Monday, May 21, 2012

Not your mama's Gardening badge

I realize many kids don't realize that a carrot comes from anything but a plastic baggie, and that many others have never had the thrill of playing with those "helicopter" leaves. But I had to admit, for our soon to be second-grade girls, the Plants badge for Brownies was just too rudimentary. (Particularly since they did the gardening journey series in kindergarten.)

The great thing about our Girl Scout council is that they encourage adaptation of badge requirements to fit the girls' needs. So we took advantage of the idea, and tossed the whole Plants Try-It on its side. (I should note: This badge was being retired and nothing remotely was taking its place, a miss I think for the Girl Scouts!)

Instead of seed starting and plant rubbings, here's what our Brownies are doing this month:

Planting a vegetable garden for the sisters who live at our church's convent. The girls got a huge kick out of starting their seeds last year and planting the garden, which fed the nuns all summer. So much so that we're having another planting night later this month, after the risk of frost has passed.

Growing their own mushrooms. Thanks to a very kind donation of mushroom kits from Back to the Roots, the girls are growing their very own oyster mushrooms. The kits themselves are being divided into sections of 4 to 6 mini-mushroom kits.

Experimenting with seed paper. After getting a cute wildflower seed paper from the University of Kansas during a fundraising campaign last month, I contacted the alumni association about getting seed papers from envelopes with bad mailing addresses for the girls to try out. (If that fails, I'll make my own homemade seed paper to share with the girls. Making homemade paper during a Brownie meeting can be the epitome of mess!)

Making pressed flower and leaf cards. I found this great activity on that we'll be sure to try!

What other great ways have you found to teach children about plants and gardening?

1 comment:

mythreewonders said...

Those are all great ideas! We are not in an organization like the Girl Scouts, but my boys' school has a great organic garden and program much of their science curriculum around it. They lear about rainwater harvesting, compost, chickens, types of edible plants to grow and how they begin, working in a greenhouse, weeding and care of the garden, and how important it is for all people to have access to fresh fruits and veggies (all produce grown is donated to the local food pantry).