One evening last week, my five-year-old was in one of those moods where he makes unreasonable demands. "I have to have my own computer!" he said in an unpleasant tone. "You already have your own computer," I reminded him. He has one of those toy laptops designed for preschoolers; my uncle gave it to him … Continue reading Excellent Educational Toy!
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 February 1, 2012: For the past two years, this has been an article like my links page where I keep adding content as I get around to it. Now I'm going to call it finished! Of course, I expect to read additional mind-blowing books during my visit to Earth, but this list now includes … Continue reading Books That Blew My Mind
Nicholas is almost five years old now and getting even better at making up rhymes. As the Hanukkah decorations appear around our neighborhood, we've been inspired to make up more bagel songs to the tune of "Dreidel, Dreidel". Walking to and from the grocery store last Saturday, we took turns singing them and trying to … Continue reading Battle of the Bagel Ballads!
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
I'm a research data manager: I spend my days working on various levels of the process of converting people's responses to questions into numbers in the computer. It's not the career I expected, and it's not a career most people immediately understand (the scene at my high school reunion: "So Jason is a police officer, … Continue reading Early Encounters with Variables
It's Works-for-Me Wednesday! We started reading chapter books to our son when he was 2 years 9 months old. Two years later, they're an important part of his daily life. I read to him every day on the bus going to and from preschool, almost always from chapter books because they're more convenient: more story for … Continue reading Great Chapter Books for Kids!
I wanted to be an architect. From the moment I first learned what architects do, when I was about ten years old, I knew that's what I wanted to be: a person who designs buildings that make people comfortable and happy. Right away, I started reading architecture books and magazines. I was fascinated by floorplans … Continue reading The Path at the End of the Road
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
Here's one of my secrets to financial solvency: I started my adult life with some money in the bank. Now, what kind of a tip is that?! Having money is not something a person can just decide to do! I'm just lucky! Well, yes, this isn't a money-management tip you can apply when you're already … Continue reading Starting with Something
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!
As we walked along our neighborhood's main street this afternoon, my four-year-old son asked me about a strange-looking contraption on the sidewalk. I explained that it's for the safe, sanitary disposal of cigarette butts. Sadly, Nicholas knows all about cigarettes, even though nobody in our family smokes them, because in our urban habitat we routinely … Continue reading An Everyday Educational Game
A couple of weeks ago, we were making one of our family's favorite dinners: beans, guacamole, diced tomato, and chips. As usual, Daniel was Mexicanating the beans while I made the guacamole. Nicholas decided, for the first time, that he wanted to help with the guacamole instead of the beans. I showed him how I … Continue reading The Way I Usually Do It
A few years ago, my mom and I saw a toddler having a tantrum about leaving an outdoor tourist attraction at closing time. She wanted to walk--NO she wanted to be carried--NO she wanted to ride in the wagon--NO she wanted to shriek and thrash in the gravel!!! This went on and on and on … Continue reading Show. No. Fear.
My mother just read my article on shyness and suggested a couple of additions. One is an anecdote I'd never heard before: At the last parent/teacher meeting of each elementary school year, your teachers confided how pleased they were that "Rebecca has finally started to come out of her shell." Every year. They were so … Continue reading More about shyness
On the way back from Fairfield to the Chicago train station, we stopped at an Iowa truckstop restaurant called Gramma's Kitchen. One of the puzzles on the children's menu was this: "How many words can you make out of the letters in GRAMMA'S KITCHEN?" I glanced idly at it and thought, gram . . . ram … Continue reading Some Word Games
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
Here's a game I learned at camp many years ago. It's a fun way to fill those moments when you need something to do that doesn't require any special equipment. We used to play it when we got to the dining hall early and were waiting for the dinner bell to ring! Shhh, don't tell the kids, but … Continue reading The Frog Game