Do you bother with creating a Troop Parent Handbook? Some people might think it's too much but, in my opinion, it lays a foundation for how you plan to lead the troop, your expectations of parents/guardians and how you can work as a team to have a successful year. It's a hard copy of when and where you have your meetings, your objectives, contact information and policies and procedures you have for events and outings….
I'm always looking for easy and fun ways to entertain our kids while we are camping. Sometimes we travel to amazing destinations that provide the entertainment and activities but there are times when we need a little something to keep our kids happy, occupied and out of the fire pit ashes...lol
Here are 5 fun crafts that you can do with kids at camp.
Every year we try to do at least one camp weekend with our GS troop. This year, since it's one of the things the girls really love and look forward to, I hope to do one a season! The planning process from troop leadership can seem overwhelming. It's a big weekend and the more girls/adults you have attending the more work you will have to put into it. But, after all is said and done, it's totally worth it. If you haven't considered an overnight or camp with your troop I strongly encourage it! The excitement, sister scout bonding, life skills and lasting memories are just a few of the things you and your group will take away.
This year my oldest daughter worked her butt off to reach the 500 goal selling cookie boxes. We have a fairly large troop and another Girl Scout in the house that made for extra obstacles this year. She had to share her friends and family sales with her younger sister. She did a ton of cookie booth and went selling door to door. She pushed!
Last fall, our family took a major step and decided to invest in a travel trailer. I stalked the internet for months trying to find the best deal on a used "starter" camper for our family. Our knowledge of campers, or towing anything in general, was sparse but I'm a firm believer that if you want to do something you just have to pull the trigger and learn through doing.
We then took a walk around the neighborhood and collected trash on the streets. We connected how this trash could easily get in the sewers or nearby river (which leads into the Mississippi River--->and then into ---> the Gulf of Mexico.
To brighten everyone's day we are having a sale on patches. Today only (4/16/18) you can get 30% off patches purchased through the Mighty Girls Rock shop as a thank you for your support! Use the code: MONDAYDEAL16!
Does anyone feel like this is not the most amusing petal to the girls? LOL
The best way I can recommend having your girls complete this badge is through a field trip. There are so many places in your community that girls don't always get to see so take this chance and get out with the girls. I'm not even going to suggest meeting activities because they will just stare at you like some boring teacher. You know the stare I'm talking about....
Our girls love visiting new places and this was the perfect opportunity to show them something they might not have seen before.
For this petal we did two different trips. Before we adventured, we had a brief discussion on what authority was and why it was important. We talked about how laws keep everyone safe and we referenced back to our Girl Scout Law. We also used this opportunity to create rules for our troop that the girls agreed to follow. By creating their own rules and standards we kept the activity girl led!
Field trip ideas
- Police Station
- City Hall
- Court House
- Fire Station
When visiting, it's always kind to bring a little something for your tour guides. The police station and Firefighters love fresh baked cookies!! Make sure to deliver a thank you note as you are leaving or have the girls send one the meeting following the visit. Gratitude is the ultimate form of respect!
If you are not able to take a field trip, this petal is pretty easy to complete in a meeting. Here are some fun activities to liven up the meeting...
- Have the girl makes puppets of different authority figures. Have them create puppet skits where they can act out ways to respect authority.
- Create a set of troop rules that is posted at every meeting. Have each girl add something to the rules.
- Play a game. This one is similar to Simon says except you can pick an authority figure. Bonus points for dress up! You know Firehouse subs has those free plastic fire people hats! Have the girls rotate being the caller.
Don't forget to follow up along on Facebook and Instagram!! Be sure to check out our fun patch programs in the shop!
If you are just joining us, we previously completed Part 1 of the Brownie Designing Robots badge! We broke the badge into two meetings because it really does require that much time if you are focused on what they are learning and not just completing the badge.
We searched and searched the internet to find an easy and affordable robot idea for the second part of this badge. It can be hard to find the right supplies but you're in luck, we have included them for you in this post!
Create your prototype
The idea came from a fantastic tutorial on bristlebots. You can find the tutorial here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bristlebot-1/ They do a great job of explaining and providing pictures along the way.
What you need:
- Wire stripper
- garden shears
- double sided foam tape
- vibrating motor
- small battery Caution!!! Do not let little children swallow these.
- googly eyes
- pipe cleaners
Before the meeting:
Before your meeting, you will want to cut the toothbrushes down with your garden shears. You will also want to prepare the motors by stripping about 1/2 inch off of the end of each wire with your wire stripper. I also separated the materials into ziplock bags for each girl so distribution during the meeting would be easy.
We started the meeting explaining what we were going to do and then we showed the video below to the girls. We always have great success with video media and the girls' attention span!!
Oh were there bugs!!! Not just Bug Bots, but obstacles with constructing and getting them to work. But ya know what? That is the purpose of the last step!! Trial and Error. Isn't that what engineering and life is all about?
The bug doesn't work?
Here are a couple ideas to troubleshoot a bot that doesn't work...
- There is an object (probably a finger or googly eye) blocking the motor from spinning
- the wire attached to the foam tape is submerged into the tape and is not conducting electricity
- The wire is not properly touching the other end of the battery.
And there ya have it! You have successfully completed the Designing Robots badge!!! I hope you found this section helpful and if you are looking for Part 1 you can find it here: Designing Robots Part 1. Leave us some love in the comments below and let us know what you would like to see next!!
I was super excited over the summer when they announced the new S.T.E.M badges. We have been trying to incorporate more S.T.E.M activities in our home for the girls. Last year we got the girls the Dash robot for Christmas and they seem to genuinely have an interest in the programming fun.
When the requirements for the badges came out, I have to admit, I was a bit confused. I must have reviewed the Volunteer Toolkit way too many times and then I realized, like with most of the resources offered, they always seem to be lacking creativity and visual explanation. So, I took to trusty Pinterest to assist with my research and planning.
Here is Part 1 of the Designing Robots Brownie Badge. I do recommend doing this in 2 meetings. It's A LOT and not a badge I would try to cram into one session. They won't take away much if you rush it and that defeats the purpose, right?
Robots Imitate Nature
I was so not a fan of the video recommendations on the VTK. My girls have such a short attention span so anytime I show a video it needs to be engaging! Here is a great substitute that also reinforced their Daisy Flower Garden Journey they completed last year (in case you are a multi-level troop)
Different Robot Parts
For this step, the girls partnered up. Each pair got a marker and a sheet of blank paper. One partner was given an example and they had to pose like a robot. The other partner had to draw what a robot would look like in that pose. Example of a pose: Robot playing basketball.
Each person was given a chance to pose and draw/ We discussed the different examples of robotic parts they used in their drawings.... joints, gears, levers, pulleys, wheels, sensors, etc.
The girls went on to build their own robotic arms to further explore how robots are like humans and biomimicry. They built arms that could both extend and grab an object.
We lightly taped white lunch bags (filled with little prizes) to the wall for our mystery bag challenge! We taped them slightly above the girl's reach. To my surprise, the extender arms worked (for most)!!! This activity was a suggestion from the VTK. I liked the idea of building the robotic arms but their explanations and materials list left me so confused. There was no direction or suggestions on how to build, just a list of materials to let the girls explore. Now, I know we want to keep it Girl led but my girls could play with a box of the supplies all day and still be confused. So I needed to create an example for them.
So this prototype took ME about 10 minutes to make which means the girls needed a solid 30 minutes to do it themselves.
- craft sticks (NOT the jumbo kind)
- Shake straws (NOT regular straws)
First, you will want to make 4 sections like this...
You will need two craft sticks, two 2 inch pieces of straw, and duct tape. Insert the end of a craft stick into the straw piece slightly less than halfway. Insert the other craft stick into the opposite end of the same straw piece. Leave a gap between the two craft sticks to allow for a toothpick hole. Secure craft sticks and straw bits with tape. Take your other straw bit and insert it into the open end of one of your craft sticks just short of halfway. Again, leave just enough room for a toothpick hole and secure with tape. Do this 4 times.
Create your joint by taking one of your sections and punching your toothpick through the center of your straw piece. Take the second section and punch a hole with the same toothpick from your first section to overlap the two sections to make an X.
Take your two remaining sections that you have not used yet and attach them to the opposite straws bit (circled in picture below) using the toothpick punching method.
To finish your extending grabbing arm...
You will want to create something that resembles pinching/fingers. I cut a craft stick in half and attached each half to the end of an open end craft stick with tape (see the bottom half of the picture above).
The extender grabber is now finished and at this point, you can have your girls test it out and troubleshoot areas for improvement. They might need more stability(tape) in an area. Have them play around with the arm and try the mystery bag challenge!
Plan out your Robot
Once the girls understood the different parts of a robot and how they can make one actually work, they got to brainstorming ideas for their own prototype. We discussed simple projects or tasks that would be helpful to have a robot do.
- Feeding a pet
- retrieving a newspaper
- Picking up dog poop (LOL)
- Moping the floor
- Taking out the garbage
- Tub scrubbing robots
- Trash picker upper
We decided to do the tub scrubbing robot. We found a helpful video online and the girls planned out the materials they would need. Next meeting the girls will have an opportunity to make the robots!
This concludes part 1 of our Designing Robots badge. Here you can find part 2 of the badge with our scrub bots!!!
Don't forget to comment below and share what your troop did for the designing robots badge!!