We use our five senses without even knowing it, and we can make the girls more aware of them while earning the Brownie Girl Scout Senses badge. The activities for earning this badge are a lot of fun and can easily be completed in one Brownie meeting.
Once the meeting has started, ask the girls to name the five senses. List them on the board (if you have one) and ask why each one is important and how life would be different without one of them. You can talk about how the founder of the Girl Scout of America, Juliette Gordon Low, was mostly deaf due to an accident on her wedding day. Her disability did not stop her from doing something great with her life!
You can also talk with the girls how to protect their senses from harm. For example, they can protect their sight while outside by wearing sunglasses and not staring directly into the sun. They can protect their hearing by not listening to music played too loudly while wearing earphones or ear buds. Staying away from hot surfaces and wearing gloves when it is cold protects their fingers, and therefore, their sense of touch.
Here are activities to earn the badge. Because some of these activities use food and other items that may be related to someone’s allergies, make sure that every girl can participate safely before doing it with your troop.
Step 1 Look Around
- A large bag with 10-15 random items of your choosing
- Paper and pencils for each girl
With our eyes, we have the power to observe everything around us (especially if we look up from our phones!). Hand out a piece of paper and a pencil for each girl and have her put it down by her feet and not in her hands. Tell them that you are going to dump the contents of the bag onto the table and that they will have 15 seconds to see what they are.
Then you will take the objects away and each girl will quietly write down exactly what she saw in detail. She should be as descriptive as possible. For example, if you have a pink sock, then the girls should write “pink sock” and not just “a sock”.
After a minute, have the girls share what they wrote down. Then take out the contents of the bag to see what was missed. You might also want your co-leader to keep track of the objects that were mentioned the most. Was a neon green pencil selected more than an empty water bottle? Was a large juice carton mentioned more than a sewing needle?
Talk about the discrepancies and why they might have occurred.
Use Optical Illusions -Another Look Around Activity
Our sense of sight tells us much about the world. But is what we see truly what it appears to be?
Run off optical illusions sheets for each girl. Number each page so everyone is looking at the same object. Discuss what they see-or what they think they see!
Use a Mirror for the Look Around Activity
The girls can use a mirror for this activity to earn the Senses patch.
- One mirror for each girl
With the girls, talk about what a reflection is and how a mirror works. The challenge for this activity is for the children to write their first and last names backwards, so when they look at it with a mirror, it appears the right way!
Step 2 Listen to the World
Make a Sound Guessing Game
Life is full of sound. Take time to listen!
- CD/phone app of different sounds that you have made
Have each child number their paper. Play a sound and have them write their guesses. When all of the sounds have been heard, let the girls share what they thought it was. Then tell them the answer.
Afterwards, go outside if you can and listen to the sounds around you.
Step 3 Put Your Nose to Work
Make a Bag of Smells
Life is full of odors. Here is an activity to see if the girls can identify what they are.
- Brown lunch bags labeled 1,2,3,4, etc. (as many as you want to prepare)
- Bar of soap
- Paper for writing guesses
Ask the girls what smells their noses find pleasing (cookies baking, turkey roasting) and bring happy memories. Then ask what smells they do not like (make sure to remind them to keep it appropriate).
Line up the girls and have them put their nose in a bag. Do not let them peek inside and make sure they do not tell what they think it is. Have them write the number of the bag and their guess to what it is. When all of the girls have finished, go bag by bag and share the guesses. When all have had a turn, remove the item from the bag. Do this for each bag you have.
Step 4 Take a Taste Test
If you have no food allergies, then this is a tasty activity for you to do with your troop.
- Salty pretzels
- Sour Patch Kids candy
- Small piece of bitter chocolate
- Plate for each girl
- Parts of the tongue sheet run off for each child
Talk about the four different tastes that our tongues have while the girls are looking at the sheet. Ask them what their favorite foods from each group.
While you are talking, have your co-leader make a plate for each girl. Explain to the girls that they cannot eat the food until you tell them which one to try. Start with the marshmallow and have them point to the part of the tongue that senses this taste. Repeat for each food on the plate.
Step 5 Touch and Feel
Make Sensory Boxes
This activity tests the girls sense of touch. If you do not have a sink nearby, then make sure you have plenty of wipes and a trash can nearby! You may want an additional volunteer for this to help the girls clean up between guesses.
- Containers filled with different foods, such as cooked spaghetti, pudding, grapes, whipped topping, Jello, apples, crackers
- Wipes, napkins, paper towels
- Large piece of cardboard with a hole cut out, large enough for the girls to put their hands in
- Chart for the girls’ guesses
Before the meeting, make a chart with each girl’s name and leave a space for each guess. Your co-leader will be the scribe for each girls’ guess, because their hands will be sticky!
Have each child place her hand in the container that is hidden behind the cardboard. She will whisper the guess to your co-leader. When everyone has tried each item, share their guesses and reveal the results.
*If you do not want to use food, use common items found outside and around the house, like rocks, sand, pine cones, a plastic spoon, paper, aluminum foil, etc.
What has your troop done to earn the Brownie Senses badge?