Friday, August 27, 2010

Starting our second year!

We are getting ready to start our second year together as a troop! It's so exciting. There are so many ideas bouncing around in my head. We will start this year with our first Daisy Journey, "Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden". The journey book will teach us about becoming leaders.
journey book
We will also be learning to do basic sewing. Our first project will be making pincushions using this design:
Pincushion Jar
Click here to see the full tutorial on CraftPudding.
The only difference is that I will be using small plastic jars instead of baby food jars. The plastic jars are much less breakable and so are better suited to the girls. I plan to have the girls work on their pincushions at our first meeting in September after we finish our work in the Journey books. I am also planning to have 2 or 3 sewing machines at the meeting so that the girls can start working on their water bottle carriers.
The carriers are made from fleece. I think fleece is nice to start with since it doesn't fray. The girls will sew a simple zig-zag seam to make the bag and then can cut the fleece to tie the sides into "tassles". You can click here to see a .pdf with instructions. They are rough instructions as I created the project as I went yesterday.
I think that our troop will have nice results taking turns working on projects. The projects will take more than one meeting but that is okay, since girls sometimes have to miss meetings.

Here are some of our goals for 2010-2011:
1. Complete "Welcome to the Daisy Garden" journey
2. Complete 5 simple sewing projects
a. make a pincushion
b. make a water bottle carrier
c. make a pillow
d. make a SWAP sash
e. make a bean bag frog
3. Complete "Between Earth and Sky" journey
4. Host a SWAP

Monday, August 16, 2010

Daisy/Brownie Camp 2010

The girls
The first weekend of August 4 girls from my troop attended Daisy/Brownie camp with 20 other girls. It was quite an exciting 3 days! The Brownies and the older Daisies who are bridging to Brownie this year were working for 3 Try-Its, Art to Wear, Science in Action and Colors & Shapes. Each Try-It requires 4 projects to complete. My girls cannot earn Try-Its yet, so I found corresponding patches for them online: tie-dye t-shirts, science and painting (art).

We started Friday off with setting up camp and then assigning girls to the tents & tent moms. Each girl was also given a number to help us identify her projects. I had my daughter, 2 girls from my troop and the daughter of another leader who couldn't stay on the campsite (no dads are allowed to be tent dads.) We made our first project, permanent sand-castles (Colors and Shapes). Permanent Sand Castles
Then we had a very nice woman come and talk to the girls about constellations, they drew their own star charts and then she drew a large star chart on the sidewalk for them. Our snack was banana boats.

Banana Boats:
Large bananas still in the peel (greener ones work better)
Chocolate chips
Slice the bananas length-wise, but not all the way through. Have girls fill the bananas with their choice of toppings -- not too full! Then tightly wrap the bananas in foil. Place bananas into the coals of the fire for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Friday night was a true test of our campers, the winds coming off of the lake were so strong! Carey's tent half-collapsed during the night and she moved her girls to Loretta's tent. In the morning her tent blew all the way down, and as it had been serving as a wind block for my tent, my tent went down too! Loretta's tent ended up collapsing too. We started the day with tie-dyed t-shirts (Art to Wear). I taught them and by the time I was done my whole left hand was purple! I showed the girls the different ways to tie their shirts and after they did the tying, the tent moms helped with the dying. We did learn that we should have washed the shirts first, as the sizing prevented the dye from soaking right in. After the shirts were dyed, we wrapped them in plastic wrap and marked them with the girls' numbers. They were left in the sun for the rest of the day to cure.
Tie-dye curing in the sung

Nila came up from Sioux Falls and brought a bounce house for the girls. We tried to have stuff available to keep them busy during their downtime since laying down in the tents wasn't an option. While the girls were playing in the bounce house and blowing bubbles, I enlisted the help of Bridget and Emily in pulping the shredded paper I brought. We pulped the shredded paper and the wood shavings in 2 old blenders. Be sure to put a lot of water into the blender so it doesn't get locked up.
All the pulped paper was dumped into a large plastic bin to soak and soften until we were ready to start the project after lunch. After lunch 1/2 of the girls went to work on Pounded Flowers (Colors & Shapes), and the other half came to work with me on Paper Making (Science in Action). To give each girl a chance to make her own individual sheet of recycled paper, I started with 2 dozen wooden frames I picked up at the dollar store. Becke and I removed all of the glass and metal from the frames and then I stapled sheets of window screen to the back of the frames. I used animal screening because it was cheaper than aluminum screening but also because I was worried that the aluminum would have sharp edges. Each girl received 1 frame with her number written on it. Then I dumped 3 or 4 scoops of pulp onto it and let the girls spread it out and squeeze out as much water as possible. Once the girls felt their paper was perfect, they were laid out in the sun to dry.
Sammi & I with her paper
The left-over paper pulp was dried as much as possible and then Carey, Nila and I formed it into balls (about the size of baseballs) to use as fire starters at camp.
That afternoon we took a nature walk with the girls, which was a nice treat, as the trails were much cooler thanks to all the shade. At the butterfly garden we found a leopard frog, which was the highlight of the hike.

Saturday evening we noticed the barometer dropping and were really worried about storms. The police told us the winds were supposed to drop off and the skies were supposed to be clear, so we stayed at camp. We did decide to try to finish up early the next day because the heat index was supposed to be in the high 90s. So the plan for Saturday night was to break the girls up into small groups and rotate through activities. Loretta taught the girls to make Mobiles (Colors & Shapes), Brandy taught the girls to make Friendship Bracelets (Art to Wear), Carey helped the girls rinse out their t-shirts,
Rinsed t-shirts

and I taught the girls to make Lava Lamps (Science in Action) and Color Plates (Science in Action).
Lava Lamp
Lava Lamps:
Fill a pint jar 1/2 full with water
Add 2-3 drops food coloring
Fill jar to within .5 inches of the top with cooking oil or mineral oil
Drop in 1/4 tablet of alka-seltzer and watch the "lava" action
I used the lava lamps as a chance to talk to the girls about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and why it is so important to keep our oceans clean.
Color Plates:
Color Plate
The girls each colored a paper plate that had been divided into 8 sections and had 2 holes punched in it close to the center. Once colored a string could be put through the holes to create one big loop. The idea is to twist the string tightly so that as it unwinds the plate spins, creating the optical illusion of "mixing" the colors of the rainbow back into white. The demonstration plate didn't work out so well, but Jeanette, Emily and I were quick to come up with a solution. The plate was taped to a lazy susan and spun back and forth very quickly. The girls said they saw the illusion of white.

The next morning we needed to accomplish tearing down camp, finishing the Colors & Shape Try-it and the Science in Action Try-it. After camp was torn down I took the girls and had them start on autograph books. To incorporate colors and shapes, I had them each make a crayon rubbing of a small leaf on a page of the autograph book and sign their name. We passed the books around in a cycle to ensure every girl worked on every book.
Autograph books/leaf rubbings
It was time consuming but it allowed Loretta to make the Ooblek Goop for our last Science in Action activity. The girls loved the goop, especially since Emily had read Bartholomew and the Ooblek by Dr. Seuss to them the day before. It was probably the most popular project of the weekend. Thankfully the girls all got home before the heat set in and we had camp cleaned up before the heavy rains started.