Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brownie "Senses" Badge


I kicked off my 2nd year of Brownies with the Senses Badge.  I have to say this was a really fun badge to earn and the girls loved the activities I put together for them.  Since this was the first meeting of the year, my time management skills were off.  We had to break this up into 2 meetings which was perfectly fine with the girls, they had so much fun!

We identified and discussed all 5 senses using the pointers in the Girl Guide.
First we tested our hearing.  I created a CD with 10 sounds:  siren, mad cat, bowling, rain falling, glass breaking, lawn mower, typewriter, ice dropping into a cup, cow bell and hiccup.  Some were more challenging than others, not one of my 26 Brownies knew the sound of a typewriter :-(
I allowed them to listen to the sound twice and asked them to write down the answer and then we reviewed all the sounds again and I asked for answers.  They had fun with this exercise and it forced them to listen and be quiet for a few minutes!
I used my Quicktime application to record audio on my computer (under File - "New Audio Recording") and then burned the clips to a CD.  I found lots of fun sounds here:   http://www.findsounds.com/types.html

Now, the girls were primed for some real fun.  I split the girls into even groups and they visited 3 stations:  taste, touch and smell.  I purchased thick fabric elastic headbands at the Dollar Tree, 3 bands for $1.  The girls each got one to keep and used them as blindfolds.  They were a bit tight, but insured no peeking!
At the Tasting Station the girls were asked to put on their blindfolds and I put several tastes in their mouth: salty pretzel, dill pickle, icing (used popsicle stick), lemon juice (used cut straws with my fingertip over the end to capture a small amount of lemon juice and dropped into their mouths) and peppermint gum.  The girls looked like baby birds with their mouths open.  They were a bit apprehensive, but I was proud that they willingly tried everything!  A testament to Girl Scouting, explore new things.  My only caution to leaders is to choose smart foods and avoid any foods that may pose allergies.  Duncan Hines makes an icing not made in a nut factory.  I hid my box of goodies behind a cardboard box so the girls could not see my items.
We rotated and some girls then enjoyed the Smelling Station.  This was a bit trickier for me, but Dollar Tree was filled with fun smells like: carmex lip balm, cinnamon, pine tree car deodorizer, Baby Magic, chlorine, strawberry shower gel and fingernail polish remover.   I placed a small amount of each item in 2 oz mini-cup with lid I bought at Wal-Mart.  I identified the items with a simple number on the top.  I asked the girls to use their blind folds and then the line of girls smelled each fragrance and got a minute to write down their answers.  They were pretty accurate, although they thought chlorine and polish remover were cleaners.  Cinnamon was also hard for some to identify.

Finally they LOVED the Touch Station!!!!  Here the girls got to stick their hands in oozy-gooey fun, blindfolded!  They got to feel: shaving cream, a scratchy sponge, cotton balls, rice pudding, red marachino cherries.  My parent helper at this station is still not talking to me.
I thought we could blow through these activities in a half hour, but was I sorely mistaken this took the full 1 hour left in our meeting.

So the next meeting we talked in depth about sight.  We talked about what it would be like to live without our sight.  My co-leader talked about a really unique experience she had at a fancy restaurant where they provided a night of blind eating.  All the people enjoyed a gourmet meal served by a blind staff in complete darkness!  She was told prior to the event that senses are often accentuated when you lose your sight, so her meal would have more flavor.  She said the experience was actually quite frustrating. She did not know what she was eating because she could not see her plate, it took her far longer to get a bite and she even stabbed her cheek a couple of times with her fork.  Plus, she said she was a mess after the event because so much of her food fell of her fork.  All in all it was an "eye-opening" experience and really helped her to appreciate seeing her food the next meal.  The girls and I will have to say I enjoyed this story.
Next we played the "Tray Game".  I loaded a tray with 23 common household items like a paperclip, safety pin, sun glasses, hair bow, barrette, cotton ball, fingernail polish, tooth brush, queen of hearts playing card, #2 pencil, eraser, green crayon, plastic fork, etc.  The girls had 1 minute to stare at the tray and then the tray was removed.  Each girl was handed a sheet of paper and they had to recall as many items as they could.  I gave bonus points if they remembered the color of items too.
Finally, I quizzed the girls on how blind people read.  And then we talked about the history of braille and briefly how it is deciphered much like dominoes.  I had several braille books from the library to pass around and then the girls got a chance at school to find braille on signs.  All the doors have signs to the bathroom, cafeteria, gym with braille below the words.  Then the girls wrote their name in Braille using gems.  My girls are all about bling so this was a fun craft.  I cut neon poster board in half and created a template for them on the computer so basically they just had to cut and paste.  Each girl received the alphabet in Braille and had to decipher and spell their name using the Braille alphabet.  To add to the fun, I collected all the name plates and randomly handed them back to the girls and they had to decipher another girl's name.  They enjoyed the mystery of this, it was like a decoder game. Here is my daughter's name in Braille: Reagan


I have attached the braille template we used and the braille alphabet.  Click the links below if you are interested in getting the Braille Template, Alphabet and my notes in a pdf format for easy printing:
Braille Craft Template  (Print on LEGAL sized paper)

Thank you to ALL the leaders that have contacted me requesting the pdf files.  It is reassurance to me that my blog is helping others YEAH!  
If you download my files please list your troop #, council and state in the comments area.  I love for readers to see all the active leaders in the area looking and sharing resources! Also this keeps me inspired to continue updating my posts!g!

I have been asked where you can find the gems for this craft and the answer is Hobby Lobby.  You can get a huge bucket of multi-colored gems for $15.99 (sku # 750257), but don't forget to use your 40% off coupon and troops qualify for tax-deductible sales as well.  
You can purchase on-line here:




47 comments:

  1. what a fantastic recap!!!! can I join your troop?? ;) Also, can I have your braille files? My juniors are working on the dective badge, and one of the skills is to write in code. While this isn't really a code, I think it would really drive home for them!!!! My email is troop1767@gmail.com

    Thank you!!!!!
    Bridget =)

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  2. Great idea!! I would love to get a copy of your braille files. My Brownie troop is working on the senses badge and this would help out. My email is janice_faulkner@yahoo.com

    Thanks
    Jan

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  3. Great info! This made my planning for our next meeting much easier!

    Thank you!!!
    Keri

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  4. Love it - using your plan at my next meeting! :) Thank you.

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  5. Love your Blog! Our troop is joining with other Junior troops and putting on a workshop for our younger sister troops and would love to incorporate your braille ideas. If you wouldn't mind please send us a copy of the braille files: rachelsunday.zimmerman@gmail.com

    Thank you for your wonderful ideas!

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  6. Love these ideas! Would love to use your braille ideas, would you mind sending me a copy please? My girls will love it! wpfeiffer4@yahoo.com much appreciated!

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  7. Please email me also your Braille forms!!! Thank you! Oestreichmisty@aol.com

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  8. Great ideas! Please email me also your Braille form!
    Thank you!
    lemay.nd@gmail.com

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  9. Thank you so much for the great ideas! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Braille name craft!

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  10. this lesson on the five senses is really good. thank you so much for sharing!

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  11. I did this in my kindergarten classroom for our Five Senses Unit! They loved it! I referred to it at my blog with a link to your site! Mrsdavisdigskindergarten.blogspot.com Thank you so much for sharing!

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  12. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing!

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  13. We did a version of your ideas today, and I can't thank you enough - a HUGE hit and a great way to kick off a new Brownie year - we talked about how we use all of our senses as Brownies! For smells, I found little plastic cups that worked great, and used a range of things around the house: hand sanitizer, coffee, grape jelly - the girls hated it - sunscreen, minty mouthwash, white vinegar, cinnamon, etc., and made a little sheet for the girls to guess what it is and whether they thought it was a good smell or not. And I had them reach into paper bags to find all sorts of tactile things. We signed the girl scout pledge and did the sounds exercise and Brailled our names. The blind taste test was a huge home run! Thank you, thank you, for sharing your great ideas!!

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  14. WOW! Awesome! I am so glad you were able to adapt the concepts for your troop. It is a fun badge! And probably a meeting the girls will never forget :-)

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  15. This is great!! So helpful for this full time working mom and brownie leader!!!!

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  16. Thanking you. Was looking for an activity on Braille for joeys and cubs. Perfect.
    Tamworth Oxley Cub Pack Australia

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  17. Thank you SO MUCH--PLEASE KEEP POSTING!!
    My girls are going to love this! :-)

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  18. I am SO glad I found you!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic ideas! Can't wait to start using them!

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  19. This is FANTASTIC!! Our girls will be working on their badge in February. I can't wait to do some of the above activities. Thank you, thank you!!!

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  20. I am doing this at our meeting this evening! Thanks! SO...... excited to see what the girls think:)

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  21. Thank you so much. I cant tell you how much I appreciate the mothers and leaders that take their time to post the plans on Pinterest. You have saved my troop and added spice to our meetings.

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  22. Hi were can I get a copy of the 5 step requirements?

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  23. Hi simply e-mail me: girlscoutleaderx2@gmail.com

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  24. Fabulous! Now I have 2 meetings planned out!

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  25. OMG can you come run my troop? This is the BEST! Especially the name in Braille! Thank you for this!

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  26. You just saved me. Thanks so much for posting these ideas!!

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  27. I absolutely love your blog. I've used your ideas many times. I'm using the braille idea later this week. You rock!

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  28. Thank you for the kind comment Teri. The Braille project is super fun and has been used by teachers on several occasions. I love exchanging them and having the girls figure out the names. They pick it up pretty quick!

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  29. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing ideas! I am hosting my very first Brownie troop meeting & I LOVE all your ideas.

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  30. Love the braille idea! I wanted to do something with the braille but it seemed (for my sighted brownies) to be more about looking than touching, but the gems are perfect! Thanks for sharing :)

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  31. Did this today! They said it was the best meeting so far! We listened to 10 sounds and guessed what they were. Made names in Braille, used foam circles instead, store was out of the gems. Then smelled 6 things, tasted 5 things and put hands in 3 different textures all blindfolded. Then I shared a Braille book I got free from the local Braille Institute along with cards they give you an idea of what it's like to be blind the 5 different kinds. Brochure of the youth programs they offer. Oh and I had the girls open a jar of peanut butter and spread it onto a cracker blindfolded and eat it. It was funny. They were supposed to put the lid back on but they were too busy laughing! ��

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  32. I LOVE the idea of having the girls do things blindfolded. That really places them in a position to be empathetic to what the blind population experiences daily.
    My co-leader said a restaurant in our area served dinner in the dark so you could not see what was being served and the waiters did not tell you what you were eating. She said it was a really interesting experience and that all the foods had a stronger smell and flavor. She also said she was covered in food when she finished her meal :-)

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  33. I LOVE you ideas!! I will be doing this with our troop as soon as we are done with our WOW! Thanks for posting it!!

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  34. I love these ideas! I think my troop will have so much fun with this...thank you for posting!

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  35. I WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR YOUR SENSE BADGE PROGRAM. I WAS WORKING 12-15 HOUR DAYS THIS WEEK IF YOU INCLUDE HOUSE WORK/KIDS WITH REGULAR WORK AND I HAD TWO HOURS TO PREPARE AN ACTIVITY FOR OUR TROOP MEETING TODAY. EVERYTHING WENT GREAT AND MY BROWNIES HAD A BLAST. I WAS VERY SURPRISED THAT THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT BRAILLE IS AND THIS WAS A GREAT LEARNING OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM. THANKS SO MUCH!

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  36. Thank you Mel. I am so glad I could help you out. It takes a village!

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  37. Thank you so much for your blog. Its a tremendous help!

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  38. Thank you so much for this post - my co-leader and took your template and had a terrific meeting with our troop yesterday. The girls really enjoyed it!

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  39. My Daisies are bridging in June. I now have to step up as the leader who teaches. I was just the admin for the troop. Second leader is moving. I do not have a BS or teaching experience. So I am at a total lost and I am unable to find a second leader. THANK YOU for the three skills badges that you have posted. I wish you had all 26 posted.

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  40. This is such great info! I appreciate the help. Troop 536, Granger, IA.

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  41. Troop 75148. Joliet, IL

    Thank you!

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  42. Thank you for posting this. We are using the Braille activity for tomorrow night's troop meeting in Eastern Pennsylvania. :-)

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  43. Thank you so much - am working on senses badge with 3rd graders in Chicago and we are following your plan! Thanks for sharing.

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  44. Troop 5942 Pickerington, Ohio

    Thanks for the great ideas!!

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  45. I love the ideas you have included - thank you so much! We will be using many of your ideas for our next meeting for Troop 70908 in Springfield, Missouri.

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