WoW! Loving water, and loving snacks just a little bit better…

We were introduced to the WoW: Wonders of Water journey last meeting, and this meeting we opened with a water cycle activity led by our Cadette helper. She set up stations of different water forms and the girls were each water drops that then traveled through the cycle. They loved the running around and it led to a good discussion on process. We have one little girl that loves to ask questions about how things work and why and I have to be careful because one answer always leads to another question or six, but I love her curiosity.

After that we talked about water conservation methods and earned our Loving Water badge as well as completing the the “save water” step for the household elf badge. Yay for multi-tasking!

For snack time, we started our snack badge, Jumping In and Making a Snack for Energy.

Snack for Energy! Apple slices with peanut butter and raisins. (Image found on Pinterest w/out link)

The snack was a HUGE hit. The girls had a blast trying to spread the peanut butter, as much entertainment as it was yummy (the trick is to scrape the peanut butter off on the edge of the apple so it sort of lays out on apple rather than spreading it around like you would on bread, it just slides around on the juicy fruit.) They all tried the raisins, though one opted to eat it it primarily without, and I’m pretty sure we found a new favorite for most of them.

Advertisements

Making Games and Money Manager

Hello all, whoever you may be, it’s been a while. Come, read my post and feel better about yourself as a mother and a troop leader! Sorry for the reeeaaaalllly spread out posts. Don’t know if anyone is actually following, but I’ll try to do better all the same. Regular updates would be soooooooooo much better, and a more reliable accountability tool as well.

The girls had a blast on the making games badge.

We actually took a field trip to a Butterfly Festival in October in lieu of one of our meetings. The girls got to learn about Monarch migration, butterfly life-cycles, and good bugs vs bad bugs, and there were face painting, games, arts and crafts, and a lot of fun. They actually completed the scavenger hunt requirement for games at the festival.

At our next meeting, we used random items found in the church storage closet to set up our own obstacle course for the party game, which the girls really enjoyed, but I think they enjoyed watching their leaders run it even more. Then our Cadette friend helped them change the rules to Tag, Mother May I?, and My Precious. It was hard to get them to move on. For a mystery game, we played a Disney character Who Am I? The princess version was a little too easy for the girls to figure out who they were, so the second round we widened the selection to any character, and that took a while a longer. Our brand new sport was a theoretical design as early November, after dark, was a bit too chilly to play outside, not to mention, you know, dark. Still, we recorded the rules and may play it some time this spring now that things are warming up.

We were supposed to start a journey following our first badge, but we didn’t have the materials yet, so we completed the Money Manager badge to pass the time. We did all of the activities using the paper doll in the back of the Girl’s Guide.

Here’s where you really get to start feeling good about yourself:

There are two meetings I cannot account for, in which I cannot recall how we spent our time. I wasted a month of our girls precious troop meetings. Granted, I’m pregnant and life is always hectic, and I know the girls enjoyed themselves regardless of whether we “accomplished” anything or not, but still, it nettles me. Also, I never not CoCo Mobile up and running for my daughter, so family out of state have no access to cookies. The worst, however, is that I never even remembered to bring the order form to work and lay it in the break room for people to write in their own orders. How easy is that to do? And all I can say for myself is “my baby drained my brain” and I just never grabbed it on the way out. Perhaps I’m lucky I remembered to take my daughter to school before heading to work myself, and yeah, she’ll get to sell cookies at the booth, and yeah, CoCo Mobile may still be available until the end of booth sales (don’t know, looking into it), but still, IT NETTLES ME!

So there, a record of my failings as mom and leader so you know, at the very least, you are not alone in your imperfections. YAY! We can be human together!

New Year, New Troop

So, a few changes were made. My co-leader for the Daisy troop decided her family just does not have the time or resources to stay in girl scouts. It was the best decision for them, and didn’t really affect us all that much anyway, since she was going to stay with the Daisies while I moved up with our only Brownie.

Recruitment didn’t go as well as some of us were hoping, and we didn’t get any new second grade Brownies, much less any with a mom willing to be my new co-leader. We did, however, have an existing second grade Brownie troop in need of a co-leader as one of theirs had just moved. They needed a leader, we needed a troop, so it worked out perfectly for everyone.5-9_PP_make-a-book_492x369

We had our first meeting together on Monday, and I think it went well. Two of the girls weren’t able to make it, but we had five there.

I started with a Brownie circle and introductions before going through some of the Girl Guide. We reviewed the promise and law,talked about how Brownies are all over the world, and I read them the Brownie story. Then we talked about what Brownies do. My co-leader and I had already purchased all the skill badge packs, and I had gone through them, along with the legacy badges, sorting out those that would make for good, complete meeting programs; those that would work best as independent, at home projects reported on to the troop; those that would make good field trips; and those that would be best split between meeting and independent work. So, after explaining badges and journeys to the girls, I let the choose what they wanted to start with. They were REALLY excited about getting to make decisions for the troop instead of just coming to meetings, so I think that’s going to work out well. We had one girl who wanted to do a journey, and three that wanted to do a badge. So, we decided to start with one badge and then do a journey, and that decision had everyone happy. So, next meeting, we’ll be earning the Games badge.

Choosing a troop crest a bit of an ordeal, but no one cried or got mad, so I consider it a success.

My co-leader’s oldest daughter, a Cadette, was there as well, and she was a real blessing. She played games with the girls and helped with the snack, and I really look forward to working with her as well. I think it’s going to be a good year, and I look forward to getting to know my girls better.

Between the Earth and Sky: Session Three

For our third and final session, we made a poster about how ‘YOU’ can protect our wildlife as our take action project, earning the girls their Clover Award. Together, with a bit of guidance, the girls came up with 1. visit local parks, 2. mind your weeds and seeds: stay on paths and don’t pick unknown wildflowers, 3. reduce, reuse, recycle, 4. conserve water and energy, 5. don’t bother wild animals, 6. garden with native plants, 7. keep the outdoors clean, and 8. learn more at worldwildlife.org, nps.gov, and tpwd.state.tx.us

I had printed off several pictures of endangered species found in our area of the country, including plants, as well as the state park and national forest nearby. (I don’t actually have a color printer at home, and I didn’t want to get photo prints, so I used Picasa to make collages of the pictures I wanted, about 4 to a page, and printed them at the library.) I did the lettering, but the girls had creative control of the layout and helped glue things in place. My daughter asked our local children’s librarian if we could display it at the library, and now we’re just waiting to see it hung.

take action: protect our wildlife

I don’t know how well this project would work with a larger group of girls, what with everyone needing to work together for a single coherent poster and all that, but it worked well for us and took about an hour and a half to put together. I think it looks very good, if I do say so myself.

Update: Finally getting around to adding pics of the library display:

I got the dimensions wrong, so our wonderful children’s librarian used one of her display boards to show it off in the reading area.

my daughter showing off a display she’s very proud of

Between the Earth and Sky: Session Two

Given our time constraints, we decided to cover the journey in three troop meetings with parents going through the book with the girls at home. In order to meet the award criteria, remain relevant to the journey, and to include a natural progression, I went from individuals (the parts of a plant and emotions) in the first meeting to communities (including ecosystems) for the second.

We began by talking about what an ecosystem works and how easily it can be disrupted. I brought the journey into by discussing the negative effects of yellow lupine, sweet-clover, and the positive effects of sunflowers mentioned in the story. It was fun to watch the girls realize how much they already knew about ecosystems after telling me in the beginning that they didn’t know anything. One of them has a small farm at home and uses their own chicken scat for fertilizer. For this part of the session, I printed out a sheet about Coastal Wetlands and Freshwater Wetlands of Texas, which I found through Texas Parks and Wildlife in their Keep Texas Wild archive.Keep Texas Wild

We then talked about how communities work together, each contributing their special skill, and how important that diversity is. We talked about the girls and what they were good at and what they wanted to get better at, earning their Firefly Award.

 

The Keep Texas Wild resource is definitely one I will return to. It has information on a number of nature topics as well as suggested activities that I will probably use more as I work with older girls, or at least I have more time for in depth attention to a topic.

Between the Earth and Sky: Meeting One

We took the first week of July off because it was the week before our community day camp, and the scout house was undergoing some much needed repairs. We met the second week, but we still only had two girls, so we sat, we had a snack, and we reviewed the Girl Scout law a little bit and talked about how all the lines really do seem to work together, and we talked a little bit about the new Journey we were about to start, “Between the Earth and Sky,” and I gave them their books before letting them play outside.

The third week we ended up taking off as well because we knew one of our girls was going to be out of town, and when you only have three, that’s a pretty big deal. We met last week, though, with all three girls.

We aren’t taking the time to read the journey together because I’m trying to fit this journey in before school starts, so I made sure our third girl got her book and that they all understood they need to read it it at home. Then I explained that this journey was about plants, but it was also about people, so we will be learning about how plants work together, but also how people work together.

We started by talking about the parts of a plant. I started with page 9 of the journey book, the picture of the Amazing Daisy the girls are supposed to label. I had the girls name as many parts as they could and explain what they were for, what they did. Together, the girls did a pretty good job, and I just explained with a little more detail. (My daughter had a lot of the answers from one episode of The Magic School Bus, love that show.)

Then we talked about the parts of plants we eat. I had meant to bring a snack tray with the various parts represented, but, already condensing a previously condensed journey plan, I skipped that and we just named as many as we could think of for each. They really got a kick out of that.

For the people part of the lesson, we talked about feelings. We talked about how we can tell what another person might be feeling, what we can or should do if we think they’re upset, and what we should do if we ever get sad or angry.

Finally, we made “feelings monsters.” We decided that if you don’t talk about your feelings and try to ignore them, they can get harder and harder to control and become little monsters that take over, so we should always try to talk about how we feel and why with the person who upset us, if we can, and if they don’t care (or if they’re a bully who wants us to be upset), we should find a parent or a family member or a friend to talk to.

(I got the idea from the blog eighteen25)

To make the little monsters, I gathered:

multiple yarn options
colorful pipe cleaners (or chenille stems if you prefer)
colorful beads
googly eyes
empty wooden spools
a hot glue gun

I left my small cardboard pieces at home, and I recommend you do not forget
cardboard pieces approximately 4” x 2”

The girls picked out two different colors of yarn and, since I didn’t have my cardboard pieces, I had them wrap it around their drinking cups until it was nice and thick. I didn’t have a set length of yarn to wrap, just kind of eyeballed it.

Then I clipped the yarn off, slid it from the cup, slipped a piece of yarn through the middle and tied it off so I had a nice loop of yarn, then clipped the opposite side of the loop from the tie off. After that, I kind of shook it out a bit, trying to make the tie-off a sort of horizontal bar across the middle, with the top flopping over it evenly. Then I hot glued that to a wooden spool and flipped it over so the bottom was the new top and shook it out, setting it down with the spool as a base.

Then the girls choose a pipe cleaner and took their second color and wrapped it around a smaller cup, and we did the whole thing again, only this time we laid the pipe cleaner on the yarn so it got tied into the bundle. This bundle was then glued on top of the other.

Then the girls chose two beads which were curled securely on the ends of the piper cleaners before they shaped the pipe cleaners how they wanted them.

I had intended to put the googly eyes in the yarn, with the spool only being a stand to make the monster sit upright on its own, but all three girls wanted the eyes put on the spool itself so that all the yarn looks like crazy hair. They got to choose between one and five (because one of the girls needed a limit before she would say how many she wanted) and I glued them on.

This craft was a big hit.

my daughter's feelings monster

my daughter’s finished product

We don’t have the patches in yet, but this lesson earned them the blue bucket award in “Between the Earth and Sky.”

Back-log 5: Our Garden Party – from June 28

To celebrate the completion of the “Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden” journey and the girls having earned all their petals, we had a garden party at a local play park. The girls got to play for a little bit while we set up and chatted (at this point is was just us leaders and one other couple), and then we called to the table. One girl finished her last picture to earn the “respect myself” petal, and another made her paper chain links. Once everyone was truly all caught up and done, we had a short little ceremony that was little more than me telling them I was proud of them. It wasn’t near as organized as our investiture and should have been a bit more than it was. Two girls had their petals already ironed on their vests and I presented them that way, the third received the petal patch packet. Only one of the girls had the daisy petal added to the journey patch already, and I had left my daughter’s at home, so it wasn’t a fancy or elaborate deal at all, but the girls liked it and they got to snack on a fruit tray we’d brought and play on a playground, so they were happy.

I also sent home their completed daisy flower garden murals. Just a reminder, I found the idea and most of the instructions for that wonderful project over at the OCD Girl Scout Leaders blog.

amazing garden mock up 2

my amazing daisy flower garden mock up

my daughter's amazing daisy garden mural

my daughter’s amazing daisy flower garden mural

Sorry for all the back logs, but summer is a busy time, and, frankly, I’m fortunate enough to get everything else done. This blogging thing really is so much easier to do on a regular basis than it is to catch up with…