Corn Mosaic Thanksgiving Craft

I mentioned in my recent post, Week 4 Meeting Plan, that I would explain the craft in a separate posting. Well, this week we are doing two crafts so I guess that means I am writing two posts! One craft is very small and the other much more time consuming. It also requires more prep work from the adult, so I will post it first.

The more intricate and detailed craft. Definitely a test of patience.

I got this idea from a blog website called Fun A Day to allow the kids to make a corn mosaic that they can show off to their families for Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to get too into traditional crafts that schools and families do this time of year. I was really hoping to find something more unique that children don’t repeat year after year for the holidays. Using corn as a medium to create seems close enough to the origins of the Thanksgiving feast, while still offering something new (I hope!) to the crafting perspective.

Thankfully, corn kernels are super cheap at Walmart and the paper, (liquid) white glue and dye were already in our stores.

Supplies:

mixing bowls or pots

metal spoons

food colouring

protective gloves (optional)

corn kernels

slotted spoon

vinegar

tap water

old towels or paper towels

waxed paper

thick paper (cardstock, etc)

white glue (liquid, not gluesticks)

In order to die the corn, I filled several large mixing bowls with water, 1-2 tablespoons of food colouring and several tablespoons of vinegar (adjust based on the size of your bowl). Stir to mix the colour in. I then added 475 ml (~2 cups) of corn to each. Make sure that the water covers the corn. Allow to sit overnight, or for 24 hours if you can.

*Note: If you use plastic bowls, they will probably stain from the food colouring.

IMG_0934
This was my counter for 24 hours

After the kernels have taken on the proper colour, pour out the excess liquid as best you can and then remove with a slotted spoon. I laid down wax paper to protect the counter and then put down old towels for the corn to dry on. You could use paper towel instead if you really care about your towels, but you will go through a lot of it!

 

I am very happy with how the red and orange ones turned out. The green and blue didn’t dye as well, even though I followed the same recipe, and even added extra dye and vinegar for the last few hours of soaking. I am also going to try making some purple overnight … I just ran out of bowls and counter space yesterday.

Below, there are a couple of gorgeous mosaics from the Fun A Day post. I am purposely not making an example, because I don’t want the girls to copy it. I would much rather they craft with free expression, which is so much harder after they have seen an example.

mosaic-3

Fun A Day owns this picture

Let me know in the comments if you tried this craft, or if you have done something similar. I hope that it goes well for you. If you have an easier time dying than I did, please send me some tips for my next attempt!

xx

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Week 4 Meeting Plan

This is the meeting 4 plan, as of right now. Nothing ever seems to go exactly to plan but we like to have a foundation on which to start the craziness.

October 2nd meeting – Thanksgiving Theme

  1. Girls go to their circles and complete attendance. While in circles, Tawny Owl will take around the thank you cards and have the girls sign them. These cards are for upcoming events where we will be visiting or having a speaker in.
  2. Active Game: Dodgeball
  3. Opening Songs. While sitting in circle, bring up Thanksgiving
    1. When is Thanksgiving?
    2. How do we celebrate it?
    3. Why do we celebrate it?
    4. What was the first holiday like?
    5. What are you thankful for?
  4. Skye Owl will read the non-fiction book (Canadian Holidays: Thanksgiving) and Tawny will read the picture book (Thanksgiving Rules by Laurie Friedman)
  5. Explain and then start craft (details to come in separate post)
  6. Game: Handshake Murder
  7. Return to circle
  8. Game: Catch / Don’t Catch
  9. Sing: There was a bear, black socks, fire’s burning
  10. Talk about elections and how to vote
    1. Next week we will be going to the municipal offices to learn what our elected officials do. One meeting coming up we will have our own election where girls get to vote on something
    2. If time read a book about voting
  11. Closing

xx

Planning a Guiding Year (1)

I’m am going to try to write a series of posts that are geared towards planning your guiding year. I have already written a couple, such as a sample letter to parents that can be found here, and tips on setting up your Brownie/Spark circles which can be found here.

I try to plan my guiding year around the seven main themes that are in guiding and major holidays, plus the seasons. For example, the beginning and end of the year have most of our outdoor activities because it just isn’t that fun to take a group of little girls outside in -30C weather. We still do the odd outdoor activity like tobogganing, but mostly try to schedule indoor activities when its cold outside.

My first unit meeting this year is Tuesday, September 11th. I have roughly charted out our first 3-5 meetings…

Week One:

The first meeting can be a rough one on kids, especially first year Brownies. Many are shy, some didn’t do Sparks, and it has been a long time since their last meeting in the spring. We mostly play icebreakers and review the Brownie Law, Promise and Motto. I encourage the girls to practice this at home so that they know it before the enrolment ceremony.

We have a group discussion on how a Brownie conducts herself… the purpose of this is to set out expectations of behaviour from the outset by having the girls share the qualities that they expect of themselves and their fellow Brownies. We play up being a good friend and teammate, respecting personal boundaries and limitations, listening when the Owls are speaking or a guest is visiting, and lending a hand.

I also have an activity I found online that I love to do at the beginning of the year. I’ll insert a photo below, but it basically encourages the girls to share their hopes and expectations of the year. They can draw a picture or write down what they want to say.

brownies

We are doing TWO crafts this week … something we may not do again this year!

The first craft is a canvas bag that they can decorate. At our location, there is no water fountain so we encourage water bottles and most of the year, they need a change of footwear as well. In addition, we usually send them home with a craft or something so making these in the first week is fun for children and a big help to leaders / parents.

The second craft is specifically for the first years. One of the leaders will do a game with the second years in another room while our littler ones make an invitation for their parents to their enrolment ceremony! Again, I want them to be able to guide the year so as leaders, we will come up with 3 or so themes that we like and feel are manageable and then let the girls vote on which one they would prefer.

Week Two:

I am hoping that we can go to one of the local baseball diamonds this week to play soccer baseball. I definitely feel that kids should be active, and there is limited opportunity for entertaining that many kids in a gymnasium when you don’t have a ton of equipment like schools do. Plus, I want to promote getting outside, being active, and using the resources in your community!

There are a few of these diamonds in my town that have playground equipment next door. So we will start our meeting with the traditional opening ceremony, playing up the Promise, Motto and Law to help the new Brownies practice it a bit, then do our main activity. Likely, it will be necessary to review being a good winner and a good loser.

After the game, snacks and water will be shared (provided by leaders) and then we can sing some songs, or go straight to the playground equipment for free play, depending on how much time is left. I will bring some of the (limited) play equipment we have with me to encourage them to be imaginative and play. We have a few balls and skipping ropes and hula hoops to share.

When we do a local activity like this, we have their parents pick up and drop off at our temporary location to keep it a green level activity. If you are concerned about it getting dark before the end of the meeting, pick up a few packages of glow stick bracelets and let the girls wear them.

Although the timing isn’t necessary perfect to do this on the second week, between weather restrictions, cookies, the enrolment ceremony, Thanksgiving and then Remembrance Day and the Santa Claus parade in November, it is one of the only chances we have to take the unit outside and play in the Autumn.

Week Three:

Week three is going to be CRAZY!!

This is enrolment ceremony week. Lots of extra work for leaders.

We will open as usual and practice saying the Promise, Motto and Law a bunch of times. Then we will review how we show respect to our guests (the parents) and our fellow Brownies by not talking during the ceremony, offering dessert to the parents first, etc.

We will do a dry-run of the enrolment ceremony as well (usually parents come 30 minutes early to pick up their kids to watch the ceremony but the first hour they are not there, as usual).

anticipate that cookies will be delivered by this time, so we will try to deal with parents and cookies at the same time, which is actually kinda convenient although chaotic. If we can find the time before the enrolment ceremony, the girls LOVED doing skits last year modelling good and bad behaviour when selling cookies (how to be polite, practising their spiel, memorizing the price, etc). This is sure to bring out lots of giggles but is also really useful and practical for them in learning these saleswoman’s skills.

Week Four:

This is our last meeting before Thanksgiving. I don’t know exactly what the plan is yet, but it will be related to the holiday. I would love to get the girls involved in something benefiting the food bank, whether we take 30 minutes to go door to door in groups surrounding the church we meet in, or just ask each family to bring a donation. Or both. I know our craft will be related to this as well, probably something that they can display on the Thanksgiving table.

This will be the first week that we give “homework” as well. IMHO, this meeting is a perfect time to bring up a badge that involves families a little bit, since most families gather together at this time. I am currently thinking of the women through the ages badge. I think it would be awesome to encourage our girls to talk to an older woman in their family or community and find out what her life was like growing up, and ask old family stories. It is also a great opportunity for girls to learn more about their ancestors.

Week Five (ish):

We live in Ontario and this year, October 22nd is municipal voting day. I have reached out to my local municipal offices to request an after-hours tour of the building, and have someone talk to us about what local government does, and how someone like a Mayor is elected. I have provided three dates leading up to and immediately after voting day and I am hoping they will accommodate us on one of those.

I want to tie this into empowering our kids in the local community and teaching them to recognize needs in the community and learning how they can address issues they feel are important. This can be tied into other badges throughout the year, such as encouraging them to write a letter to council on an issue that they identify, if our inquiries lead us in this direction.

Of course, it is entirely possible that nothing will come of it and our visit turns into a one-off, but I am hoping they will see something – for example, the fact that our local playgrounds don’t have any trees to provide shade – that they want to change and we can support them on their quest! We also have a grant next year to play trees in the spring, so this ties into my example well and would be something we have the finances to carry through if the township agrees to let us.

Whew! That was a lot … I kinda wonder if anyone even read this far. I will cover each week in a dedicated, more detailed post as we go, but hopefully this is helpful to some new leader to start the year strong with a framework in mind.

xx