Den Activities:


Newspaper Code

Use pencils or crayons of several different colors and a sheet of newspaper for each boy. Have each boy write a message with one of the colors by circling letters going from left to right and top to bottom. Then use the other colors and circle other letters all over the page so the real message is hidden. Exchange papers and have someone else decode the message.

Funny Grams Game

To play this game, the leader reads out ten letters of the alphabet, which everybody copies down. Each player then writes a funny telegram, ten words long, using the ten letters as initials. When all the players have finished, each reads aloud what he has written.

Example. N, R, O, B. D. E. R. H. F.

Nine Rats On Bobby's Porch. Does Every Rat Have Fleas? Or No, Robert, Our Beautiful Pig Doesn't Eat Roses. Have Fun.

Invisible Ink

You want to send a secret message, but you don't want the wrong eyes to read it. What do you do? For centuries, soldiers and spies have written secret messages in invisible ink. General George Washington's men used invisible "white ink" to send messages during the American Revolution. You can write invisibly with lemon, lime, or onion juice, or with sugar water. Use a thin brush or a toothpick. When the letters dry, your message will disappear. Hold the paper against a light bulb until the message reappears. Keep the paper moving so it won't burn.

Wrap and Read

Ancient Greeks used the first known device for scrambling letters. During wars, they sometimes sent secret messages known as skytales. The message sender first wound a strip of leather or heavy paper around a wooden stick. He wrote the message on the strip, unrolled it, and sent it.

With the strip unrolled, the letters made no sense. To read the message, the receiver had to wind the strip around a stick the same size.

You can make a skytale by wrapping a strip of paper around a pencil or a cardboard tube. Use small pieces of tape to hold the paper in place while you print your message. Short messages work best.


Communication With A Blind Person

How would you go about describing something to a blind person?  An animal for instance, one they have never seen.  Try this exercise; blindfold your den, give them each a pencil and a piece of paper, then describe to them an animal and have them draw what they think they hear.  Remove the blindfolds and see if they can guess what animal they have drawn.  Hint:  Don't use any key words.  Example:  if you are describing an elephant don't use the word trunk for his nose.

Secret Sounds

Use prerecorded sounds or have den chief produce sounds from behind a screen or another room.  Webelos listen as each sound is produced and then write down what they think the sound is.  Example: Sandpaper rubbing against something; a deck of cards being flipped into the air, a golf ball or Ping Pong ball, bouncing on a bare floor; bursting of a paper bag; etc.