Thursday, November 14, 2013

SWAPS Interlude Part III


I'm taking another quick break to share the SWAPS our girls made for the Core Camp we went on at the beginning of October.  I wasn't completely thrilled with how these ended up looking, but I can't imagine the girls enjoying making SWAPS more and for that alone, I'd make them again.

The basis if these was a simple salt-dough cut into fall and halloween shapes.  We experimented with different ways to color the dough and added glitter for sparkle.  Unfortunately, the colors faded considerably as the dough dried out, so in the end the girls colored them with sharpie anyway.  

Fall Salt-dough SWAPS

Finished SWAPS

Supplies (to make them exactly as we did.  Not all are necessary.)
1.  Sack of flour
2.  Box of Salt
3. Water
4.  Glitter
5. Food coloring
6. Paint
7. Small cookie-cutters

Wilton's mini-cookie cutter fall set
9. Rolling pin
10. Bowls
11.  Wax paper
12. Toothpicks
13. Twine
14. Pony beads 
15. Sharpies
16. Safety pins
17.  Paper tags 

Group Activity (we did this for four girls).
Do this at least 1 week before you need the SWAPS.

1.  Make the salt doughs:  The ratio is approximately 2 parts flour to 1 part salt to 1 part water.  Because we added different things to make them colorful and sparkly, I never measured the water, just added it until it was the consistency I wanted.  Each of the girls mixed up at least one batch by themselves.  I had one ready to show them when they arrived.  

The girls mixing up the salt dough
Yes, I recommend mixing it by hand

We made several salt-dough variations:
    a.  Silver white - we added white and silver glitter to the flour and salt.
    b.  Black- before adding the water we added black tempera paint to the flour and salt and mixed it until we got a black,( the consistency was really sticky) then we added the water.
    c.  Orange- we added orange glitter to the flour and salt, and orange food coloring to the water before adding that.
    d.  Brown-  we added brown glitter and cinnamon to flour and salt.  Once mixed we used brown tempera paint.
    e.  Red- same as orange
    f.   Yellow- same as orange
    g.  Green- same as orange

2.  Make Marble dough for the fall leaves:  Combine several fall colors into a ball and roll them out to cut out leaves.

Marbled dough
Dough Rolled Out

3.  Roll out other doughs:  We had the four girls each roll out one dough but after using that dough for 5-10 minutes they would rotate to the next dough, so they each were able to use each color and no one got bored.

Dough for ghosts and sculls
Dough for black cats, haunted houses and witches hats

4.  After transferring the shapes to cookie sheets use toothpick to make a hole to tie string on for later.  Some of the girls also carved on faces and designs on some of them.

5. We used the extra dough to sculpt ghosts and pumpkins.  We didn't use those for swaps but you could.

6.  Dry the shapes:  We had too many cookie sheets to dry all the shapes in oven.  To dry them completely they would have likely taken ~5 hours each at 200F.  Instead, we did  1-2 hours at that temperature.  This dried out the top and sides completely, then we put them aside for a day or two to finish drying out.  With no baking at all I would give a minimum of 5 days to dry.  

Ready for oven

Individual Activity (or how me and my daughter finished ours up)
1.  We had the girls divide up the SWAPS amongst themselves to bring home and finish.
2.  I had my daughter decorate hers with my vast sharpie collection anyway her heart desired.
3.  Using black twine and a large beading needle I threaded each SWAP and knotted it on top.
4.  My daughter put a bead on the top. 
5.  I knotted it again and put in a pin.
6. I printed out little tags with the date and troop number (my daughter likes tags) and she wrote her name (just first name) on the back.
7.  I pinned on the tag

Ta da!
One of my 6 year-old's ghosts
An apple with a worm in it
My daughter's version of a "spooky" skull
Leaves decorated in various ways
Our more "spooky collection."
A purple acorn, a pumpkin and a apple with a smiley face carved into it.
Same leaf three ways.  Top one has sharpie outlining the colors from the marbling,
 right one with a visiting ladybug, and bottom one without any decoration.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Using Resources Wisely Field Trip

I Saturday in late April  2013

On researching Field Trips I learned that many local parks and historical sites offer programs to complete badges.  There are a ton of options for older girls, but we were able to find two that we liked to complete our last two petals.  This one wasn't my favorite, but at $5 a girl it was an affordable and interesting way to earn their Using Resources Wisely Patch.  The grounds were beautiful and it was definately  different from anything else we had done before.

Handout we sent home with girls two weeks before the Field trip

Goal and Badges:        

We did everything we needed to do to earn the Green "Using Resources Wisely" badge, though we did a few small things in the next two meetings to finish up the lesson.  We also wanted to get fun patches from Sully Historical Site, but they were $5.  Ugh.  Way to rich for even our indulgent blood.

* * * * * * *

Sully Field Trip Itinerary

9:15. Meet and my house and make Garbies

9:30 Begin Traveling

10:00 Arrive at Site and read Daisy Handbook Story

10:30 Tour/Using Resources Wisely Activity

11:30 Picnic Lunch

12:00 Travel back

12:15 Pick-Up

* * * * * * *

Gathering Activity

I was searching the Internet for songs that would go along with the "Using Resources Wisely" Petal and I found this one:

He's My Garby

(To the tune of "It's My Party")

He's my Garby,
I'll reduce ‘cause I want to,
Reuse ‘cause I want to,
Recycle, I want to,
Please do it too,
He'll be proud of you.

I thought it was super cute, but I couldn't figure out who Garbie was, so I decided we were going to make him.  All the girls were asked to bring an old, used sock (preferably Dad's so it was a good size) and while the girls arrived they made their own "Garby" puppets.  We thought them the song later in the day and they preformed it with their puppets at the finial celebration.

Our Garbies


Sully Historical Site is a 19th century well-to-do farm house, out-buildings and grounds.  When we got there we had to walk across the grounds (it was a beautiful day).  We lined up the girls and taught them Garby, singing it was we walked across the property.  

Sully Farm House

Snack and Story time:

We had all the girls bring a packed lunch made from left-overs (using resources wisely, get it?) for after the tour and I bought a bag of apples for before the tour.  Our little group stopped under a tree in front of the farm house, we handed out the apples and allowed the girls to drink from their water bottles while we read the girls the "Using Resources Wisely" booklet.

Using Resources Wisely Story from Handbook

After, we talked about the story a little (bribing them with coins to pay attention) and about how they, personally, could use resources wisely.  Luckily, this lined up perfectly with Earth Day and the girls had talked a lot about recycling and such in school and were eager to share.

Then I had the girls search for clover in the field and see if they could find clover flowers.  They enjoyed this quite a bit.

The tree we ate under
Searching for Clover


Tapestry on the wall of the meeting room

The tour began in the beautiful front room.  Our tour guide was dressed authentically as the lady of the house.  She began by showing the girls the candles they used in the early 19th century as the only way to light the house at night.  She emphasized how precious the beeswax was and how careful they had to be to use as little as possible.

The house tour was given with a emphasis on how they had to Use Resources Wisely to survive in the 19th century.  Things like keeping the doors closed to keep the heat in rooms and sharing beds to share heat.  They did all their sewing in the rooms that had good natural light so no candles had to be used.  The tour guide showed the girls shoes that could be used on the right or left foot so that they could use them longer, since the shoes wore differently on each foot.  They were shown lady's and little girl's under things and dresses.  We were told that even this relatively wealthy family only had about 3 dresses each and showed how rows were added to the end of the girls dresses so that they could be worn for many years as they grew.  They even had a set of marbles the  children made from the virginia clay soil we have so much of.  

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how well my 6 and 7 year olds paid attention.  Most of their questions were stories from their own life, which seemed to frustrate the tour guide after a while, but if you deal with this age a lot you probably know it's pretty on par for their age. 


The girls all packed their own lunch (it was supposed to be from left-overs) and after the tour we walked further into the grounds where they had some picnic tables.  They ate and ran around.  Since it was a beautiful day, we just let them have fun until it was time to pack up and go home.


This was our main day for the Green Petal, so we handed out the Using Resources Wisely handout as homework.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Daisy Scout Meeting Twelve

Note about this blog:  So it it turns out blogging at an insanely detailed level kinda takes a lot of time.  It also turns out I've got a crazy-full life.  Did I mention I work full time, have two kids, friends and a husband.  My poor husband.  Anyway, the point being these blogs are probably going to be further apart for awhile since I'm spending my "free to indulge my OCD time" planning for this current years Girl Scouts. I'm stealing a little free time now since the last weekend of the month is generally Girl Scout free (Or at least we have a week off from planning).

The first week of April marks the end of cookie season so I was going to make my next blog a cookie blog.  Unfortunately I don't feel particularly cookie inspired so that blog will have to wait until I am and I'm just moving on the next meeting for now.

Daisy Scout Meeting Twelve
First week in  April 2013

Goal and Badges:        

Finish Magenta "Respect Authority" Petal and start working on Violet "Sister to Every Girl Scout" Petal.  (Yes, at this point we stopped doing the petals in order.  This was actually the last petal we did on our own.  We did Field Trip Programs for "Using Resources Wisely" and "Making the World a Better Place."

* * * * * * *

 Arrival:   Gathering- 1- Violet petals
2-  Draw a picture of favorite person in charge

4:10         Daisy Circle- Promise/hello in Greek

Authority Web

Water team garden

Talk reward system and rules

4:20         Read Vi’s Story


               Discuss being a sister to every Girl Scout

4:35         Daisy Friend Project

5:00         Vi craft/ practice manners and Daisy Handshake

5:15         Switch

5:25         Closing Circle

* * * * * * *

Gathering Activities

Violet Petals
The first thing we had the girls do when they arrived is dip their violet petals in watered down white paint so they could dry before the Vi project.  (See project details later in blog).

Draw a Person in Authority
After the girls finished with their petals and we put them aside we had each girl draw their "favorite person in authority."

Daisy Circle:

The Promise Leader led the Promise and we sang our Amazing Daisy and Planting songs.  After that, I told the girls that we would be finishing up Gerri the Geranium and starting Vi the Violet who both had origins in Greece.  I played them a recording I had downloaded of how to say "hello" in Greek and well took turns repeating this.  It was fun because it was so foreign to everyone.  (The Journey Book has a different language for this week, but Greek made more sense to me because of the flowers we were doing.  Also, I'm a control freak and need to do it my way).

Audio for "hello" in Greek

Authority Web

After going around with the hellos we decided to try something called the "Authority Web".   I got a ball of yarn, held one end and threw it to one of the girls.  That girl needed to say who she drew as her "favorite person in charge."  Then she held a piece of string and threw it across the circle to someone else who said her person and so on and so worth until everyone had had a turn and we'd created a giant yarn web.  At the end, we pointed out that everyone in the community was connected like a giant web, coming together to work to protect us all.

This was certainly more fun then just going around the circle again.  I'm not sure if the girls got the profound meaning of it all, but that may have been because their "favorite person" was generally their mom or teacher (or us), which didn't quite give the community feel, like a fireman or police officer might.  It might work better if it was phrased differently.  Or maybe they got it as well as any group of 5/6 year-olds was going to get it. Who knows.

Example of web from on-line

Respect Bucket

If you read my last blog you'll probably remember that we had some issues with our girls being chatty and disrespectful during story time (it doesn't help that the Girl Scout stories aren't the most engaging stories.  Amazing artwork.  Blah story).  Well, after the last meeting we racked our brain to find ways to help them behave.  What we came up with was The Bucket of Respect.

I found an old Easter bucket and the plastic coins we had left over from the "Brave Olympics" and the Red Petal.  We told the girls that every time they were respectful to themselves, each other, or us they would get a coin to put in the bucket.   When the bucket was full they would get a special surprise.   This was not a competition, but a team sport.  Only by working together as a team would they get enough coins to fill the bucket.

This time, when my Co-Leader read the story I went around and handed each girl that was behaving a coin.  Worked like a charm.  We kept it going through the end of the year and they earned a "Water Party"  with an enormous 50 foot slip and slide in my backyard in July.  Definitely a success.

Our Bucket of Respect, almost full

Snack and Story time

When my co-leader read the Story "Friends Around the World" the girls sat up straight with their hands folded as they watched me and my coins out of the corner of their eyes.  They ate their snack and waited until the story was over to ask for more.  After we discussed the story and what is meant to be "sisters" to each other.

Daisy Sister Project

This is one of my favorite projects we did.  I was quite proud of it.  It took more time than I had anticipated (and we skipped a game that I planned for after) but it was worth it!  In this project we had each girl write one nice thing on a petal about for every girl in the troop.  Later I collected all the petals and glued them around a picture of each girl to create a Daisies Garden with all the things the girls like about one another.

Finished Project, purposely blurry to protect the innocent ;)

1.  Petal Template:

2.  Construction paper- a different color for each girl.
3.  ~3" circle photo of each girl.
4. At least two copies of a list of positive attributes for the girls to use as a "word bank."

  Notice none of these have anything to do with appearance.

5. Markers or pens (I, of course, love my sharpies), 1 per girl.
6.  Poster-board (I used two glued together) or mural paper.
7.  White envelopes.
8.  Glue.
9.  Anything else you want to use to fancy up your garden. (I used cricut shapes, green sharpie, and glitter glue.)

Pre-meeting Prep:
1.  Cut out petals.  Each girl needs to have one petal per girl and one for each leader.  (We had eight girls and two leaders so I cut out 10 petals per color).
2.  Place each set of petals in a separate (unmarked) white envelope.
3.  Cut out Photographs of each girl.

1.  Each girl picks a plain white envelope and writes their name on the back.  That way they don't fight about the color petals.  They get what they get.  Then recollect the envelopes.
2.  Leader picks an envelope at random and gives each girl and each leader a petal.  The girl whose envelope it is goes into the other room with one of the leaders to chose a word for themselves and so they will be surprised later.
3.  Have each girl pick a positive attribute to put on the petal. (My girls started to get over-excited and by the end they were putting down 2-3 words.  I didn't discourage this. )
4.  Collect all the petals and put them back in the labeled envelope.
5.  Repeat with each girl.
6.  After meeting, assemble garden to display later.

The girls really loved this activity.  They loved that they got to go into another room and make one for themselves and they loved making the petals for their friends.  I didn't have one incidence of meanness or of a girl having trouble finding a positive word.

Close Up

I wanted to have the whole project ready to display for our Tea Party the next week, but one of our girls was absent.  I sent home for her a petal for each girl, but it wasn't back in time, so, instead, I had the poster ready for the final celebration.  The downside of that is that the excitement about the poster had waned a lot. I wish I could have had it ready for the next time they met and maybe left space to add the absent girls' later.

Vi the Violet Project

Vi was a easy and straightforward flower to make.  I added the dipped petals and felt leaves to mix it up a little.

My Vi

1.  Pictures of real violets. (I also had a real African Violet plant)

2.  Purple cardstock.
3.  Dixie cups.
4.  Washable white tempera paint.
Small paper plates.
6.   Petal templates.

7.  Dark green felt.
8.  Leaf template.

9.  Red and/or pink sharpie.
10.  Glue.
11.  Stapler.
12.  Googly eyes.
13.  Green pipe-cleaners.

Pre-meeting Prep:
1.  Use leaf template to cut out two leaves per girl from green felt.  (Like with Gerri, I made the template from printing out a picture of a leaf, gluing it onto an old manila folder, and cutting it out.)
2.  Cut out five purple petals per girl  from cardstock (and maybe a few extras just in case).
3.  Cut pipe-cleaners into 1/2 ( one per girl) and 1/4 (two per girl) lengths.
A Scout's Vi
4.  Lay out at each girl's spot a paper plate with their name on it and five petals.  In the center of the table lay out 2 dixie cups filled half way with equal parts white paint and water.

1.  As the girls come in and take their seats, show them how to dip the pointy, middle part of the petals into the paint.
2.  Place the dipped petals on the paper plate to set aside for later.

Later in meeting:
1.  After splitting girls into two groups, have them get their garden poster and begin gluing down the longest pipe-cleaner for the stem and the two smaller for the leaves.
Another Scouts' Vi
2. Place real violet plant in the center if you have one.  Have leader go around and staple down the stems as the girls pass around pictures of real violets.
3.  Have the girls assemble the petals into a flower and glue down.
4.  Girls glue leaves at end of branches.
5.  Girls glue on googly eyes and draw on mouth.

Practice being a Hostess

While my half of the girls were making Vi the Violet with me, my Co-leader was working with the other group on how to greet people when they came to the upcoming Tea Party the next week.  They practiced the Girl Scout Handshake and welcoming their Brownie guest.

Closing Circle: 

We did the Friendship squeeze and we reminded the girls about the Mother-Daughter Tea Party coming up and how we had guest Girl Scouts coming who we needed to welcome and treat as sisters.

The girls had the usual handout for "Being a Sister to Every Girl Scout" and were asked to read chapter 4 in the Daisy Flower Garden Journey book before the next meeting.  They were also given paper flowers to decorate so we could put them up at the party.