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.
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