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


Alice, Golden Empire Council

  • Look for a magic store in your area.  They may be willing to let your den visit and check out some magic.
  • Have each boy learn one magic trick really well.  Go over the rules about magic and discuss how to really be a showman.  Let each boy come up with his own name and costume. Encourage the boys to choose a spectacular name – alliteration makes the name seem grander (The Amazing Allen), or use descriptive adjectives, like The Marvelous, Mystifying, Magical Milton.
  • Boys could also make their own poster advertising their particular name and talents.  Display posters at the pack meeting, where each boy can give his performance. If you want to see some typical posters, go to, scroll down and click on posters
  • Find a local magician – check with pack members, or ask the local reference librarian.  There are often Magic clubs that have lists of local magicians.  Invite a magician to visit your pack or den and share some magic.
  • Have a Magician’s Challenge – parents pull out directions for a simple trick and have to perform it.  Boys could already have practiced some simple tricks to wow their parents and the audience.  In other words, stack the deck for the boys!
  • If the boys are going to perform, make sure they get lots of practice – and teach them the Rules for Magic and What to do if  the Trick Goes Wrong – under Theme-Related Material.
  • If there’s a performance in your area, take the den or pack to see it – check at for a listing of some performances;  also check with local Magic Clubs and in newspaper entertainment listings
  • Make magic kits for each boy – include some of the simple props and directions for how to do the tricks. 
  • Check at party stores or Oriental Trading online to purchase inexpensive Top Hats.  Make wands using directions in Program Helps.
  • Try out some of the magical recipes for den or pack refreshments.
  • Have a Magician’s Hall of Fame display at the Pack meeting – you could either feature actual magicians, or have each boy add his own poster. 
  • For some great magic trick ideas in books, check with your local reference librarian -  There’s even a Klutz Book of Magic by John Cassidy and Michael Stroud

More Tricks, Games, and Activities
Sam Houston Area Council

From Cub Scout Leader How-To Book-

  • Tricks & Magic – pages 5-49 to 5-58
  • How to hold a Space Derby – pages 6-29 to 6-31

Magic Wand
Capital Area Council


  • ¼-inch wooden dowel 12 inches long
  • Sandpaper
  • Glossy black paint
  • Glossy white paint
  • Masking tape


  • Sand the ends of the dowel to round them. 
  • Then paint about 2 inches on each end white. 
  • When it’s thoroughly dry, wrap some masking tape around the white where it meets the bare wood, and then paint the middle black.  (If you don’t have glossy paint, you can varnish the whole wand when you’re finished.  Also, several thin coats will look better than one think one.) 
  • Peel off the tape when the paint is dry and the wand is ready for your magic show!

Meeting Ideas
Capital Area Council

  • The boys can learn some simple magic tricks in their den meetings or at home and then individually or as a den they can perform their tricks at pack meeting for their families and fellow Cub Scouts.
  • There are many people who make magic their hobby and may be willing to come and perform their magic show at your pack meeting.  There are also some very professional magicians who charge a fee to come and do their magic shows, some of them are very good and do not charge a great deal of money.

Cents of Strength
Capital Area Council

Effect: Borrow a penny from a friend.  Toss it into your left hand a few times and then, using only your concentration and some bad acting, you open your hand to find that you have bent the penny!

The Secret

What you need:

  • A bent penny. (You knew that, right?) Just take a penny, stick it in a vise and bend it with some pliers.  You may want to wrap the penny in a cloth so as not to scratch it while you bend it. Bend it so that the coin is bent, but not folded in half. 
  • A set of keys or a lighter in your right pants pocket.

The Preparation:

Have the bent penny in your right hand inside your curled fourth and fifth fingers.

The Method:

Borrow a penny from a friend and pick it up with your right hand, holding it with the thumb, index and middle fingers, since the last two fingers are already curled-up (with the bent penny inside). This should look natural.

Now, you need to toss it into the left hand a few times, each time closing the left hand around the coin and opening it up. Do this twice. 

Next, execute the Bobo Switch. This is a wonderful utility move that you should know.  This will switch the bent coin for the borrowed one.  (The description of the Bobo Switch begins with the first toss above.)

Right now, the bent coin is in your left hand, so you need to do some acting here. First, we need to get rid of the borrowed coin that is in your right hand.  So, just say, "I'll wave my keys over my left hand."

What you do is this: your right hand, with its palmed coin, goes into your right pants pocket, drops the coin and comes out with the keys.  Don't make a "move" out of it; just do it. 

Then, wave the keys over your left hand. Now, your right hand is "clean", with no borrowed penny in it!

Now to the acting... just squeeze you left hand and look as if you are concentrating on that hand.  Sweat a bit, if you can.  Then, slowly open up your left hand and show them the bent penny.  Let them keep the penny and they'll be telling their grandchildren about you years later!

Invisible Vision
Capital Area Council
A neat card trick that's easy to do!

Effect: Have someone pick a card, look at it and return it to the pack.  You shuffle the deck and explain that you will use your special "Invisible Vision" to locate their card.  Going through the pack, you pull out one card.  It's their chosen card!

What You Need:

  • You need to get a pack of cards where there is a design on the backs of the cards. The design should be asymmetrical, that is it should look different if you hold it upside-down.  Cards with pictures on them are great for this trick.
  • Set up the deck to that all of the cards are facing the same direction.

To Perform:

Shuffle the deck. When you do this, you must shuffle them so that the cards are shuffled in the same direction.  That is, when they are shuffled, the backs of the cards stay the way they were when you set up the deck.  Any overhand shuffle will do.

Have your friend freely select any card.  Have him look at his card and remember it.

Note: how your friend is holding the card.  If he hasn't turned the card end-for-end, you must turn your pack around so that when he returns his card, it will be the only "reversed" card in the pack. (If he has turned the card end-for-end, just keep your pack the way it is.)

Have him return his card and shuffle the pack as before so that the cards remain facing the same direction. At this point, you have a pack of cards with the backs all facing the same way — except for one card. 

Fan the cards with the backs towards you. If you are looking at the backs and they are all pictures, it will be way too obvious to your friend that his card is the only reversed on there, so be sure he doesn't see the backs

Explain that you are using your "Invisible Vision" to locate his card, and when you see his card, pull it out and dramatically exclaim that this is his card.  Return it to the pack and shuffle it so that you do mix up the way the cards are facing.  Any riffle shuffle will do here.  This way, you can let the pack be examined!

Let's Do Magic - How?
Capital Area Council

Getting Started--Wear a costume, it makes the trick more entertaining and "magical".  Be sure you know what equipment you need for each trick, how to make anything special, and that it is in the right place.

Practice--each trick until you know it well!  Do it for your family or in front of the mirror.

Prepare funny and clever things to say while you are doing your magic.  Besides being entertaining, this 'patter' will keep your audience off guard.

Never repeat a trick! Save your best trick for last.

Keep your act just long enough to be interesting - if the audience gets restless, STOP!

Do not explain your tricks. Keep them guessing.

If you make a mistake - turn it into a joke. "Oh, oh, my magic hat is taking a break or a nap"

Upside Down George
Capital Area Council

Act – Fold paper dollar, unfold and George turns upside down. 

How –

  • Fold dollar bill so picture is right side up, fold in half, long way with picture inside. 
  • Fold in half again from right to left. 
  • Say magic words, unfold the bill from the back and from left to right. 
  • Lift up the last fold and George will be upside down.

Appearing Penny
Capital Area Council

Act – Look through a paper cup, see nothing.  Cover cup with hand, say magic words, move cup, penny appears from nowhere.


  • Paper cup with bottom cut out
  • Red circle cut from sheet of construction paper
  • Full sheet of same color paper.  You may wish to mount this on cardboard for stiffness.
  • Penny

How –

  • Prepare cup by cutting off the bottom,
  • Trace cup rim on red paper. Rim is top edge of cup
  • Cut out circle and glue on cup rim.  Make sure paper cannot be seen from outside of cup
  • When no one is watching, place penny on sheet of matching paper,
  • Put cup over penny with open end up.  Circle of red on cup rim covers penny. 
  • Hold up cup and sheet of paper.  Press cup tightly against sheet of paper.
  • Have people look into the cup and see nothing. (They are looking at the false bottom)
  • Say magic word, lift cup and penny appears.

Invisible Ink
Great Salt Lake Council

One of the best ways to send a secret message is to write it in invisible ink. There are several types of invisible ink.

Lemon Juice Ink: Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a small dish. Orange juice and grapefruit juice can also be used. Use a toothpick and write with it like ink.

Sugar Water Ink: Put half a teaspoon of sugar into a half a glass of water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Honey Water Ink: Put half a teaspoon of honey into half a glass of water and stir until the honey is dissolved and the water is clear.

Onion Juice Ink: Peel a small onion. Grate in into a pulp and let the pulp stand in a small dish. After several minutes you will see that part of the pulp has become liquid. It sinks, but this liquid makes excellent invisible ink.

Combination Ink: Slice a piece off the end of the onion and the lemon and squeeze out the juice (you will need about 4 drops of each) into a small bowl or jar lid and about 17 grains of sugar and stir with a toothpick until dissolved.

Write with the toothpick.

To reveal your message written with any of these inks, hold the paper carefully over a light bulb until the message appears.

Tips And Hints To Help You Become
A Successful Magician
Capital Area Council

  • Practice in front of a mirror so you can see the trick as your audience will. Practice lots!
  • Practice the “patter” as well as the trick. Figure out before hand what you want to say during the show. Good patter will help distract the audience just enough to keep them from guessing how you’ve pulled off your magical feats! Here’s a start for you:
  • I have a magic trick for you.
  • It should be lots of fun.
  • Pay very close attention,
  • And guess how it is done!
  • Resist the temptation to tell how the trick worked... keep them guessing and they’ll be even more impressed with your show.
  • Never do the same trick more than once for the same audience. It makes it too easy for the audience to guess how it was done.
  • Control the seating arrangements,  some of the tricks require that the people be looking straight at you. Have the audience remain seated throughout the show.
  • Wherever you can, borrow the objects from the audience... coins, pencils, napkins, etc. Borrowing from the audience makes it seem like the magician hasn’t had time to do anything sneaky to the item. This makes everything seem more magical!
  • Lovely Assistant: a lot of the card tricks (or any other mind reading type tricks) work well using a magical puppet or stuffed animal as your assistant.

A unique approach
(and a good way to battle stage fright)

Try putting on an entire show where you aren’t a magician at all... instead claim that you bought a puppet from an old gypsy woman and it turned out to be magic (you can make up a cool story to use as your patter). Have the puppet or stuffed animal “whisper” the answers into your ear. Having a puppet do all the work, may keep you from getting stage fright! I’ve included the puppet image on all the tricks that will work well this way.

Capital Area Council

  • Go Visit a Magic Store
  • Make invisible ink (using lemon juice) to send messages back and forth
  • Make Magic Wands
  • Learn Magic Tricks and feats of illusion

Matt’s Trick
Capital Area Council

Effect: A spectator picks a card out of a shuffled deck. You put it with three random cards, place the cards at the bottom of the deck, and shuffle. You take three cards from the bottom of the deck and ask the spectator if any of those are his. None are. These are laid on the table, one of the cards is flipped over, and the selection appears on the table.

How It’s Done:

  • Ask a person to shuffle the cards and then choose one card.
  • Have them give you the deck.
  • Take three cards from the bottom.
  • Tell the spectator to put their card on top of those three, then to place the four cards at the bottom of the deck.
  • Shuffle the deck, but be sure to keep the four bottom cards in the same spot. Shuffle the cards a couple of times.
  • Now take the first bottom card and place it face down on the table. 
  • Take the new bottom card and put it at the top of the deck. 
  • Place the other two bottom cards face down on the table.  The last card you put down is the spectator’s card.  Be sure you have that card at the top of the tabled pile. 
  • Set the rest of the deck aside.  Pick up the tabled cards. 
  • Square them up, and hold them so the spectator can see the face of just the bottom card. 
  • Ask if this is their card. They will say no. 
  • Lower the cards so they are in dealing position and quickly deal the top card (actually their card) onto the table.  If you do this naturally, without comment, they will think you dealt the card you just showed them.
  • Show them the top card from those in your hand, and ask if it is theirs.  Again they will say no. 
  • Lay this card on the table. Finally, show them the last card in your hand and ask if it’s the selection. 
  • When they say no, put this card onto the other two. 
  • Ask them what their card was.
  • When they tell you, use the other two cards (like a spatula) to flip their card face up on the table.  You have made their card appear!

Rope Trick
Capital 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.


Be sure to also check CS Program Helps for advancement possibilities for this theme.  They are listed in the individual sections for the Tiger, Wolf and Bear Dens  CD

Carol, American Elm District, Black Swamp Council

              Achievements                    Electives

Tigers –                                 6,7,14, 19, 20, 21, 36

Wolf –         2A, 10F              1B, 2A, 11A, 11C, 11F

Bear –    13G, 17B, 18C                  6, 13, 13D

 Alice, Golden Empire Council

Tiger Cub Achievements:

Ach. #3Fa  -  tell the story of Blackstone the Magician saving an audience of children from panic in a fire (Fun Facts)– then talk about how important it is to be prepared and calm as you plan and practice a family fire drill;

Tiger Cub Electives:

Elective #6  -  use one of the Magic songs; #14 – choose and read a book about Magic or a famous magician;  #16 – if your hobby is Magic, share it with your den;  #19 – learn the magic tricks;  #36 – watch a magician perform; 

Wolf Achievements:

Ach. #10d – read a book or magazine article about Magic; #10e – Check the TV Magic tab at to watch or listen to a magic program;  #10f – attend a magic performance with your family;

Wolf Electives:

Elec. #1b – use magic “ink” for a message; Elec. #2 – if you do a skit about Magic; Elec. #6b – if you choose a book about magic or magicians; Elect. #11c – learn and sing 3 songs about Magic;  Elect. #12f – make a poster advertising your magic act; Elect. #21a,b – Use a computer to get information about Magic and write a report;

Bear Achievements:

Ach. #3b – if you choose two famous American magicians; Ach. #9f – make a dessert from Cub Grub; Ach. #11e – tell the story of Blackstone saving an audience of children from a fire and talk about the need for being calm and prepared – then plan and practice a family fire drill;  Ach. #15c – choose a Magic game, such as Fumble Fingers Relay;  Ach. #17a – choose a Magic show to watch (see web site); Ach. #17b – do Magic Charades (Program Helps, pg. 10) Ach. #17d – use a computer to write a report on magic;  Ach. #18c – keep a record of your practices to learn magic tricks;  Ach. #18g – write about den activities preparing for the Magic Show at the pack meeting;  Ach. #22e – learn a magic rope trick; Ach. #24c – plan and conduct a den activity about magic;

Bear Electives:

Elect. 9a – make a poster to advertise your magic act for the Pack Meeting;  Elect. #13 – do the magic tricks;

Webelos Activity Pins:

Sportsman – practice good sportsmanship if you perform magic tricks

Family Member #5 – share the story of Blackstone the Magician saving a crowd of children from a fire (Fun Facts) and then help plan and carry out a family fire drill.

Scientist – Use optical illusions to perform a trick

Showman – prepare for a puppet show about Magic or perform as a magician