Send a coded message to remote island

Report Copyright Infringement View in OSM UK


To Teach the cubs how send a message using various methods. This one involves an activity at the end


String, Cardboard tube x2, Sticky backed plastic x2, Chair x2, Polesx2, bottlex2, code breaker x2, torches x2.


a game: e have got 4 cubs in the circle at the scout hut…. These are the islanders who have been stranded when Akela forgot them when she had to go shopping.

The other cubs are the mainlanders and they stand behind a shore line near the kitchen.

In between the islanders and mainlanders (cubs) is deep, shark infested water, patrolled by a fast motor boat.

The Cubs are given a bottle, a length of string cardboard tubes, a torch, selotape and two chairs, two poles. And they have to pass a message between the islanders and mainlanders without it being eaten by sharks or intercepted by the motor boat.

They have to work out how to pass a message between each other, it must be coded so that it doesn't matter if the message is intercepted.

If they put a message in a bottle - it will be intercepted by the boat or eaten by the shark.
They could use morse code (but someone on the boat may be good at morse code and intercept the message), but we allow them to use this method.

They could attach two toilet rolls (like in the shape of a figure of eight ( 8) ) to a piece of string so that the top tube moves along the string and the second (bottom tube) acts as a message carrier (roll the message on a piece of paper and put it in the message carrier). Throw one end of string across the gap to the other side and then attach each end of the string to a pole that can be raised and lowered.

To move the coded message between the two sets of people, one side (who wish to send the message) must stand on a chair and hold the pole up high. Then other side can then lower the string to the floor, which should allow the message carrier to move between the two sets of people and not be intercepted. They then have to decode the message. And send back a coded response.

So each team on either side can be split up into coders (code breakers) and the others can construct the message carrier system.
Don't step in with the solution straight away. See if they use morse code or try and float the message in a bottle.


  • challenge
  • code breaking
  • construction
  • message
  • teamwork

Badge Links

This activity doesn't complete any badge requirements