Welcome to Baloo's Bugle!


Back to Index
Annual Index
This Month

Special Opportunity
Thoughtful Items
Training Tips
Tiger Scouts
Pack/Den Activities
Pack/Den Admin
Fun Foods
Web Links
One Last Thing...

The Pack Meeting
Gathering Activities
Opening Ceremonies
Stunts & Cheers
Audience Participation
Closing Ceremony
Cubmaster's Minute


Write to Baloo (Click Here) to offer contributions, suggest ideas, express appreciation, or let Commissioner Dave know how you are using the materials provided here. Your feedback is import. Thanks.


Baloo's Bugle

December 2005 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 12, Issue 5
January 2006 Theme

Theme: Music Magic
Webelos: Fitness & Readyman
  Tiger Cub
Activities: Requirement #3


This would be a great month to create a band!!  There are instructions for homemade instruments in the Cub Scout How-To Book, one of my favorite resources. 

Also, I received a recommendation for the “The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Music,” by Kids Can Press (duh!). www.kidscanpress.com I bought one and it has a fantastic collection of homemade instruments and music to play on them.  There are some freebie samples from the book on the webpage, too.  Or maybe you want to hold a …

Talent Show
San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils

Why not put together a talent night for your den or pack?  I’m sure there is plenty of talent to show off in your group.  Boys can play an instrument or sing.  Others might want to perform magic tricks.  A few boys may want to team up and together do a song or skit.  Make a big deal out of it.  Instead of looking for the best performer, give each participant some type of recognition – at minimum a certificate or a badge made in the form of a star.

Silly Song writing

Southern NJ Council

Have the boys write new words to an old, well-known tune.  The theme should be suggested to them, perhaps a song about camp life, or about their city, town, or province.  Of course, it goes without saying that the boys will be expected to present their song at the first opportunity, preferably the next pack meeting.

Pipe Chimes

Steve from North Carolina who taught the Strictly for Cubmasters course I attended at Philmont this summer

Steve had us play the Philmont Hymn for the closing at PTC this summer.  We did great with only a little practice.  Your Cubs will love playing these things.  CD


20 feet of single wire electrical conduit (approximately $2.50 for 10’ stick)

Tubing Cutter - highly recommended for accurate, clean cuts

Time estimate - 1.5 Hours of assembly 


Big Picture – You are going to create 20 different pieces of pipe each of a specific length to produce a given note.  There will be as string tied onto each pipe for the musician to hold as he taps the pipe with a spoon held in the other hand.

  • Carefully measure & cut lengths.
  • Accuracy is important.
  • Tubing cutter is recommended.
  • Saws are not recommended.  Saws leave burrs.
  • A miter box is better than a loose hand saw.
  • Drill 1/8th inch diameter holes in one end of each chime.  Pull string through holes and tie.
  • Label chime (Sharpie Marks A lot).

Chime Dimensions:  (1/4 wavelength)

Length of Pipe                     Note               Chime #

13 5/8                    A                      0

13 3/8                  B flat                   1

13                          B                      2

12 5/8                    C                      3

12 ¼                   C sharp                  4

11 7/8                    D                      5

11 ½                     E flat                   6

11 ¼                       E                      7

10 7/8                 F sharp                  8

10 5/8                     F                      9

10 ¼                       G                     10

9 7/8                   A flat                  11

9 5/8                      A                     12

9 3/8                   B flat                  13

9 1/8                      B                     14

8 7/8                      C                     15

8 5/8                  C sharp                 16

8 3/8                      D                     17

8 1/8                    E flat                  18

7 7/8                      E                     19

7 5/8                      F                     20

Over The River 

Chimes Needed: - 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15

10  10  10  10  7  8  10  10  10  10  15  15  15  14  12  10

10  8  8  8  8  8  7  7  7   7  7  7  5  5  5  7  5  10

10  10  10  10  7  8  10  10  10  10  15  15  14  12  10

10  15  15  14  12  10  7  3  5  7  10  8  7  5  3

Chimes Needed - 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17

8  8  10  7  8  10  12  12  13  12  10  8  10  8  7  8

3  3  5  3  5  7  8  8  10  8  7  5  3  3  3

15  15  15  15  13  12  13  13  13  13  12  10

12  12  12  12  10  8  10  10  10  10  8  7

11  13  12  10  8  12  13  15  17  13  12  10  8

8  8  8  8  7  8  8  10  8  7

America the Beautiful

Chimes Needed: - 2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,12,14,15,17,19

10  10  7  7  10  10  5  5  7  8  10  12  14  10  4  5

7  7  3  3  7  5  2  2  2  5  5  8  8  7

3  3  3  2  2  2  5  5  3 

10  10  7  7  10  10  5  5  17  16  17  19  12  17  9  8

7  7  3  3  7  5  2  2  14  14  14  12  9  14

2  3  3  2  10  10  10  9  10

10  19  19  17  15  15  10  10  10  12  15  10  17  15  8

15  15  14  10  12  10  10  10  14  10  8  8  10

10  10  10  7  8  7  10  7

5  15  12  12  15  15  10  10  10  10  12  15  10  17  15

10  12  8  8  12  10  7  7  14  10

7  8  8  7  8  7

Cub Scout Spirit

Chimes Needed - 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19

10  12  14  15  14  12  10  19  19  17  15

10  10  10  7  15  15  14  10

7  7  7  10  10  8  7

16  17  15  14  19  19  17  15

14  14  12  10  15  15  14  10

8  8  8  8  10  10  8  7

9  12  14  15  14  12  10  19  19  17  15

10  10  10  7  15  15  14  10

7  7  7  10  10  8  7

17  17  15  14  17  15 

14  14  12  10  14  10

8  8  8  8  8  7 


Goofy for Cub Scouts
(Cub Scout Tuba, Bagpipe or Digeroo)

Darby, my daughter, who learned this from a PTC Cub Week faculty member.  Directions enhanced by Steve from North Carolina who taught the Strictly for Cubmasters course I attended at Philmont this summer.  CD


  • A long, fairly stiff, hollow tube (Paper, plastic, or most any material will work for the tube.  Larger diameters make for deeper musical notes.)  I like the plastic tubes in the center of the 36 inch paper used on the plotter where I used to work but a real stiff tube from any paper roll will work or make one by rolling a piece of poster board.  I have one made from a carpet roll, too!!
  • A latex glove
  • A straw
  • Tape (Electrical tape, duct tape, etc.  Masking tape may tear easily.)

Construction Instructions:

  1. Cut a few inches of the straw
  2. Put a pinhole in the end of the thumb of the glove (My daughter and Steve say use the thumb.  Reason becomes evident, below.)
  3. Push the straw part way through the hole and tape where the straw and glove intersect
  4. Take the wrist opening of the glove and stretch it over one end of the tube. 
  5. Tape the wrist end of the glove to the tube by wrapping tape around the glove's wrist and the tube.
  6. Grab the fingers of the glove and stretch the palm/ back of hand of the glove taut across the tube, sort of sealing the entire circumference of the tube with the palm / back of hand of the glove.  .  (The glove palm/back will make a “drum” over one end of the tube.  This “drum” will be the vibrating membrane, which makes the noise.)
  7. Holding the glove taut across over the opening, pull the four loose fingers up the side of the tube. 
  8. After you have successfully produced music, if you wish, use tape to secure the four fingers to the side of the tube to evenly tighten your “drum” / your tympanic membrane.)


Resting the top (open end) of the tube on your shoulder

Blow into the straw; you should get a tuba like sound

HINT - If you get nothing - 

Try readjusting the glove across the opening or change angle on the tube

Pencil Xylophone
Baltimore Area Council

A pencil xylophone doesn’t sound like a piano or guitar but it sure sounds like fun!!

If you like music but don’t have a musical instrument of your own, you can make this pencil xylophone that really works!  You’ll need eight wooden pencils, a pencil sharpener, corrugated cardboard, glue or tape, and an ice cream stick (two ice cream sticks if you’re real good).

For the xylophone support, cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard, about 4” X 10½.”

Poke eight holes, evenly spaced, along one long side of each cardboard, about l/2” from the edge.  Put the ice cream stick into each hole, and twirl the stick around in the hole, which will make it slightly larger than a pencil.  Make eight more holes on the other piece of cardboard, so that the holes from each cardboard line up together.

Remove the metal and eraser at the end of each pencil so you’ll be able to sharpen the pencil at both ends.  With an open scissors, make a ridge on the pencil at the base of the metal.  Run the scissors back and forth around the pencil until it makes a groove in the pencil.  Then break the eraser and metal off the pencil at this place.

Sharpen one pencil to each of the following lengths, sharpening at both ends and measuring from tip to tip; 6½”, 6¼”, 6”, 5¾”, 5½”, 5¼”, 5”, and 4½”.  These are approximate measurements for the pencils.  You’ll probably have to vary them somewhat.

Insert each pencil through a set of matched holes.  Start with the longest pencil and end with the shortest pencil.  Number the pencils, from “1” to “8”, making the longest pencil ‘1”.

Arrange the cardboard at a slight angle, as pictured, so that it looks like the ends would meet if the cardboard were a bit longer.  There should be 4¼” between the sides at the wide end of the xylophone and 2” at the short end.

Cut a piece of corrugated cardboard to fit the open space at end of the support, and tape or glue these pieces to the support, making the -xylophone look more like a finished musical instrument.  The ends of the pencils extend over the edge of the support, about 1” on each side, as pictured,

You’ll want your pencil xylophone to play the scale just right.  Using a file, nail file, or the sharp edge of folded sandpaper, file a notch into the center of the pencil if you need to lower the pitch, Sharpen the pencil some more to raise the pitch.  Play the xylophone by tapping pencils with ice cream stick or another pencil sharpened at both ends.

Try these melodies or write your Pencil Xylophone

Jingle Bells

3-3-3,/2”3-3-3, 3-5-1 -2-3,

4-4-4, 4-3-3, 3-2-2-3-2,5,

3-3-3, 3-3-3, 3-5-1-2-3,

4-4-4, 4-3-3, 5-5-3-2-1.

Farmer in the Dell




2-3-3-2-2-1 .

Mary Had a Little Lamb

3-2-1-2-3-3-3, 2-2-2, 3-5-5,

3-2-1 -2-3-3-3,

2-2-3-2-1 .

Row Your Boat

1-1-1-2-3, 3-2-3-4-5,

7-7-7, 5-5-5, 3-3-3, 1-1-1,

5-4-3-2-1 .

Baltimore Area Council

To make this banjo, use aluminum foil pans and cut tabs in the opposite sides of each pan.  For a better tone, cut about a 2” hole in the bottom of one pan.  Use this pan for the top of your banjo.

For the neck, place a strip of wood, about 2” wide, between the two pans (rims together).  Attach tabs to the wood strips by hammering in tacks.  At bottom of wood strip, hammer tacks in only half way for stringing wire.

Drill four holes at the end of the neck for golf tee pegs, File slits near tops of tees to keep strings from slipping.

Use wire, ukulele strings, or rubber bands for strings.  Fasten one end of each string to tacks.  Knot other end of string so it won’t slip out of slit in tee.  Twist tee to tighten string.  Vary the pitch of each string by tightening or loosening tee.

Rubber Band Banjo
Southern NJ Council


  • Box measuring approximately 4" square & 1" deep
  • Cardboard piece for bridge
  • Tape or gummed paper
  • Rubber bands of various sizes
  • Toothpick


  • Cut a hole and a slot to insert tab of bridge into in the cover.  (Fig. 1). 
  • Fashion a bridge from cardboard.  (Fig 2).  Make certain the bridge fits securely into the narrow slot and that the bridge stands upright.  Return cover to box and fasten with scotch tape or gummed paper.
  • Stretch rubber bands of various sizes over the entire box passing them over the bridge.  The smaller bands that are stretched more tightly over the bridge will produce the highest tones.
  • To play pick the banjo with your fingers or a toothpick.  Select simple tunes with which to begin your playing of the banjo; then go to work on the more difficult ones.

Bass Viola
Baltimore Area Council

Cut tabs at wide and narrow ends of a ham can.  Bend tabs out and nail them onto a strip of wood, about 2” wide, to form the neck.  String, as for the banjo.

Humming Machine
Baltimore Area Council

Cut a circle of wax paper 2” larger all around than the top of a foil pie pan. 

Place the circle on top of the pan and press excess paper down over the sides of the pan. 

Tape the paper onto the bottom of the pan at two opposite points only.

To play, place your slightly parted lips lightly against the hummer.  Hum a tune.  The paper vibrates to amplify your humming.

Baltimore Area Council

With a hammer and a nail, punch a hole in about 20 bottle caps.  String caps through holes punched a- round a foil pie pan.  Substitute bells for bottle caps, if you like,

Musical Package
Baltimore Area Council

A small package is wrapped in masses of paper and string.  Players are seated in circle and package is passed as music is played.  When music stops, boy holding the package tries to unwrap it.  No tearing or ripping is allowed.  When music starts again, boy holding package must pass package on around circle.  Game continues until one player is able to completely unwrap the package.  Small prize in the package is for winner.

Musical Handkerchief
Baltimore Area Council

Each player takes the name of a musical instrument.  The leader throws his handkerchief high into the air, each player being instructed to make the sounds of his instrument while the handkerchief is in the air, but to stop the instant it touches the ground.  Anyone who fails to stop that instant must sit out.  Then the game continues.  Last one in is the winner.

Baltimore Area Council

The boys sit in a circle and each one chooses the name of a musical instrument.  It is better to choose the names of instruments, which require distinctive motions to play, such as: bass drum, trap drum, violin, bass viola, piano, cornet, and others.  The leader starts the game by imitating the motion of one playing his instrument.  For example, if the leader’s instrument is the bass drum, he imitates one beating a bass drum.  Each other player must then imitate the motions that go with the playing of his instrument.

Whenever the leader desires, he may change his motions and start imitating the motions of any other player.  While he is doing this, all other players except the one imitated must switch to the instrument that the leader was formerly playing.  The one whose instrument is imitated must stop his motions and place his hands over his ears.  

Whenever the leader switches back to his original instrument, each player in turn must switch back to his.  Anyone who plays his instrument while it is being imitated, or fails to switch to the leader’s instrument when he switches to another, or anyone who fails to switch back to his own instrument when the leader switches back to his, must pay a forfeit.  Another version of this game is to have a player who has made a mistake become the leader.

Whistling Contest
Baltimore Area Council

The players are formed in a circle with a pile of folded sheets of paper in the center.  On each slip of paper is the name of a song.  The leader starts by taking one slip of paper.  The leader must whistle the song until the name of the song is guessed.  The player who guessed is next to pick a slip of paper.

Musical Advance
Baltimore Area Council

The group is divided into two equal teams, which stand in vertical lines both facing the front.  At the signal to begin, the last player runs to the front of the line, claps his hands over his head three times and sings the first word of the song named by the leader (both teams will sing the same song).  The next player in line sings the second word, on down the line of players.  The last player runs to the head of the line, claps his hands over his head three times and sings the next word of the song.  The team finishing the song first wins.

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils

There are a lot of sounds that come from homemade maracas.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started for all those sounds:


  • Paper cups taped together at the rim
  • Empty water bottles
  • Empty milk bottles
  • Film canisters


  • Rice; 
  • Beads; 
  • Sand; 
  • Pebbles; 
  • Dried peas.


Instrument Slide
San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils


  • Plastic musical instrument, approximately 1½”
  • 1¼” wooden square
  • Sheet music
  • ¾” PVC ring, 1” long


  • Craft glue
  • Hot glue/gun


Using a good copier machine, copy some music sheets down to “really small size.”  (If you can copy the sheets cleanly so that the whole sheet is about 1/8 normal size that would be good.)

Cut the sheet music to cover the top of the wooden square; glue in place with craft glue.  Using hot glue, mount the instrument onto the sheet music.  Mount the PVC ring to the back of the wooden square.

Household Band

Southern NJ Council

Your house is a house full of band instruments just waiting to be found for next month’s performance at the pack meeting.  Right now those instruments may look like ordinary pans, bottles, and tools, but a little work can turn them into music makers.

Some brown wrapping paper, a large bottle of white household glue, string, plastic tape, and rubber bands are needed to begin.  Next, collect a large wastepaper basket, the biggest ice cream carton, shortening can, or coffee can that can be found; an empty aluminum foil box, some hammers of different sizes, a few half gallon plastic bottles, some aluminum pie tins, some pan lids, soda bottles, and small frozen juice cans.

When put together according to directions, lots of unusual rhythm sounds will be found in the band.  If a Cub in the den plays a real musical instrument, he can carry the tune.  Otherwise, assign a couple of the best singers to the Funnyface Trumpets described here.

Funnyface Trumpets

Southern NJ Council

  • Cut the bottom out of round half-gallon plastic bottles, the ones with handles.
  • Wash them out carefully.
  • Fasten thin aluminum pie plates over the cut out section with strips of tape, as shown,
  • Paint bold grinning faces on the pie plates.
  • Play by humming strongly into the neck of the bottle.
  • They make a loud, rattly, kazoo sound.


Southern NJ Council

Drums of any size and sound can be made by covering old wastebaskets, cartons, or large cans with two pieces of heavy wrapping paper glued together with white glue. Stretch this “skin” tightly over the basket or can and tie tightly in place. Now paint the whole thing with another coat of white glue, and let the drum dry overnight. Long pencils or dowels may be used for drumsticks.


Southern NJ Council

Use the same method as for the drums. Cover one end of a frozen—juice can and let it dry. Add a handful of small gravel, dried beans, or beads. Cover the second end and allow it to dry.  To play, just shake the can.


Southern NJ Council

  • Tear the top off the empty aluminum foil box.
  • Cover the box with colored construction paper.
  • To play, scrape the saw-toothed foil-cutter with a heavy metal cooking spoon.
  • They’re loud, and only one is needed.

Seashell Wind Chimes

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils

The Seashell wind chime will make a lovely sound when the wind blows through it.  Materials:

  • 8 seashells (from the beach or craft supply stores)
  • 1 plastic coffee can lid
  • Yarn scraps
  • White glue
  • Sharp pencil/paper punch


    • Glue each shell to the end of a short piece of yarn.  Use liquid white glue.
    • Let dry overnight.
    • Punch eight holes equally spaced on the top of a plastic coffee-can lid.  Use a sharp pencil or a paper punch.
    • Hold the lid with the rim facing up.  Push the eight pieces of yarn through the eight holes of the underside of the lid.
    • Tie the end of each piece of yarn in a large knot.  Make the knot bigger than the hole so the yarn will not slip through.
    • Punch two more holes on opposite edges of the lid.
    • Push one end of a large piece of yarn from the top of the lid through one hole.  It should come out on the underside of the chime.
    • Tie a large knot.
    • Push the other end of the yarn through the other hole and knot it.
Hang the chime on the branch of a tree or in your window.


San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils


  • Three feet of clear flexible tubing 5/8” to 3/4” inside diameter
  • 8” funnel
  • Tape


Push one end of the funnel into the piece of tubing and secure with tape.  With lips together, place free end of tubing to your mouth.  Force air between lips to make a buzzing sound.  Be sure to clean thoroughly after each music session.

Silly Kazoos

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils


  • Paper tube roll (use paper towel roll cut in half)
  • Rubber band
  • Waxed paper
  • Pencil


  • Cut a piece of waxed paper a few inches larger than the tube roll opening.
  • With a rubber band, secure the waxed paper over one end of the tube.
  • Using a pencil or pen, punch a hole about 1” from the covered end.
  • Hold the open end of the kazoo around the outside of your mouth and hum your favorite tune.
Decorate your Kazoo with paint or construction paper.

Bass Fiddle

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils


  • Coffee can
  • Mop or broom handle
  • String
  • Heavy tape


Punch a hole in the bottom of the can.  Thread string through hole and secure on the inside.  Tie other end of string to end of broomstick and secure with tape so it does not slide down.

To play it, put one foot on the can to hold it in place.  Rest the end of the broomstick without the string on the coffee can or on the floor.  Tilt dowel back until the string is tight.  Then pluck it.

Jingle Bell Gloves

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils

Materials:  Stretchy kind of children’s glove and five small jingle bells.

Instructions:  Take stretchy glove and sew a jingle bell to end of each finger.


San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils

  • Get a plastic bleach container (rinse well). 
  • Saw it off just below the handle.  
  • Use the bottom for the drumhead. 
  • Drum using fingers or dowel stick.
  • Variation: Use an oatmeal box.

Bottle Xylophone

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils


  • Eight soft drink bottles:
  • Five 12 ounce size
  • Two 16 ounce size
  • One 10-ounce size.


  • Make a hanging stand. 
  • Hang bottles by their necks
  • Tune by pouring water into them. 
  • After tuning the bottles, mark the water level for easy refilling. 
  • Use a knife handle for playing.

Homespun Band

San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach, & Verdugo Hills Councils

Have each boy bring a tool (screwdriver, saw or hammer, kitchen pan or utensil).  Divide into dens and give them each a song (one verse and chorus).  Give each den about ten minutes to “practice” with their instruments.  They need to use each item that was brought as a part of their band.

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

Materials found at the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Website 1997-2005 may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA and does not speak on behalf of BSA. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors.