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Last Minute Thanksgiving Activities

Last week, we posted a Plants Try It plan with a Thanksgiving Twist (It can also be easily adapted to Daisies) – here are some additional Thanksgiving ideas. 

We like to make our last meeting before Thanksgiving more of a party.  Typically, we don’t work on badges, etc.  Here are some fun, last minute activities you can do that tie into the Thanksgiving theme.

If you haven’t already made the Corn Meal playdough from our Plants Try It post, click here for the recipe.

Thankfulness Bag We start with an empty paper bag, with the works “I Am Thankful For…” with scraps of paper, markers, crayons and pencils.   Girls can write or draw things they are thankful for.  Afterwards, you can share these with the troop and parents.  It’s really neat to see what the girls value.

Corn Husk Dolls – This is a fun activity because it really ties in with the law Using Resources Wisely.  In the past, people didn’t waste a thing, and the husk from corn was no exception.  Dried corn husks can easily be found in the hispanic food section of most grocery stores.  Here is a great link to make your doll.  Our girls really enjoyed this activity.

Corn Graphing – You can reinforce math skills already taking place in the classroom by graphing.  We provided three types of corn – popcorn, cream corn and candy corn for the girls to taste.  Then we had the girls raise their hands (they could also fill in for themselves on the graph) for which of the corn was their favorite.  Then create a simple graph.  Here is an example of an empty graph sheet (although there are many more choices than we provided).  

Hats here is a link for pilgrim hats.  You can also let the girls choose to make Native American hats by providing feathers, etc.   

Knitting Iris has a cute picture of a leaf turkey.  You can easily tie this into the Leaf Hunt Activity #4 from the Plants Try It (page 123).  





Little Nummies has a great snack idea.  Check it out here.  littlenummiesacorns


Plants Try It With A Thanksgiving Twist

Pilgrims of Plymouth
This activity can be easily adapted to Daisies.

The Plants Try It can take place over two meetings, ending close to Thanksgiving.  Read the book The Pilgrims of Plymouth, which we’ve had no trouble finding at the library, or you can purchase at Amazon by clicking here.  

Discuss with the children the pilgrim’s life.  Did they have a grocery store to buy food, etc?  Talk about how important it was that the Indians taught them how to grow corn (which you can tie into several different laws – Considerate and Caring, Friendly and Helpful).

The girls might enjoy a popcorn song (original author unknown):

One little kernel (Hold up one finger)
Sleeping in the pot. (Curl up and pretend to sleep)
Turn on the heat
And watch it pop. (Jump into the air)
Popping, hopping popcorn (Hop around)
A munchy, crunchy treat. (Pretend to eat)
Pour on the butter (Pretend to pour on butter)
And let me eat! (Pretend to eat)


Now would be a great time to pop corn for the girls.  If possible, use a popcorn popper that allows the girls to see the corn as it heats up, or even an air popper.  Most girls have had microwave popcorn, but may have never experienced popping corn in a popper.
Corn Is MaizeEat popcorn and share parts of the book Corn is Maize.  This book is a little long to read, so look at the book before the meeting and read the parts your girls will find the most interesting and you find the most educational.  


The Plants Try-It is a favorite for our girls, and the best time is Fall, when there are a lot of leaves on the ground.

Activity #4 – Leaf Hunt (page 123 in Try It book – Plants) 

We went on a nature walk around our meeting area searching for unique leaves.   When we returned and made rubbings. Activity #2 (page 122 in Try It book – Plants)

Depending on how far your girls walked, or how warm your Autumn may be, the girls might be hot, thirsty and ready for a snack (although do we really need a reason for a snack?).

Snack:  For a quick snack, you could make sugar cookies and use a leaf cookie cutter to keep with the theme. 

If you have more time, you can make a Fall artwork snack.  Take a piece of bread, and spread with it with peanut butter.  This will be your canvas.  Give each girl a handful of thin pretzels.  These will become your truck and branches.  Then give each girl a small packet of M&Ms.  Ask the girls what are fall colors?  Then have them separate the fall color M&Ms from the others.  These fall colors will be the leaves.  AS ALWAYS: MAKE NOTE OF FOOD ALLERGIES.

Why Do Leaves Change ColorsFall Leaves FallWhile the girls are reading, this is a good time to read a story.  

Two personal favorites are Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

and Fall, Leaves, Fall (which can be found in your library or substitute with another Leaf Falling themed book).



 Afterwards the girls drew their leaf’s picture, gave it a name.  For Share Time, the girls introduced their leaves to the rest of the girls.  

Plants Try-ItActivity #5 – Simple Plants (page 123 in Try It book – Plants)  Jill was happy to donate the dust from her home – she usually has plenty.  Our troop has done this activity twice.  When we met in our homes, we sent the bread home that night with an explanation to the parents.  Many of the girls had very vivid descriptions of the mold.  Now we meet at our school, and were able to keep the bread in a plastic bag in a darkened closet.  The girls were very excited to see what their bread looked like, but no one wanted to take it home.

Activity #3 – Baby Beans (page 123 in Try It book – Plants) Instead of beans, we used pumpkin seeds left over from halloween pumpkins (emphasize Making The World A Better Place).  If you want to stay with the popcorn theme, you can use kernels.  Preschoolers Today has lots of ideas for indoor gardening, and you can view it by clicking here.

We adjusted the directions a little bit.  Instead of the wide-mouth jar we used the (very clear) plastic cups, black construction paper as a backdrop for the seeds and a damp paper towel.  

Cut the black construction paper so that it fits inside the cup.  Place pumpkin seeds between the cup and the paper so the girls can really see their seeds sprout.  Place the wet paper towel inside the cup to keep the construction paper damp.  Girls should start seeing signs of sprouting in just a few days.

Plants will grow very quickly and sprouts will need to be transplanted into a larger pot for each plant.  You can also have the girls observe that the plants will lean toward the sun, so turn your plants before they get lopsided. 

A favorite activity for our girls is making playdough.  We do it every year, and even our Cadettes still enjoy making it.  (Making the dough could also go with Activity #3 “Making Dough Shapes” from the Try It book, page 91 for the Colors and Shapes Try It.  I’ve used the recipe out of the Try It book, and have always had to add extra water or extra flour.)

Since we’re talking corn, here is a fun recipe for cornmeal playdough:

Cornmeal Dough (uncooked)

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 cup salt

1 cup water

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl

2. Add the food coloring to the water and mix into the dry ingredients.

3. Knead until pliable.

4.  Give to girls in zip bags to take home.

NOTE:  This will need to be thrown away pretty quickly, as it has a tendency to ferment.

Dancersize and Creative Composing – Think Outside the Box

Most of you have purchased your Girl Scout materials, and some of you have already started having meetings.   Now I have a challenge for you!!  Think outside the box.  Think back to your favorite teacher growing up, or even one of your child’s teachers (one that really stood out as something special).  I’ll just bet, that he or she implemented original ideas in the classroom, by supplementing the provided text with fresh activities and ideas.  You can do the same in your Girls Scout program.

At a national level Girl Scouts has provided a variety of programs and tools to use with our girls (some better than others).  As leaders we can make the materials fit the needs and interests of the girls in our individual troops.  One of my favorite ways to spice up our Girl Scout  programs is to add a theme.  That theme is often built on  childrens literature as you will see in some of the following activities. 

The following activities will be built on the Dancersize Try-it and the Creative Composing Try-it.   I have taken those try-its and turned the activities into a serious of 3 meetings each with a different theme.  The first “Sock Hop” is a fun way to kick off the Try-its, the second HipHop Halloween Ball is built on a children’s story book, and finally the Cool Cats (or Halloween Cats)  incorporates a new spin on an old children’s story.  Keep in mind that you can change these ideas to fit the needs of your own group of girls.                                                                                                                         

Meeting One – Sock Hop 

Ways To Enhance The Sock Hop

Dress Up:  Provide scarves (or fabric squares) for girls to tie at their necks, 50’s style.  You may also want to provide a cut out of each girl’s first initil to tape to her shirt.  Our Cadettes led this Try-It, and they wore poodle skirts, and other 50s Day outfits.  They really got into it.

Snack: Kick this day off with a yummy 50’s Day snack, we chose Root Beer Floats.

Activity #4 Dance Party (page 25 in Try It book – Dancercize )

Sock Hop:  Let the dance party begin.  Turn on music from the 1950’s and encourage the girls to dance (you should get in on the fun too).  Encourage the girls to dance in their own way, moving to the music.  You may also want to plan a dance or two like the Bunny Hop or the Hokey Pokey.  Hula Hoops could be another fun addition.

Activity #1 Compose A Song (page 152 in Try It book – Creative Composing)

Your own 50’s Day song:  Let the music of the 50’s inspire you and your girls.  The girls can take the frame work and tune of a song like the “Bunny Hop” and use it to compose their own.  This is just an example, your group will come up with wonderful ideas on their own…I used the tune of the Bunny Hop (sort of) to make up this two line example.

We’re the Brownie Girls Scouts.  Bop Bop Bop

We can be a sister to every scout…

Meeting Two – Shake Dem Halloween Bones

Continue working on Dancersize and Creative Composing Try Its.

Ways To Enhance Shake Dem Halloween Bones

Snack:  Pumpkin Cookies.  Provide the girls with plain sugar cookies in the shape of a circle, orange icing, and candy corn.  Give each child a cookie and a Popsicles stick with icing on it.  Ask the girls to spread the icing on their cookie.  Then pass out the candy corn, invite girls to design their own pumpkin face!

Shared Reading:  Shake Dem Halloween Bones  This is a fun rhythmic story!  You may want to read it  while the girls eat their snack.  You can find this at your library or buy it here at Amazon.  


Activity #2 Compose Music For Instruments (page 152 on Try It book)  

Make  a music shaker.   (Although making an instrument is not exactly one the 4 choices but it work with the idea and intent of the patch, BUT it could coordinate with Activity #1 Make Your Own of the Sounds of Music Try It, located on page 164).

You may even want to invite them to shake their instrument and ask them if they can hear the “Halloween bones”.  Invite the girls to create different rhythm pattern with their “Halloween Bones Shaker”.

Activity #3 Compose A Poem (page 152 of Try It book – Creative Composing) and Activity #3 My Own Dance (Page 25 of Try It book – Dancersize)  

Pattern a poem after the word in the book, allowing the girls to fill in part with their own words, and add their own movements.  Just an example…

Come on little brownie wont you dance with me

Kick up you leg and pat your knee…

Meeting Three – Cool Cats (or Halloween Cats)

Continue working on Dancersize and Creative Composing Try Its.

Ways To Enhance Cool Cats (or Halloween Cats)

Dress Up:  use washable marker to draw whiskers on the girls.  Make kitty ears by cutting out felt trainges, make 2 wholes or slits at the bottom of each ear and slide the eats onto a plastic head band (you can by cheap head bands at the dollar store).  Note: We have also used this Dress Up activity to enhance the Numbers and Shapes Try-It on page 114-117.

Snack:  Kitty Cupcake.  Povide each child with a plain cupcake, and icing (if you are doing a Halloween Cat theme black or brown icing would be a good choice), pretzels for whiskers, small m&m’s for eyes chocolate chips for nose and ears.  Links with cute examples and other ideas Kitty Cupcakes , Kitty Cat Cupcakes.

Activity #5 Compose a Play (page 153 of Try It book – Creative Composing)

The girls will make up a skit based on the story of “The 3 Little Pigs”, but this time it won’t be pigs going off into the world to build their houses, it will be cats.  The girls will first help to organize the story.  Let them help decide if their will be 3 Halloween Cats, or more, or even less.  What will be chasing them?  A wolf, a giant pumpkin, a dog…?  They need to decide who will play the part of the “big bad” character, and finally they will need to decide on an ending.  Help them think of a way to incorporate part of the Girl Scout Law into a new ending.  For example, could it be that the big bad pumpkin really only wanted to borrow a stick of cinnamon for his Apple Cider (this could remind girls to be friendly and helpful).

Activity #5 Follow The Leader (page 25 of Try It book – Dancersize)

Crank up the music and start dancin’, Copy Cat Dancin’ that is.  The girls and leaders can all make a circle.  The leader will start the game by dancing to the music and then ask the girls to “Copy Cat”.  After the leader has gotten the ball rolling allow one of the girls to show a new move, and encourage the other Brownies to “copy cat”.  Do this until all girls have had a turn.

Fitting These Activities Into The Meeting

While the Brownies might enjoy a day of total partying and fun it is important to maintain a regular format for every meeting.  You should organize your meetings in the way that works best for you, but our example might be a good place to start.  These activities should fit into the “activity” and “snack” portions of the meeting.  It is good to allow about 15 minutes for each individual activity (with the exception of dress up, which could take less), that would make this part of meeting last about 45 minutes.  Always remember to allow a few extra minutes as you transition from one activity to the next.

Have fun, and don’t forget to celebrate the accompishments of your Girls!!

Jennifer and Jill