One of the parts of the Girl Scout Law is to “Use Resources Wisely”. As a child of the 70’s, I used to watch the Public Service Announcements for not polluting with Woodsy Owl. People who cared for the environment were seen as “crunchy granola types” and were very advant garde for the times. The only reason adults of that time were conservationists was to save money. Turning out the lights when they were not in use was not to save the Earth, but to save your parents’ wallets.
My children have grown up with recycle bins at home, at school, at local parks, and at our synagogue. This is simply a way of life now and throwing paper goods or cans and bottles is only done by accident. Canvas bags are kept in my car for quick errands and a large bag of them is taken to the supermarket for each weekly trip.
Many children today are also eating a lot cleaner that I did as a child. Bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread with Hi C punch in my thermos and a Twinkie for dessert was a normal lunch. Today, kids are eating non-sulfate lunch meats on wheat bread or bringing hummus with vegetables as a lunch. Juice is organic or kids simply drink water. Snacks are natural and made with no high fructose corn syrup.
Because the concept of saving the earth, eating healthy and using natural products is a part of our lifestyle now and even our school curriculum, earning the Brownie Household Elf Badge is an easy Try It to earn in one meeting.
Step 1 Save Energy
This is an easy part of the badge to earn because the girls should have a wide knowledge base. Read one of these books for children that is directly related to saving energy as a launch for discussion.
This book shares the story of what happens to a community that has a power blackout. It is available on Amazon.
One way to extend this discussion at home is to put the girls "in charge" of making sure the lights are turned off when a room is empty. Have them search for "vampire energy eaters", aka,things that are plugged in when not in use. Have them ask an adult to unplug it for them.
Step 2 Save Water
Another quick step is to discuss ways that you can save water. Shorter showers, turning off the water when brushing their teeth and not letting the water run when the dishes are being done are just a few things to list. Your co-leader or you can write down the response to send in a follow-up email to parents.
Step 3 Go Natural (craft)
- Spray bottle
- Ingredients to make your cleaner (your choice-sites for recipes below)
- Paper or plastic tablecloth to protect the table
- Sieve for pouring
- Labels for bottles
Many household cleaners are full of strong and powerful chemicals that can cause reactions in some people. Our ancestors knew the cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar long before Windex was invented.
You can have the girls make their own natural spray cleaner. You can purchase cheap spray bottles at the Dollar Store or a big box retailer. Depending on what you decide to make, you can make your own labels for the girls to place on them once the mix has been made.
Here are a few sites for you to check out and see which natural cleaner you want to make.
Non Toxic Home Cleaning (fewer choices if 67 is too much for you to peruse)
Step 4 Reuse or Recycle
As a teacher, I have always saved everything because you never know when it can be repurposed for a craft!
In past generations, things were rarely tossed out, they were used up until they could not be used anymore.
This is a great time to do intertwine a community service project. For the Bronze Award, my troop made toys for the animals at a local no-kill shelter. We made cat toys our of toilet paper tubes and tug toysfor dogs out of tee shirts.
If these crafts are not for your troop, then they can decorate canvas tote bags that they can bring to the store when they are out shopping with their parents. Instead of a boring old bag, they can really bling theirs out! Use stampers, jewels, Sharpies...anything you want!
Available on Amazon, this tote bag comes in a bulk set of 12 and measures 8 inches by 8 inches with a 5 inch drop handle.
Step 5 Clear the Air (craft)
Having fresh air to breathe inside our homes is important.
Sometimes things get stinky and we need to make it smell fresher.
If you want, bring in a can of freshener and have the girls try to read the ingredients. Pretty scary!
Instead, you can use another spray bottle and make your own room freshener. Here are some recipes that do not require heating.
How have your girls earned the Brownie Household Elf Try it?