Baloo's Bugle

March 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 8
April 2008 Theme

Theme: Abracadabra
Webelos: Sportsman & Family Member
Tiger Cub Activities


Fumble Fingers Relay
From How To Book, pg.2-42
Adapted by Alice, Golden Empire Council

Ask the boys what a good magician needs.  Accept all answers, but eventually get down to nimble fingers – no matter what other equipment a magician has, he must have nimble fingers.

Each team has a pair of large canvas gloves or mittens.  At the goal line is a canning jar, (or jar with a lid that has to be unscrewed), containing five toothpicks – one for each team.  On signal, the first Cub Scout on each team races to the goal line, puts on the gloves, removes the lid, empties the jar, picks up the toothpicks, then puts them back in the jar and screws on the lid.  Then he takes off the gloves and races back to hand them to the next player, who repeats the action.

Magic Trivia
Alice, Golden Empire Council

Use the information in the Fun Facts About Magic item in this issue to create a Trivia Game. For example: What unusual hiding place did a famous 18th Century Dutch magician use to hide his magic props?
                         Answer: His hollowed-out wooden leg.

Magician Match-Up
Alice, Golden Empire Council

Use the information in the Famous Magicians and Fun Facts About Magicitems in the Theme Related Stuff section of this issue to create a to create a matching game or Magic Concentration Game. Match the magician to his description.
Some examples are:

Magicians                                         Matching Facts

Harry Houdini                                  Comic Book Hero

Blackstone                                     Flew over Australia

Horace Goldin                            Used eclipse for magic

David Copperfield                Did 45 tricks in 17 minutes

Columbus                      Built statue to honor magicians

Ancient Greeks                            Has a Magic Museum

You will have to read the Famous Magicians and Fun Facts About Magic items to figure out the correct answers

Broom Sweep Relay
Sam Houston Area Council

Equipment: 1 broom, 1 balloon (inflated), and 1 plastic cone for each team

  • Divide your den or pack into equal teams.
  • Line up each team behind a starting line.
  • Place a plastic cone about 40 feet from the starting line for each team.
  • Give the first person in each team a broom and an inflated balloon.
  • On the start signal, the first person in each team puts the balloon on the floor and proceeds to sweep the balloon to the cone.
  • He circles the cone and continues sweeping the balloon back to his teammates.
  • He hands the broom to the next teammate and walks to the end of the line.
  • The next player sweeps the balloon to the cone, circles it and sweeps back to his team.
  • The balloon is to remain on the ground at all times.
  • If the balloon pops, the player must restart from the starting line.
  • The first team to have all players complete the clean sweep with the balloon is declared the winner.
  • Have extra inflated balloons on hand in case one should break.
  • This game can also be played outdoors – fill the balloons with water for some wild fun.

Number Magic
Sam Houston Area Council

There are lots of ideas similar to this floating around for fun with numbers where the Cubs will think you are a genius.  I like the ones where you wind up with your birth year.  Here is an easy one to learn and teach –

  • Think of a number.
  • Double the number thought of.
  • Add 10 and divide by 2.
  • Then subtract the first number.
  • The answer will always be 5.

Magician Tag
Sam Houston Area Council
This is a version of freeze tag.

The players run freely about trying to avoid being tagged by “It” who is the “magician.” When tagged, a player must stop instantly and may not move unless freed from the “spell” by being touched by a free player, after which he may rejoin the game and try to free other players. The aim of the magician is to render all the players inactive.

Sam Houston Area Council

Object: To conceal the Magic Key from the Magician. The clever part of this game is the teamwork!

All of the players except for one, who is the Magician, sit in a tight circle. The magician sits in the middle of the circle.

The Magician closes his eyes and counts to ten out loud while the other players pass the key around the circle, keeping it hidden in their hands.

When the Magician reaches ten he opens his eyes and, while the key continues to be passed, tries to figure out which player has it. However, the key needs to continue being passed. While one player is actually passing the key, the other players in the circle pretend to pass the key.

The Magician watches carefully until he is ready to guess who has the key. When the Magician calls the suspect’s name the passing of the key stops and the suspect opens his hands for everyone to see. When the key is discovered, the Magician changes places with the holder of the key and a new game starts.

I Spy
Sam Houston Area Council
I Spy is a version of Hide and Seek.

  • As in the standard game “it” hides his eyes at base and counts while the other players find hiding places.
  • Then “it” goes to look for the hiders.
  • Upon seeing a hider, “it” runs back to home base and yells out the hider’s name and location “I spy (the person’s name) behind the tree,” for example.
  • If “it” is correct, about both the name and the hiding place, the hider is captured.
  • To avoid being captured, a hider can run for home if he thinks he is spotted. If he gets there before “it” can say “I spy…” he’s home free.
  • This game is especially fun at dusk.

Sam Houston Area Council

Equipment: 2 quarters, 1 nickel (in SHAC Pow Wow testing a penny will work as well as a nickel)

Tell your audience that you have the ability to make falling quarters land the way you’d like them to. Stack the nickel in between the two quarters. Hold the stack between your fingertips, about 10 inches above your other hand.

Explain to your audience that when you release the bottom two coins (quarter and nickel), that they will change position in mid-air before falling into your other hand with the quarter falling last. You can say some magic words and count to three.

Keep hold of the top quarter and drop the other two coins. The two coins should fall into your palm with the nickel under the quarter.

Let the Cub Scouts try this and see if they have crazy quarters, too... Then they can go home and share this with their families.

Magic Toothpick Trick
Sam Houston Area Council


  • The magician shows a pan full of water with five toothpicks in the shape of a pentagon.
  • The magician takes his magic toothpick and dips it in the center of the pentagon. 
  • The five toothpicks fly apart, breaking the pentagon!
  • Someone from the audience says, “Oh, that's just what happens when you do that, it's not magic.”
  • The magician arranges the five toothpicks back into a pentagon and hands the person in the audience the magic toothpick. 
  • The person dips it in the center.  Nothing happens. 
    It really was magic!


Tinfoil pan (pie plate or Chinese food plate work well)


6 flat wooden toothpicks

The magic ingredient:  liquid dishwashing soap 

Away from the Audience - Preparation: 

  • Dip one of your toothpicks in liquid dishwashing soap.  Set it aside for now.
  • Make sure your pan is clean.  Rinse it well with water. 
  • Fill it quite full of water (but not so full that you're going to spill it).

In Front of the Audience - Preparation: 

  • Arrange the five SOAPLESS toothpicks in the shape of a pentagon.
  • Make sure the tips of the toothpicks overlap so your pentagon stays together.  This can be a bit of a challenge the first time you do it, so practice arranging the toothpicks at home a few times first and consider arranging them while the audience is seating itself.
  • Now, when the audience is settled, let them look at the pentagon.  They may have to stand to do this or you may want to do the trick on the floor with the audience around you in a U-shape.
  • Tell the audience that you've arranged the toothpicks into a special five sided shape called a pentagon and that you're going to cast a spell on the sixth toothpick to imbue it with some of your magical force so it will be able to break apart the pentagon.
  • Take out the sixth toothpick (the one that was dipped in dish soap) and wave your hand over it while chanting some magical words.  Close your eyes and frown a bit so it looks like you're working on putting your magic into the toothpick. 
  • Now, dip the magical toothpick into the center of the pentagon (Make sure you dip the soapy end in the water and try to get it as close to the center of the shape as possible -- the soap shouldn't be visible anymore).  The five toothpicks will fly apart.
  • If you have a non-believer in the audience, offer to let them try the trick.  Arrange the pentagon in the water again and hand them the magic toothpick.  Let them dip it in the center.  It won't work!
  • If the audience asks you to do the trick a second time, just tell them that it takes awhile to recharge your magical force.  You have to rest before you can put more of it into a toothpick, otherwise you could lose your magic forever!


Throughout history, a lot of 'magic' has really been science disguised with a few silly words.  This is one of those tricks.

All things (including water) are made up of tiny things called molecules).  Water molecules like each other and stick together (that's why when a bit of water falls on a table or window, it blobs together in a little droplet). 

The surface of the water has a layer of clingy molecules on it -- this layer is called the water's surface tension.  The toothpicks were nice and flat so they were floating on this layer.

Remember that we dipped the sixth toothpick in dish soap?  That's the real trick to this trick.  The soap molecules break the surface tension of the water.  This effect spreads out in an ever widening ring (like ripples in the water when you throw a rock in a lake).  The molecules originally holding the toothpicks break apart.  The molecules farther away from where you dipped the toothpick still have their surface tension (for a little longer) so they pull the toothpick toward them.  Of course, eventually the "ripples" of soap hit those molecules too.

Once the soap is in the water, the surface tension won't come back.  That's why the audience member couldn't recreate the trick.  It will only work once and then you have to clean everything up and use new toothpicks to do the trick a second time.  That's also why you have to be careful that your pan is well rinsed before you do the trick.

Rope  Trick
Sam Houston Area Council

Effect:   Holding a piece of rope, the magician places the ends of the rope into his hands and closes his fingers around the ends. The magician shakes the rope slightly, says a magic word, blows on his hands and drops one end of the rope. Magic! The end has a knot in it!

Supplies:          One long piece rope

Secret:   The rope already has a knot in one end... Tie a knot in one end of the rope. Hide this end with the knot in your hand and bring the other end of the rope up next to it. Shake your hand as if you're trying to knot it. Drop the end with the knot and it looks like you have tied a knot in the rope using one hand.

Magic  Water
Sam Houston Area Council

Equipment:      Empty 2 liter bottle, water, pushpin

With the pushpin, poke 3 holes about 3 inches from the bottom of the bottle – in a line about ? inch apart. Over the sink (or outside), fill the bottle with water. You’ll have three separate streams of water start to come out of your three holes.

Now the magic – Using your fingers, pinch the three streams of water together. When you let go with your fingers, the three streams of water will stay together. You’ve completed the magic and tied the water in a knot!

Why does that work? The atoms that make up a water molecule – hydrogen and oxygen – like to stick together. This is called surface tension or hydrogen bonding. That’s why the streams of water stick together.

Hare Hop Game
Capital Area Council

Active: outdoors/indoors.

Equipment: Per team:

  • 1 pair of rabbit ears (made from cardboard, cotton and wire attached to a hat);
  • 1 small balloon and 1 large balloon for each member;
  • Lots of string;
  • 1 chair for each team.

Formation: Relay.

Divide the group into teams of six.  Line up each team in straight lines at one end of the playing area.  Place the chairs, one for each team, at the opposite end of the playing area.

On 'Go', the first player of each team dons the rabbit ears, while his teammates blow up one small and one large balloon. 

One long piece of string is tied to the small balloon. 

The first player then ties the string around his waist, with the balloon hanging from behind, to represent his tail.

He hugs the large balloon to his tummy, to represent the fluffy underside of a bunny. 

Then, with his ears and his two balloons, he hops down to the chair, hugs the large balloon until it breaks, and sits on his 'tail' until the small balloon breaks.

When both balloons have burst, he hops back to the team where he gives the ears to the second player. 

The fun is helping each rabbit get 'dressed' and in cheering each bunny on.

The relay ends when all bunnies have lost their tummies and tails.