Photographs by Nicholas Efran This is a handy tip I learned as a Girl Scout that I still use in my home today. It's a great project for Girl Scouts (or any group of kids) as a follow-up to soap carving: kids can put their soap scraps in the Soap Saver and then add any … Continue reading Make a Soap Saver: neat, clean bar soap with no waste!
It's Works-for-Me Wednesday! It's also Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, so you might want to check out last year's suggestions for Lenten fasts that help the environment or my musings on vanity and seeking help. I've been a member of Costco for some time, and the money we save by buying some things … Continue reading Costco vs. Gordon Food Service
This would be a fun experiment for any group of kids over 3 years old. It is an activity for the Girl Scout badge Let's Get Cooking, combined with an activity I adapted from the Junior Girl Scout Handbook. My troop did it two years ago at the beginning of our work on the badge. It … Continue reading Handwashing Experiment
UPDATE in 2015: This article is about what I did with my Girl Scout troop, but it applies to any children's activity--and a lot of it also applies to adult activities where you might want to serve a snack! (I'm no longer a Girl Scout leader, but I expect to go back to it someday.) … Continue reading Girl Scout Snack Management
Here are two games that are easy to set up, use minimal materials, and are fun for kids about 2-10 years old at a party or holiday gathering. (See also these knee-bouncing games for entertaining younger kids!) Pass the Parcel You will need a bunch of small toys, costume jewelry and similar trinkets, coins, and/or pieces of wrapped … Continue reading Two Easy Indoor Games
Learning about the history of clothing fashions is an activity I've done with Girl Scouts several times. It's part of the Art to Wear Try-It and badge, Listening to the Past Try-It, and probably a few others. It's always been fascinating. Clothing is so intimately a part of our daily lives that thinking about what people like ourselves wore … Continue reading Learning from Old Clothes
Do you ever want to help an organization, but feel like you can't spare enough money to make a real difference? Are you an environmentalist, wishing that everybody would switch to plant-based cleaners to help conserve our irreplaceable petroleum, but feeling like nobody ever listens to your ravings about how great these cleaners are? Buy a bottle of … Continue reading Donating Dish Detergent
One very useful idea I've learned from Linda May, Girl Scout leader and camp director extraordinaire, is to serve bag lunches as the final meal of an event. Linda does this at the annual winter camp she organizes for our service unit, and my troop has done it at several troop camping weekends. It's wonderful because … Continue reading Send campers home with a bag lunch!
Here's a way to use washable cloth hand towels for a group too large and/or germy to share a towel hanging on a rack: Get a bunch of small cloth towels or terry washcloths. Stack the towels in a box or basket near the sink. Hang a laundry bag or place a laundry basket or hamper … Continue reading Hand Towels for a Crowd
When Girl Scouts USA first announced the development of Journeys, they made it sound like they would replace badges. By the time they released the first Journey for each age level last fall, they were saying these are just an *Exciting* *New* *Option* for Girl Scouts but we still can keep on doing badges as … Continue reading Agent of Change: What a long, lame Journey it’s been!
My Girl Scouts and I recently learned a new method for assessing group opinions so we can work toward consensus. It looked useful in the book (it's included in the Agent of Change Journey program) but it wasn't until we tried it that I learned how amazingly well it works for me! Fist to Five … Continue reading Fist to Five: A way to reach agreement
One of my favorite things about leading Girl Scout Juniors instead of Brownies is the patrol system. We used it in my Junior troop when I was a girl, but I didn't realize just how effective and useful it is until I tried it as a leader. Patrols are small groups within the troop. The … Continue reading Patrol Power!
One of the requirements for the Outdoor Fun badge is to do skits demonstrating that you know the necessary skills for outdoor activities. My experience in earning this particular badge as a Girl Scout, and in doing similar projects with my troop as a leader, indicated that girls tend to jump on the first ideas … Continue reading Outdoor Fun skit ideas
Here is one way for Girl Scouts (or any other group) to agree on what meals to have at camp or some other occasion. I've used it twice, with great success. First, have the girls brainstorm menu ideas. Then, between meetings, leaders sort out the ideas that are affordable and feasible for the cooking equipment, budget, and time … Continue reading Menu Selection System
This is by no means the only way to organize the paperwork for a Girl Scout troop! It's just the way I do it. Apparently some people think I'm good at it, because I've been asked to give a presentation on the subject at an upcoming leaders' workshop. I hope this system is helpful to … Continue reading Organizing Girl Scout Troop Information
This question was posted on a discussion board recently. Not only do I reuse many physical objects, but I can reuse the list I made for that discussion as an article on my own Website! I love reusing glass jars so much that my ravings on the subject got too long for this article and were … Continue reading What Do You Reuse?
I can't, by a long shot, claim to have solved the problem of a group of Girl Scouts (or anybody!) dissolving into chaos when everybody is excited, we're trying to do one or more activities, there are various supplies and logistics to be coordinated, and/or there's some type of distraction! However, over my five years … Continue reading Calming Chaos in Girl Scout Troop Meetings
My Girl Scout troop did this activity with Brownies earning the Penny Power Try-It and Daisies earning the Make the World a Better Place petal. It also would apply to several Junior badges that have an activity about caring for the needy, about nutrition, or about comparison shopping. Divide into teams of 3-5 girls and … Continue reading Supermarket Field Trip
This educational activity is suitable for school or any type of youth (or even adult) group; I did it with Girl Scouts. It is a great way to teach the principle that brand-name products aren't necessarily any different from less expensive store brands. Sometimes I add an activity to a Girl Scout badge, something that … Continue reading Consumer Taste Test
This is one method for deciding how the troop will spend its money. I used it very successfully a few years ago with a Daisy/Brownie troop of 18 girls ages 5-9. Deciding how to spend the cookie sale profits is an activity for the Penny Power Try-It or Cookies Count badge. First, in a troop meeting, brainstorm … Continue reading Girl Scout Troop Budgeting Process