure rope or twine is strong enough and long enough for players to hold it comfortably while standing on the cans.


Chinese Juggling Sticks

Brenda, Last Frontier Council

These Juggling Sticks originated in China a couple of thousand years ago. The pompoms on the ends of them look like flowers, therefore the name for this toy translates into flower stick. The Juggling Stick is an empowering toy. Learning to play Juggling Sticks gives the player a sense of control that comes from mastering something that is challenging and fun.  (Think Cub Scout Core Value - Perseverance and CS Purposes - Personal Achievement and Fun and Adventure)  Also, developing concentration, eye-hand coordination and the stress relief that comes from rhythmic and focused movement. They are good for solitary or noncompetitive interactive play.



1 - 5/8" X 24" hardwood dowel for the baton

2 - 3/8" X 18" hardwood dowels for the handsticks

A couple of yards of colored electrical or duct tape (1/2" wide) - The more colors used, the more colorful the sticks!

1 roll -- Rubber tape (available at electrical supply or hardware stores).

Small standard roll of duct tape.

3 -- 4" X 12" strips of felt that will match tape colors or recycled material - (such as leather, jeans, fur or other thick material that would look nice around the ends).

1 container of  a permanent fabric adhesive


For the Baton

*  Find center of longest dowel by measuring. (12" from each end)

*  Wrap tape on either side of center and put a strip of colored tape around center.

*  Take the same colored tape as in center and, beginning from the outside center, wrap it around the stick in candy cane fashion leaving space for the width of rubber tape to also be wrapped around in candy cane style.

*  Wrap the rubber tape around in the same way, covering the dowel with alternating rubber and colored tape Do this from center to both ends.

*  Wrap duct tape on both ends in equal amounts for weight distribution (1/2 - 3/4 inch thick around both ends). Weighted ends are critical to may tricks.  Test the weight distribution by balancing the center on a finger.

*  Cut 1/2" wide by 3" long strips in the felt or material rectangles into as shown below. Do not cut all the way through.  The material rectangle must stay in one part. Using pinking shears makes the ends look more decorative. (My Mom has a pair of these.  I thought they were great fun when I was a boy.  CD)


*  Stack the 3 strips and wrap non stripped end of the felt or material with permanent fabric adhesive around the duct tape so that the strips flap in a flowery display.

For the hand sticks

*  Alternate colored and rubber tapes around 2/3 of smaller dowels in candy cane fashion.

*  Wrap Extra rubber tape around the end and at end of candy cane design.

*  For the other 1/3 of hand stick, cover candy cane style with your choice of colored tape.

*  Wrap a couple of extra times around the end.

For instructions on using these juggling sticks - do a Google search on learning Chinese juggling sticks.

Fortune Cookie Decoration

Brenda, Last Frontier Council



Tan felt

Yogurt lid (or similar size)

Black marker


Low-temp glue gun

Thin strip white paper

Black pen



*  Write a good fortune on the piece of paper with the pen. An example could be: You will find peace and happiness. (Note: Only the ends of the paper will show)

*  Trace around lid on felt with black marker.

*  Cut out the circle you traced.

*  Fold felt in half and crease by pushing down with finger.

*  Open felt. 

*  Put a line of glue around the edge of the circle.  Leave a gap near the crease where the paper will stick out.

*  Quickly lay the white strip of paper across the felt circle to one side of the crease, be sure to let the paper stick out on both ends. (see #1)

*  Immediately fold the felt over and press with fingers until glue sets.

*  Push the felt in the middle of the folded area (see #2) to make the felt puff up.

*  Then add some glue in the middle where the felt will meet when pushed together.

*  Push the ends toward each other and hold until glue sets.


Easy Paper Lantern

Brenda, Last Frontier Council

I remember making these in school!!!  CD


1 Piece of 9" by 12" +/- Construction Paper (You can also use bond or cardstock. But stay close to the 9" by 12" (or 8 1/2 by 11") size)






*  Use the ruler and make a straight line about 3/4" away from one of the 6.5" long edges.

*  Cut this strip off and set it aside to be the lantern handle. 

*  Fold the piece of paper in half, lengthwise.  Make sure you line up all the edges.

NOTE: If your paper has a good and bad side, make sure the bad side (the side that will be the inside of your lantern) is facing out at this point.

*  Draw a line along the open, long edge, of the paper, about 1" of an inch from the edge.

*  Take your scissors and, starting at the folded edge, cut a strip from the folded edge up to the line you drew.

*  Make the first strip about 3/4" away from a short edge and continue to cut several strips along the piece of paper like shown in the picture.


*  Once all your strips are cut, you should unfold your piece of paper and refold it lengthwise so the pencil mark will be hidden on the inside. 


*  Roll the paper into a tube shape as shown above

*  Staple or tape the edges together

*  Attach the handle by taping or stapling the ends of the strip of the paper you cut off the large sheet of paper, just inside the top of the lantern.  

*  Completed lanterns can be hung up or set on a table for decoration.

These lanterns are only for decorative purposes and should not be used near open flames such as candles.

Felt Snake

Brenda, Last Frontier Council


If you look closely, you can see the red snake wound around a red stick.  CD


Red felt,


Black marker,


Glue or tacky glue,

2 (6 mm) wiggle eyes,

Chenille stem (any color) aka pipe cleaner.



*  Lay the ruler on the long edge of the felt. 

*  Use your marker to draw a line the length of the ruler.

Note: When you cut the felt out it will be the same length and width of the ruler.

*  Cut the felt strip. 

*  Lay the chenille stem down the middle of the felt.

*  Put glue along the long edge of the felt and one end.

*  Fold the felt over the chenille stem, matching the long edges together.

*  Hold the felt together using clothespins.


*  Cut a piece of felt about 1/4" wide by 3/4" long.

*  Cut a "V" shape in one end (short end) to make the tongue.

*  Take the opposite (short) end and place it in the one end of the snake that you did not glue shut. 

*  Glue the tongue in place.

*  Glue the eyes on the end of the snake right above where the tongue is located. (see photo) 

*  Let glue dry. (Note: This may take overnight) 

*  Remove clothespins. 

*  Wind the snake around the pencil or object of your choice.


Make a Chinese Gift Packet

Brenda, Last Frontier Council

Instead of presents as in the West, the Chinese give gifts of money at Chinese New Year, weddings and birthdays. The money is usually placed in a red packet/envelope decorated with an appropriate symbol, greeting or lucky sign.  Red envelopes filled with money are called “hong bao.” Children are the typical recipients though adults with no job also receive them. Red is a lucky color that represents good fortune, good luck, happiness, and abundance.



sheet of red paper


Black or Gold marker (fine point Sharpie?)

paper glue.


*  Copy and enlarge the pattern to desired size


*  Print the pattern onto a sheet of red paper, (or white paper and color it red)

*  Draw a Chinese character on the rectangle bounded by flaps A, B, C, and D.  (To make your packet extra nice, use gold paint or a gold marker)

*  Cut out the packet and fold along the dotted lines, fold away from the printed Chinese characters.

*  Straighten the packet out, and turn it so you are looking at the side without the characters.

*  Now fold over flap A and apply a little glue along its right edge.

*  Fold over flap B and press it firmly onto the glued edge of flap A.

*  Apply a little glue to flap C and press it firmly onto flap B.

*  You now have your Chinese gift packet! Flap D is the flap of the envelope and a little glue can be applied to seal it- but don't forget to put your gift money inside first!


Chinese Garland

Brenda, Last Frontier Council

Each year the streets of China are decked with long, lacy garlands in honor of the New Year. Celebrate in your home with this version of the popular decorations.



Colored paper



*  Cut at least a dozen or more large circles from colored paper.


*  Fold each circle in half, then in half again, and finally in half a third time (it will resemble a wedge of pizza).

*  Perforate each wedge by making a series of snips from both sides toward the center.

*  Unfold the snipped circles.

*  Apply a few drops of glue along the edge of one open circle.

*  Place a second circle on top of the first, so that the edges stick together.

*  Next, apply glue to the center of the second circle and place a third circle on top of it.

*  Continue adding the remaining circles, alternately gluing the edges and the centers.

*  When the glue is dry, gently pull the top and bottom circle in opposite directions and hang the garland

Stamp Your Name

Brenda, Last Frontier Council

When a Chinese artist signs his paintings, he uses a carved stone block or chop to print his symbol on the canvas. To personalize his art or stationery, your child can make a decorative signature stamp out of Styrofoam and cardboard.

First, have your child write her initials on tracing paper, making the letters as ornate as she likes or incorporating them into a unique design. Next, place the paper printed-side down on a clean Styrofoam meat tray. Trace over the design with a pen, bearing down to leave an impression in the Styrofoam. Cut out the design, leaving a narrow border all the way around, and glue it onto a piece of cardboard trimmed to the same size.

For a handle, glue a tissue tube to the back. Then press the stamp onto an ink pad, and it's ready to use.


Shine Your Pennies

Sam Houston Area Council

In the Chinese New Year tradition, red envelopes are given to children containing brand new money. Make old pennies shiny and new with this science activity.


1/2 cup vinegar

4 tablespoons salt.


Dip in your penny and see what happens.

Another Idea -

If you would like to extend this activity, you can make it into an experiment.

Fill 4 bowls with the following ingredients and see what happens when you dip in a penny.

Bowl  #1:         vinegar

Bowl  #2:         salt

Bowl  #3:         salt and vinegar

Bowl  #4:         salt and water

Let the children hypothesize about what they think will happen.

Encourage them to use their skills of observation to describe what happens after dipping each penny in a bowl


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