Friday, June 21, 2013

Spending Money Wisely Field Trip

January 2013

We held this Field Trip on a Friday, during the day, on a Teacher Work Day. It lasted three hours, but unlike the last event didn’t feel over long. I’m very proud of this event. I think it worked beautifully to teach the girls about money and budget making. They were engaged and excited and it ran pretty smoothly.

Overall, the idea here was the girls were going to budget and plan their own meal in small groups. They took the money out of the bank, shopped for ingredients in the supermarket, then came home and prepared the meal themselves. We did this in small groups. Along the way they had a tour of the bank and learned about saving money on a large and small scale.

Goal and Badges

By the end of this event the girls had earned all four Financial Leaves and had gotten a Bank Tour Fun Patch.

From Troopmoore on Ebay

* * * * * * *
Despite the fact that I remember having this field trip planned down to the last detail,
this was the only itinerary I could find:

* * * * * * *

Gathering Activities

When the girls first came in we had them do worksheets from the “Money Counts” packet, pages 6 and 7 which talk about things kids can do for free, and the “Making Choices” packet, pages 3, 5 and 7 which talk about needs and wants.

Daisy Circle:

The Promise Leader led the Promise and then we went around the circle saying what we liked about the movie we saw on Movie night. Then we discussed what we were doing for the day.

Piggy Banks

Before planning our meals, we let the girls do a fun creative project and paint ceramic piggy banks to save their own money. My girls were very, very into this. They love craft projects that allow them to be creative.

1. Ceramic Piggy banks. We got them from oriental trading:
2. Various washable paints
3. Brushes
4. Dixie cups for water and paper plates for palates
5. Self adhesive jewels. We also got these from oriental trading :

They got so into painting them that it went over time.  They were so into it that I didn’t want to interrupt them so we started the planning while they were finishing up. We find that sometimes they are more attentive if their hands are occupied.

Various Pigs made by the girls, the one on the right is unpainted

These piggies proved very useful. They were left to dry at my house and we gave them back next time at the “Responsible for What I Say and Do,” meeting with a list of possible chores. Kids were encouraged to do chores around the house and fill the piggy banks. Then we collected the money at the end of the year when we were doing the pink petal “Make the World a Better Place” to give to a Charity of their choice.

Planning Session

While the girls were finishing up their piggies we explained we were going to have three groups with each of the co-leaders in charge of the first two and the chaperone in charge of the last one. Our daughters were automatically with their moms. We decided that was best because even though they may behave better with someone else, if they could see their mom and not be with them it was worse.

The first thing we did was have the three chaperones’ daughters pick out of a hat whether their team would handle snack and drinks, lunch, or desert. Then we had the rest of the girls pick from the hat to see which team they were on.  Every girl got to pick something.

After cleaning up the girls went into a separate area with the team leader. Each team got five dollars in cash (3 singles, 4 quarters, 6 dimes, 6 nickels, and 10 pennies) that they had to count out themselves and a check for five dollars. They also got a folder and pen to brainstorm their meals and a change purse (from the dollar store).

The girls didn't get the "hat" joke, but the adults got a good laugh

The girls had to plan and budget for a meal that fed 11 people, could be made in less then 30 minutes, required at least 20 minutes of prep, and did not cost more then $10 including tax.  Moms were warned that they were not allowed to put in even a penny. If you exceeded $10 something needed to go back. (Try it.  It’s harder than you think).

After a few minutes to brainstorm and make a list, the girls grabbed their team change purse (we had to rotate who carried it) and piled into the car of her team leader to drive to the bank. (FYI the bank is five minutes from my house and across the street from the Grocery Store.)

Bank Tour

The bank that we used is the bank that everyone in the Service Unit uses, so they are well equipped to deal with Girl Scouts. They only did tours on weekdays so the Teacher Workday worked well for us. A manager came out to give us the tour. They even had goody bags for the girls with pens, pencils, coloring pages, cups, and, most importantly, lollypops. The leaders even got free bags. (Awesome huh, free field trip where they give you stuff.)

My free bag.  I keep all my girl scout stuff in it.

The bank manager talked to the girls about the importance of saving money and how putting your money in the bank helped people buy houses. He did use words that were a little too big, so I had to translate into kindergartenese. They showed the girls the safe deposit boxes and he had the girls talk about what kind of important things they would put in one to keep it safe.  Then they got to see the vault (not quite as big as the ones in the movies).

After the tour everyone got on line for the teller and each group went up and cashed their check for $5.

Grocery Store

The girls probably enjoyed the grocery store portion of this Field Trip more then the bank.  For this section we worked in our small groups.

I had a group of three girls and they had drawn desert as their portion of the meal. At home they had decided to do chocolate chip cookie ice cream sundaes. We got refrigerated cookie dough and vanilla ice cream. Of course, they wanted to get the enormous cookie dough tub and their favorite brand of ice cream, but we pulled out the cell phone calculator and showed how they couldn’t afford that.

Once they had picked the store brand ice cream and the small, on sale, tube of cookie dough we were at about $6. The rest of the time was spend with the girls debating (I’m not going to say fighting, it wasn’t that bad) about getting hot fudge or sprinkles, whip cream or caramel sauce, with each of the three having their favorites.

Finally they, amazingly, agreed on a hard-shell ice cream coating and we went off to see if we could find sprinkles for our remaining $1.50. Hint: Sprinkles are ridiculously expensive, though I swear we could have gotten some from the dollar store. I really wanted to say “we have some at home,” but that was against the rules. In the end, I told the girls that if we had left over money we could divide it up and put it in their piggies toward their charity money and they seemed happy with that.

The dinner group finished early and killed time at the lobster tank. They had under a dollar left. The drinks and snacks group struggled with their budget. In the end, they went over by a few cents and the cashier felt bad so gave them a nickel.


Back home, the snack and drink group had gotten a store brand lemonade mix, tortilla chips, salsa and Velveeta cheese. They cut up the cheese and mixed it with the salsa and microwaved it for a yummy dip. The girls also mixed the lemonade. The lunch group had decided on spaghetti. They boiled the noodles and then had spray butter, parmesan cheese and jarred sauce to go with it. My girls scooped and shaped the cookies, helping with the sundaes later.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the amount of downtime that the girls had while their parts were cooking or while other groups were working. At first, we sent them back to decorate their piggies with adhesive jewels. That gave us 5, 10 minutes tops.  Thankfully, I had folders that the girls were going to use in the next session.   I got out markers and stickers and told them to put their name on the folders and decorate them.

When everything was done we sat all the girls down and we served it like a three course meal, first the chips and dip, then the spaghetti, and finally the sundaes. I don’t think a single girl wanted tomato sauce but they all ate a big bowl of pasta with butter and cheese.

The parents started arriving as they were finishing the pasta. I had my girls get the freshly baked cookies in bowls while I scooped ice cream, then we poured on the hard-shell stuff for whoever wanted it. It was the birthday cake flavor and sickeningly sweet. Of course the girls loved it.

Our gourmet meal


In the end, the girls went home with a bag from the bank, full bellies, and all four Financial Leaves.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Movie Night and Cookie Rally

January 2013

The story behind this odd event that lasted far too long is thus: we had promised the girls a movie and pizza night because they did so well with Nut Sales.  The plan was to have it the Friday before Christmas.  The girls would wear their pajamas, have pizza and watch the American Girl Movie, Chrissa Stands Strong.  This movie is about standing up to bullying and would tie in nicely with the red petal.  They could bring their dolls and have a nice low key event.

Then I got the flu and the movie night was postponed until January.  The day we wanted to do it was the night of the official Girl Scout cookie rally.  We found one being held at a nearby school, so we opened it up to the troop.  Seven girls wanted to go, so we decided we’d go to the rally then come back and have the movie night.  Great.  Wonderful.  I was excited.  The girls were excited. Yup. 

Then they canceled the rally we were going to and tried to get us to go to one that ended way to late at night for our girls.  So we bought the materials from the people doing the rally and decided to hold our own.  Wow.  Not the best idea.  It was this an exhausting night.  3-7:30.  Wow.  Yeah. 

Goal and Badges:

We finally did the last tiny bit for the Red Petal, continue to work on the Financial Leaves, especially “Count it Up” and “Talk it Up”, and get cookie rally patch and movie fun patch.

Official Girl Scout Cookie Rally

Movie Fun Patch.  $1 from Troopmoore on Ebay

* * * * * * *

Yup, handwritten again.  Didn’t get my act together until February.

* * * * * * *
Gathering Activities

When the girls came in we had on my computer the Girl Scout Cookie Rally Movie that was being played all over the country that night at Rallies and Cookie Sleepovers.  It’s an hour long.  No way our girls could watch the whole thing.  So we watched chunks of it.  I had prewatched it and decided what would be fun. 

For the gathering we ushered the girls into the room and let them watch the beginning of the video.  We didn’t make the girls sit quietly or anything.  The 3D part isn’t until later in the video, so no glasses needed.  We got through the intro and the call and repeat part of the video.

Word of warning, my girls showed up ready for a party.  They were wound and wild from minute one.  Some of the quiet activities we had planned either required a lot of maintenance from us or were scrapped for more lively activities.
Daisy Circle:
We said the promise together then went around the circle telling what “friend” (doll or stuffed animal) they had brought with them today.   Then we went over the plan for the day.

Cookie Door Hanger

After safely placing their “friends” with their sleeping bags, the girls headed to craft room to do a craft that we got in our rally pack.  I’m not going to post directions because they are all there in the following link along with the printables you need:

Picture from website.  Don't have one left at home.

My girls mostly chose either a hundred packages or “to get the puppy” incentive (125 packages) as sales goal, which was fairly ambitious.  (5/8 did make that goal in the end though.)  We had to help them spell their fun and service goals.  Most of them said field trips or zoo camp for personal goals and feed puppies or something for service goal.  It helped, of course, that we had talked about the troop goals the week before.

Most of the girls liked this activity.  One or two were too wound up to sit and do much.

Cookie Safety Bingo

Next we moved to another room to play “Cookie Safety Bingo.”  This was also something we got from the cookie rally packet, but you can print it out yourself from the links below.  You will also need coins, chips, stickers, or stamps for the girls to mark their spots.  We had cookies for prizes.

You can print the bingo cards here: (the people who printed ours must have set it for 2 pages per sheet, because ours were smaller, to save paper I guess.  This worked fine.):

These are the “posters” which are the different lessons or tid-bits about cookie selling safety (very good for the girls to learn).  Reading one of these is the equivalent of getting a random number in regular bingo.  Ours were much smaller than poster size, but the girls couldn’t read them.  Maybe some of them could have if they had been bigger.  We let the girls take turns picking a card then the leaders would read it out loud: 

Girl Scout Cookie Movie with 3D Glasses

Next we moved back into the room where the on-line video was set up.  The rally packet came with 3D glasses so we handed those out.  The 3D portion of the movie is about 40 minutes into the movie. 

Now, to be honest, our girls had a really hard time with the glasses.  They didn’t like keeping them on and at this point they were getting really restless.  My co-leader snuck off the order pizza while they were watching and I fast forwarded to 42 minutes in to a game called “What’s Your Cookie IQ?”  This is a very fun game (that they would have done better on if they could read, so I’ll probably try it again next year.) 
The game has the girls vote for the correct answer by moving their body.  For example if you think it’s the Trefoil put your arms up and if you think it’s the Thinmint put your arms down.  There are a few rounds with them getting faster as it goes through.  The game was a lot of fun.  It was hindered by the instructions being written on the screen so I had to read them.  I was actually pausing the game as it got really fast.  But, really, this is best part of the video.  Very cool.

I think we threw in the towel at this point and decided that we were just going to play dancing games until the pizza arrived.  The girls were done with anything resembling focus, so we tossed out anything else we had on the schedule at this point.

Duck, Duck, Cookie:
Lame name, but it was kinda fun.  Basically "Duck, Duck, Goose", but instead of "Goose" they would say a kind of cookie.  Then, if the person was caught they were put into the center and we would "bake" her into that cookie.  So I’d say, “Everyone throw in sugar, everyone crack an egg, everyone cut up butter…. Ok, everyone stir…”  The girls would follow the hand motions. At the end the girl in the center would get "baked" and we would “eat” her.  Make sure to remind the girls to be gentle with the “eating” and that is pretend and to maintain personal space or the girl in the middle may get scared.

Skip Cookie Jar:
Skip Stew is a game my daughter loves where the girls skip in a circle to music.  The music stops and the girl who stops moving last goes into the “stew” in the center of the circle.  We made the stew into a “Cookie Jar.”  My co-leader played so she could be the first one in the stew while I ran the cd player. 

Dance Like Me: 
After Skip Cookie Jar we allowed free dancing.  "Dance Like Me" is a game I made up on the spot when things were starting to go down hill.  I stood up and yelled “Everyone Dance Like Me!”  then a danced a lot of really silly, funny dances until all the girls were giggling and engaged.  Then I yelled, “Everyone Dance like Sarah,” and Sarah (I don’t actually have a Sarah btw) starts dancing silly and everyone does what she does.  Every few minutes I switched girls until everyone in the room had gone at least once.  Might have been the highlight of the evening.


Pizza.  No explanation necessary.


The movie we chose was Chrissa Stands Strong.  This is a movie by American Girl (and a two book series) that has won several awards for the way it deals with bullying.  I really wanted the girls to watch it as part of their “Courageous and Strong Petal.”  I do wish we had done a separate movie night, because their focus wasn’t where I would have liked it to be.  We held this in the basement with sleeping bags and pillows.
This was not a light and fun disney movie.  The adults in the room found the bullying uncomfortably realistic.  Actually a lot of the movie is uncomfortable in that way, but it was a beautiful story where a very sweet girl learns to stand up to bullying and get through it without it damaging who she is.  It also shows the girls how to stop being a bully and how easy it is to be pulled into being one of the bullies. 

Even though the movie was intended for 8 year olds, I felt this (6-7) is the age where the girls need to be taught the signs.  The Mean Girl years are getting younger and younger.  In the end, all mygirls said they liked the movie (I was surprised) and it does have a happy ending.

Ice Cream
After the movie everyone got to come upstairs again for ice cream.  We held this up as a carrot to be good, with moderate success.  We made an sundae bar where we scooped out vanilla and chocolate ice cream for them and they could then add various sauces, sprinkles, candy and whip cream.  Unsurprisingly, a success.

Last Bit of Party

Until the parents showed up we let the girls dance and play freely.  I started doing the zipper pull craft that we never got to at the table and 3-4 girls came over and wanted to do it too.  (If interested link: Those girls made the craft.  The others just danced until their parents showed up to take them home.

I’m not sure what happened after they left, but wine may have been involved. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daisy Scout Meeting Seven

First week in  January 2013

Goal and Badges:        

Finish up Red “Courageous and Strong” Petal (though we did watch a movie to go with this in our next session) and start the four Financial Leaves. We did this as a big mishmash.  We chose January to do it because it was the beginning of Cookie Season.  Since it was our first we were kind of excited.  Also I think the financial leaves are adorable on the front of the vest.

Notes on the leaves:
When you go through the handbook, the leaves really aren’t that complicated to earn and they kind of overlap. I think they are designed to do 2 the first year and 2 the second year, but since almost half of our troop were Second Year Daisies we just did them all together over the course of a month which included one meeting, a Cookie Rally and a Field Trip.  We also earned most of what they needed for the Cookie Pin during this time.

Leaves in Brief:
Count it Up Leaf:  Learn about the different type of Girl Scout Cookies.  Learn how much they cost and practice making change.  Set a sales goal

Talk it Up Leaf:  Decide what you want to do with cookie money for troop and figure out how many cookies you need to sell to accomplish this.  Decide how use money to help others and make a poster.

Money Counts Leaf:  Practice understanding coin and paper money.  Make a budget for a fun activity and talk about fun things you can do for free.

Making Choices Leaf:  Find out the difference between wants and needs.  Set a goal to save for something you want and help others get something they need and want.
Close up

FYI:  There are a few things the handbook asks you to do to earn leaves that has the girls saying complicated phrases about how great selling cookies is.  Not only would my girls (who are rather bright if I do say also myself) never be able to memorize these phrases, they sound disingenuous and manipulative.  We skipped that part.  (You will find that the Money Counts and Making Choices leaves are much more educational and worthwhile for the girls.  But if you only did them, the vests would be unbalanced and we can’t have that.)

* * * * * * *

So, it seems that Christmas had entirely taken over my OCD and I was a bit last minute with Girl Scout Stuff in January.  All I have for this meeting is this hastily written sheet:

Front of my awesome itinerary for the week

* * * * * * *

Gathering Activity : Worksheets
When they first came in we had the girls look and do the activities on pages 2-4 of the “Money Counts” booklet.  This is where I wish we had all the kids buy the handbook.  I had to make photo copies for the other kids.  They come out awful in black and white and cost a fortune to do in color. 

I also made two (very simple) worksheets for the kids.  One was a sheet that had 1c, 5c, 10c and 25c on it and a place to match up the money and do money rubbings.  On the table we had piles of coins (we took out coin rolls from the bank that morning).  The other was photo copies of different size bills where they had to circle where you could tell how much it was worth.  Also, they each got a voided check (the Girl Scout account came with more then we could ever use) and we taught them how to write a check for $5.  Obviously, we voided them later.

Daisy Circle:

Promise Leader of the day led the promise.

We went around the circle and all the kids said what they did that was brave in the last few weeks.  We stopped “All ‘round the Daisy Circle” at this point because the girls were getting bored with it and it was taking too long.  We tried to have only few girls give answers at the beginning to save time, but the girls immediately nixed this idea.  They wanted everyone to have a turn.  So from here on out everyone answered the question of the day, but going around the circle in order instead of where the flowers landed.

Cookie Taste Test

We took great pains to try to get as many Girl Scout cookies as we could for the girls to try.  You wouldn’t think this was as hard as it was.  This was the beginning of cookie season and the only people that had them were from last year.  We were able to get Trefoils, Do-Si-Does, Thank You Berry Much and Dulce de Laches from our Service Unit Cookie Manager.  (She had a stash in her freezer).  Then we got the Keebler versions of Thin Mints and Samoas, Grasshoppers and Coconut Delights (I know sacrilege, but we were desperate).  Savannah Smiles and Tagalongs went untasted, unfortunately.

Cookie we sold in 2013
Cookies we used as a decoy for Samoas
We cut the cookies into small pieces and then told each girl what they were eating as we passed the cookies around.  After the girls tried all seven, we talked about which cookies were their favorite.  Then we blind folded each girl in turn and gave them a piece of cookie to try and guess which one it was. 

As you can imagine, since it centered around sugar the girls loved this activity.

Snacks and Goals

Believe it or not we still had snacks after this. Even more unbelievable, the girls ate it all. Though, I think we were smart and had something like grapes and water. After handing out food we got out our big notebook and started talking about how we were going to use our cookie money and how much we would have to sell to meet these goals.

We used the “personal goal” to help the kids decide what they wanted to in the fall. We explained that we would use the cookie money to keep doing fun things like field trips and crafts then we asked if the girls liked doing the Garden Journey. They all said yes, though we hadn’t done anything with the Journey in months. They did like the books and loved taking their turn with the mini-garde

Whenever we had the girls decide something big we tried to give them only two choices. (And maybe kinda I made the one I wanted them chose sound a tiny bit better. Lalala.) We gave them the choice between the two remaining Daisy Journeys “5 Flowers, 4 stories, 3 Cheers for Animals” and “Between Earth and Sky”. For this exercise we chose to ignore the fact that 3 of the girls were going to be Brownies in the fall. It would have made matters too complicated.

We described the Journeys as the “Animal Journey” and the “Road Trip Journey.” (I did read them ahead of time `cause I’m just that crazy). Then) we told them for the Animal Journey we would try to do a camp-out at the Zoo (It’s called the Scout Snooze” at the national zoo) and for the Road Trip Journey we could do a mini-road trip. Then we had the girls vote.

They chose the Animal Journey. The only thing shocking was that it wasn’t unanimous since I sold that Zoo Camping Trip like you wouldn’t believe and the girls were pretty darn excited about it. Who wouldn’t be? Coolest thing ever.

After choosing we went through the things we would need to buy for the journey and how much it would cost, including the books, patches and field trip. Then showed the girls how many boxes of cookies would need to be sold to pay for that. I did some quick (and extremely rough) math and we came up with the troop goal of selling 600 boxes.

The cool part girls totally got this and bought into this and that as our team goal. Down-side, looking back, the estimate was absurd. We wound up selling over 1000 boxes and after doing a budget for the end of the year and the second half of next year there was no way the troop was going to be able to cover the cost of the Scout Snooze. We had to have the families’ pay of the zoo camping trip on their own and we’ll still be charging dues. Between registration, all the other field trips, patches, pins and badges, and the books money goes fast. Thankfully, our families think it’s worth it.


The “Talk it Up” and “Making Choices Leaves” require a pledge and a plan to contribute to a charity of some kind. Also, it’s always a good thing to teach the girls, especially since the girls in my troop (my daughter included) have a pretty cushy life.

My co-leader and I had brainstormed what we thought were a few good ideas before hand, but we did open this up to the troop and had them go around the circle and say what they thought may be a good idea. We had a lot of ideas on how to give to the animals ,tying into the fall journey, like the shelter and the zoo (one girl was very adamant about the zoo idea) and several who wanted to give the money to homeless or hungry people.

We introduced the idea of SHARE, the Girl Scout charity and it was soundly shot down. For some reason whenever we bring up using our money to help girls pay for girl scouts our girls quickly vote it down. Since they chose another worthy charity we don’t fight them.

Vote Results

Cash Relay
We knew at this point, having learned our lesson the hard way, that the girls were going to have to burn some energy or we were in trouble. So, we set up a money relay race. We had five cups set up on the far side of the room (spread out) with 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c and $1 on the side. Then we divided the kids into two groups and gave each group a cup of mixed coins and dollar bills.

The game was a relay race, a girl from each team was to grab something at random from their cup, run across the room and put it in the correct cup, then run back and tag the next girl, etc etc, until all the money was gone.

The girls did better then I thought they would at sorting (this wasn’t easy for the kindergartener) and they really enjoyed the game of it. Burned off plenty of energy. There was a winning team, though it was close. We try not to dwell on the winners and shuffled the girls to the next activity before anyone could have hurt feelings.

Cash relay

Pretend Booth Sale (half of the kids)

After the relay, my co-leader immediately led one team into another room the play “booth sale,” which is just like playing lemonade stand but with cookies so they loved it. We used the empty cookie boxed and real money. The buyers had a twenty dollar bill and the girls behind the stand had fives and ones. The girls took turns buying and selling.

Poster (half of the kids)
I took the other half of the kids into the craft room and let them make a poster. I asked them what the wanted to say. It was something like “Buy Cookies. Help the puppies.” (They were really into helping the puppies at this point). I wrote it in pencil across a piece of white poster board. Then I gave the girls glitter pens and markers to trace the letters and decorate.

The girls had a really good time doing this. The poster was a mess. Completely unusable. There were so many different colors and glittery curlicues there was no way anyone could have read it. In the end, we didn’t use it for booth sales at all and we wound up doing something different entirely (but I’ll talk about that later).

Closing Circle: In the interest of transparency, I’m not sure if we even got to do a closing circle during this meeting. We ran way over. The girls didn’t even have time to switch back and do the opposite activity, time was so tight. If I could do it differently, I’d skip the poster and have all the girls play booth sale, either together or in two groups.


The only homework was for the girls who showed up late and didn’t get to do the worksheets at the beginning to finish them. I also had handouts about the movie night/cookie rally and the spending wisely trip. They were all hand written because I was a mess that first Friday after Christmas. Ugh. Sigh. I’m stressed just writing about it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daisy Scout Holiday Party

December 2012

Patches and Goals: Gather our Project Elf service project gifts and make gift bags and wrapping paper for the presents. Practice our Courage with some caroling. Have fun!

* * * * * * *

Arrival:                                    Gathering- Decorate Gift bags for project Elf
6:05                                        Daisy Circle- Daisy Promise
6:15                                        Caroling
6:40                                        Eat- kids explain what they brought
7:00                                        Make Wrapping paper
7:20                                        Graham cracker gingerbread houses
7:40                                        Dance
8:00                                        Pick Up
* * * * * * *

A Note on the Political Correctness of the party:

We called this a “Holiday Party.” Truly, it was a Christmas Party. There wasn’t really anything religious about it, but we didn’t do anything to include other holidays either.  Seven of our eight girls are Christian. For my one Muslim girl, I asked her mom ahead of time if she wanted to talk about their traditions and bring a traditional dish from their culture to the party. She showed up with red and green cupcakes.

My co-leader and I worried and fretted about making sure this girl didn’t feel excluded.  We had favors and plates that only had snowmen on it and were very careful. Then this girl cheerfully showed up for the party head to toe in a Mrs. Clause outfit. She was the Christmasiest kid there. Turns out she loves Christmas and looks forward to celebrating it outside since they don’t at home. So, you never know.  I do recommend you ask any non-Christian families what they would like to do if you have a holiday party.

Gathering Activities

When the girls came in they brought their Project Elf Gifts and put them under the tree.  Our “adopted” family was a mom and a six year old girl (see meeting 5 for more details). Everyone had signed up for one gift for the little girl and most people also brought a gift card for a local grocery store for mom.

We encouraged the moms to have our girls pick out “stocking stuffers” for the both members of the adopted family. There was a lot of bath wash and toothbrushes, crayons and gloves, that sort of thing. I bought two stockings from the dollar store to stuff.  They were over flowing in the end.

My co-leader bought plain brown and white gift bags. We laid these out on the table with markers and after the girls came in and put down their gifts, they decorated the bags.

Most of the moms stayed for the party and some younger siblings went caroling with us. Everyone brought a holiday dish and the moms got those squared away while the girls decorated the bags.

Daisy Circle:

We skipped the Kapers for the party and just said the Promise quickly together. After that we talked about proper etiquette with caroling, safety (staying together etc) and practiced a song or two.


Initially, we were going to “Carol for Cans,” where you ask for donations for a song. Ultimately, we decided that was too complicated and I’m glad we did. Only a few of the neighbors came to the door to let the girls sing to them.  It worked out fine, but looking back I can’t imagine asking for donations.

I had thought that the girls were going to be shy and it would be hard to get them to come out of their shell and sing (thus the Courageous tie-in). I don’t know if it was all the preparation they had for this or if they were just so excited to be at a party together but the girls took to this like ducks to water. You’d have thought they were trick or treating the way they ran from house to house, arguing about who got to ring the door bell.

As I said, we only got a few people to answer the door and let the girls sing, but those people were very nice and kind to the girls and he girls absolutely loved it.
Caroling fun


We asked everyone to bring a dish that was traditional to their family for the holidays. What we got was mac and cheese, mini meatballs, risotto, fruit and a bunch of sweets. Not exactly the cultural tie in I was imagining, but everyone was happy with the food.  All in all, the girls came back from caroling starving, ate a ton and left us with clean up. Next year we’re being much stricter with the girls about cleaning up after themselves.

Wrapping Paper

This was a fun way to get the girls more involved with Project Elf.

1. Roll of mural paper (butcher paper would work too)
2.  Foam stamps (and rubber if you have them, though foam works better)
3. Red, green and gold washable paint
4. Paper plates

We rolled out the mural paper on the tile flour and gave each girl a paper plate with their choice of paint.  They then went to town with the stamps.  After a little while,  they must of gotten bored with the stamps because they moved on the hand prints.  I thought that looked pretty great too so I let their creativity flow.
Project Elf Gifts.  Wrapping paper girls made is front and center and the bags they decorated toward the back

Graham Cracker Gingerbread houses

After washing up the girls moved on to an even more messy event, the building of Gingerbread Houses.  This was probably the highlight of the party.


1.      Paper plates
2.      Lots of graham crackers
3.      White frosting (Royal would probably be best.  We just used tubs {not whipped}, easy for the girls to use and less work for the leaders).
4.      Pastry bags or gallon plastic bags (one for each girl)
5.      Lots of tiny candies or foods (we had each family bring a contribution)

Pre-party Prep

1.      Make a bag of frosting for each girl and put them in the fridge to stay cold. (Unless it’s royal icing then the fridge would make it too hard)  Them each having their own frosting bag not only helps the mess and the fighting, but cuts down the frustration.  It's much easier for them to manipulate a pastry bag then use a cup of frosting and spoon or knife. 

2.      Make a sample house.  Can’t help the girls if you don’t know how to build it yourself.  I simply, using frosting as mortar, connected the sides first (half a graham cracker for the ends and a whole for the sides and roof) and then made a roof and glued it on.  It worked very easily when I did it earlier in the day.    By the time it was the girls turn, it was very hot in the house, the frosting got warm, and the walls didn’t stick as well.  I wish I had kept the frosting in the fridge longer.

The girls turn

I want to be able to give you detailed steps the way a good OCD Girl Scout Leader should, but we didn't do this in a very organized way.  Basically, we handed out the plates, handed out the graham crackers, snipped the pastry bags, and told them to have at it.  I put my sample house in the middle and showed them how I connected the sides, but mostly they made their own creations.  I do think they enjoyed it more that way.  We put the decorations in dixie cups around the table. 

The girls laughed and joked the entire time, having a grand time, even when half the houses fell.  I guess that much sugar will do that to them.  A couple took to making Santa beards (on themselves) with the extra frosting.  It looked like fun so I didn’t stop them, just made them wash up after. 

An original Gingerbread house creation
One of the older girls made the awsome house in the front.  She was one of the only girls to accomplish the sloped roof.
The village of graham cracker houses before they started to collapse.

Full on carnage, some successful houses, some a pile of frosting and candy.  The girlls consoled themselves with the extra frosting

I think a lot of people would have assembled the houses first and the houses would have come out looking a lot prettier.  We, however, felt it was more fun this way, more educational (they had to be little engineers), and more of a self-esteem builder.  Even if it fell flat, the girls were proud of what they did.  


After the houses the girls got to turn on music and just dance.  I’m sure the parents loved us.  Hyped them up on sugar, got them all wound up then sent them home.  The girls had a blast!

Closing Circle:

I honestly don’t think this happened, all I remember is sugar crazed munchkins running in circles.


No homework.  We had favors that included the caroling patch and a bunch of cute little Christmassy things.  Wish I’d taken a picture of them.  Who knew we’d have a blog and need pictures of that stuff.