Thursday, April 23, 2015

EASY Summer Time Craft: Bleached Bathing Suit Cover-Ups

I did this craft with 35 Junior Girl Scouts and it was pretty easy for all involved.  It does require some adult supervision and help.  However, the end result was fascinating for the girls.

I purchased Women sized Faded Glory tanks/cami from Wal-Mart for $1.69 each in a variety of bright colors.  They were originally priced $2.97, but had been marked down.  What a deal!  I mostly bought smalls in the Woman sizes, but picked up a few mediums because I have some larger girls. Remember these tanks are not designed to fit the girls.  They should be large and over-sized to wear over their swim suits.  If the spaghetti straps tend to fall off their shoulders, I brought ribbon to tie in the back.  Next, I filled $0.99 small spray bottles (purchased from Wal-Mart's travel-sized section) with concentrated bleach.  Larger spray bottles can be purchased from Dollar Tree for a $1 and although the small bottles were easily handled by the girls, the larger bottles sprayed better.  I also purchased 2 big bags of foam sticky stars and letters for about $5/each.  I chose stars, but you could also use the flowers with the cut-outs or any design that appeals to you. The craft is pretty self-explanatory, but I will list the directions so you do not overlook any details.  In the end this craft cost about $2.50/girl.

Directions:  Let the girls choose their tank and spread out on a picnic table, outside!!!  This is important.  Bleach should not be used indoors for staining and ventilation reasons.  You could also do this in the grass or on concrete.  I recommend having some cardboard on hand to slide in between the shirt to prevent seepage to the other side of the shirt and to ensure the tank lies flat.  Next, I let the girls choose stickers for their shirts and place them anywhere they like.  I always try and have an example for the girls to see and often times they just copy my version.  The girls took turns using the spray bottles and spraying the tank right over the stickers.  I recommend having the girls wear old clothes and plastic gloves, bleach is unforgiving and will stain, has a strong odor and can irritate the skin. Thankfully the girls were very careful and we were able to do this project with no issues. Planning ahead and explaining how bleach works is helpful.

We completed this craft in the evening hours before a sleepover and hung the tanks on hangers  to dry overnight.  We pulled off the stickers in the morning when the shirts were dry.  The girls were so excited about the end result.  The bleach caused the navy shirts to turn pink.  This was unexpected and fun.  I advised them NOT to wear the tanks until they had been washed.  I also suggested they wash them separately to avoid getting the bleach on their favorite clothes.  However, one of the tanks managed to find it's way into a normal load at my house and it did not affect any of my other clothes, thankfully.  I texted a reminder to parents to wash separately, in case the verbal recommendation from the girl did not make it home.  :-)

Spray Bottles
plastic gloves

Monday, April 6, 2015

Scribe Junior Badge

In preparation for our BIG Emmy Awards ceremony for earning the Amuse Journey, I decided to tie in the Scribe Badge because I wanted the girls to complete their invitations and write a short speech to thank the guests that attended the ceremony.  The girls were asked to write a few sentences about what the Journey or Girl Scouts mean to them and thank those who attended the ceremony on their behalf.  They could also include their favorite Amuse activity and why.  The speech also offered the girls a great opportunity for public speaking.  It is not easy at their age, or any age for that matter, to get up in front of a large group of people and be the center of the attention for a few minutes.  I was very proud of my girls at the ceremony.  Each and every girl stood up with an air of confidence, spoke loudly and made eye contact with our crowd of nearly 80 people!  It was a beaming moment as a leader and a clear indicator that we are molding female leaders of tomorrow.  Although we talked a little bit about what to include in the speech and I offered some tips on how to write a successful speech, I wanted to have a meatier experience to earn the scribe badge so we played some word games.

All who have read my blog know I have a large troop and for this reason I have to be a bit creative in managing activities.  Often times I create centers, stations or teams to help give every girl a meaningful experience and to help myself and my co-leader and volunteer moms address all the girls' needs.  This badge was no different I divided the girls in to 4 team with about 6 girls at each table.  Each table was given an activity and then we shared our activities with the group.  While I thought all the activities were really fun, "the grass is always greener on the other side" and some girls were disappointed they did not get to do the other activities.  If you have a smaller troop yo may be able to allot 15 minutes for each game and play them all.

Traditional Password Game Show - This is an oldie, but goodie!  If you can't remember how it is played here is a quick refresher:
  1. Break up the girls into pairs.  One player tries to guess a given secret word based on clues offered by his or her partner.  The partner can only say one descriptive word and the player must guess the secret word.  If the clue-giver inadvertently says part of the word, they lose a turn.  In the traditional game shoe the rounds are timed and hen the time is up, the team with the most points wins.  In my GS version, the girls just enjoyed trying to figure out each other's secret words based on the descriptive clues given.

My Most Favorite Thing - I handed each girl an index card and an unusual or odd item and asked them to creatively pretend that this is their "Most Favorite Thing".  On the index card they needed to write down why this item is their favorite and sell it to the troop.  They need to try and be persuasive so everyone will want what they have.

Odd Items:
wooden spatula
lobster claw writing pen
lint roller
pencil sharpener shaped like a tooth
bar of decorative soap
brightly colored knee sock (one)
domino or clothes pin
red dog kong
smooth rocks
you have the idea...

Create a Story:  This game the girls were given 24 word cards and asked to try and incorporate as many words as they can into a story.  They were given specific and totally unrelated verbs,  adverbs, nouns, adjectives, prepositions,  and persons.  The stories they created were pretty funny!

Define It:  The girls were given made-up words and asked to create a definition for each of the words. I will share my words, but you can just as easily make up your own.

We ended our meeting by writing down scripts and creating a segment of the news.  Each group of girls got a specific part of the news to cover i.e. weather, breaking news, fashion, cooking, sports and transportation.  These skits were really cute and the girls had a blast creating them and then acting them.

I am happy to share all of the game cards in pdf format.  You simply print out what you need. CLICK HERE to receive a copy via e-mail.  Good Luck and have FUN!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cadettes Wood Work Badge

OK Leaders.... so I am pretty upscale savvy and good with power tools, but teaching a wood working badge to my Cadettes had me stumped.  As usual I scoured the Internet, but I was unable to find any concrete suggestions on how to obtain this badge.  I moseyed on over to Pinterest and still could not find much via Girl Scout Boards, but I was able to find some clever ideas to help meet the requirements of this badge.  And while I am not certain I met every criteria GS would suggest, my girls had fun and they learned a lot!  In my mind that makes this badge worth-while and meaningful.

Discussion 30 minutes
To begin our meeting I posed a few questions to my girls...

Has anyone ever used a power drill?  For what?
Drills come in all sizes today and you can use electrical power, battery or re-chargeable batteries

Has anyone hung a picture using something other than tack?  What?

What is the most complicated thing you have made? or built?

Have you ever fixed or helped to fix a household item?  What?  Did you have directions?  
At this point I highly encouraged the girls to help the next time Mom or Dad is putting together something in the house that requires directions, i.e. a new entertainment center, large toy for a sibling, swing set, installing a washer.  Girls can learn a lot from reading directions, handing tools to Dad and simply watching. 

If something breaks in your home, do your parents call a handyman or repair service?  Do they attempt to fix it on their own?
I encouraged the girls to try and fix items that break in the household through trial and error, especially if they plan on calling a handyman any ways.  They might just get lucky and fix it themselves, building their confidence, saving money and learning a lot in the process.

Where to start?  Consider re-purposing or sprucing up existing furniture.  How?
I showed the girls some great photos of Furniture Upscaling, simply taking an old piece of furniture in their attic, from a garage sale or thrift store and transforming it into something different and new. You can view my Pinterest Board, "Upscaling Furniture", by searching for my pins Shannan Willman-Needleman

Most importantly I tried to make them realize that in the near future they will move on to college and Mom and Dad will not always be around to help hang a picture and they will not be able to afford brand new, nice furniture, but they can fix things on their own and build things to meet their needs with some simple knowledge and the confidence to try on their own.

Next we talked about some very important safety tips:
Dress appropriately.  Do not wear gloves, ties, scarves, loose fitting clothing or jewelry around moving equipment.
Avoid distractions at all times.
Always wear safety equipment such as goggles, face shields, dust masks, and hearing protection appropriate for the type of tool or equipment being used.
Keep the working area and floor clean.
Do not stand in water or use any electrical equipment in the rain.
Be sure all equipment is properly grounded before use.
Always use the correct tools and equipment for the job.  Never use a tool or attachment on a machine for which it was not designed.
Before plugging in a machine, make sure the switch is in the OFF position.  Keep the power cords away from equipment while operating.

We ended our discussion with a quick Hardware Challenge Worksheet I created and we reviewed some hardware facts.  E-Mail me and I am happy to send these pdf files to you.

Opening Activity:  20 minutes
Each girl got a block of wood and was asked to drill in one flathead phillips screw.  First they tried to drill in the screw by hand using a phillips screwdriver.  Next they attempted to use a small drill, the Black and Decker Gyro.  They attempted WITHOUT a pilot hole and struggled.  So I taught them how to drill a small pilot hole using a drill bit and then they screwed in 2 screws and REMOVED them.  
***The Black & Decker Gyro is one of the niftiest power tools on the market.  It is perfect for every hand size and operates with the flick of the wrist.  It comes in black and pink as a lady version.  And the drill makes a great graduation gift :-)***  It is a nice tool for girls.

In hind sight I probably would have chosen one of these activities below rather than trying to fit in both during our 3 hour, once a month Sunday meeting.  Some girls were focused and nearly finished both, others barely got one done.  If you have 2 meetings, you might be able to do both.  It would be hard to choose one or the other however, the girls really liked both.

Lighted Wooden Letters (1 hour Minimum):
Goal:  Girls will learn how to use a power drill and spray paint

I purchased each girl their first name letter from Hobby Lobby ($3.99).
I purchased 20 mini lights battery operated string lights ($3.99)
Additional Supplies:
Spray Paint
Painter's Tape
Staple Gun and Staples (mine was electric, but any heavy duty stapler would suffice)
Power Drill with a 13/64th drill bit (preferably electric, my rechargeable battery power drill lost                    power after the 4 or 5th letter)

Directions:  Have the girls pencil 12-15 dots on the letters evenly spaced and avoid the edges of the letter, so try and have them stay relatively midline

Using the 13/64 bit, drill holes where the girls penciled the dots.  Allow the girls to drill the holes, watch closely and offer assistance.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SCRAP PIECE OF WOOD BELOW THE LETTER BECAUSE THE DRILL BIT WILL DRILL THROUGH THE LETTER AND INTO THE SCRAP WOOD.  

Next have the girls paint the letter.  My daughter chose to use chalkboard paint, some girls created chevrons using painter's tape.  I had a variety of spray paint colors.  The girls were asked to spray outside in the grass using an old cardboard box.  This dries within 15 minutes to touch.  

Finally the girls poked the lights through the holes and I stapled the wires into place.  I would not let the girls use the electric stapler, but they could probably use a simple heavy duty stapler.

PRESTO!  The girl's were mesmerized by the light and the marque-look.  They can hang the letters, but I recommend a tripod for display so you can set the relatively heavy battery box next to the letter.

Wood String-Art Elephant (1 hour Minimum):
I really worried the girls might not be able to handle this project, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The girls loved hammering and did amazingly well.  
Goal:  Girls will use hammer, nails and stain

Wooden Plaque from Wal-Mart ($3.49)
Grey String from Wal-Mart (100yards for $1.99, can make 2 or more)
Nails (18gauge, 3/4in length, make sure the nails have a head or the string  will pop off)
Tack hammer from Wal-Mart ($2.79)
Foam Brush
Mechanical Pencil (lead removed) 
Elephant Template (printed on simple, white computer paper)
Saw-Tooth Picture Hanger

Stain the wood and remove the excess with a damp cloth (baby wipes).  Allow to dry for a few minutes.  
Set elephant template on the plaque and place 3 nails on the 3 dots on the template to hold into place. Nails do not have to go in deep, merely a few taps to press the nails in 1/4 of the way. Continue taping in nails every 1cm or less, not too close, not too far away :-)

Once all the nails have been placed, remove the template by simply ripping it off the plaque.  
Next, I used an exacto knife to create a small hole in the side of the mechanical pencil and thread the string through the hole and out the tip of the pencil.  This step is CRITICAL and was a fantastic Pinterest suggestion.  I am not sure the girls could have completed the stringing part without it.  
Click here for the Mechanical Pencil Tip:
(The only difference I made my hole closer to the tip)
I DID NOT LET THEG IRLS USE THE EXACTO KNIFE.  I had these ready for use at the meeting.

Knot the thread onto one nail and begin the stringing part.  It is really self explanatory if you look at the picture really well.  Tip:  Be sure and double wind the string around a nail after every 3-4 nails, this will ensure that the string stays in place.  At the end simply double knot the string and trim.

Embellish with gems or sequins near the trunk.  We used E-6000 to adhere the sequins.

Turn over plaque and hammer in the saw-tooth hanger.

Here is one of the girl's elephant:

Awesome Right?

Please e-mail me if you would like any of the files to complete these projects: