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Senses Badge

Page history last edited by Darby Schmidt 10 years, 10 months ago

Ideas for Senses Badge

Requirements for earning badge:


Purpose: When I've earned this badge, I'll know how to use my five senses to explore the world.


1. Look around.

2. Listen to the world.

3. Put your nose to work.

4. Take a taste test.

5. Touch and feel.




Activity Descriptions



At Home

  • Practice observing things around your home. For example: compare moon phases over the course of a week, plant some seeds and watch them grow, or set out a bird feeder and see which birds are the most common.
  • Help your Girl Scout look for things at home that change sound, whether by making it louder, softer or different.

From: Girl Scouts River Valleys 



Craft (25 min)

Vision in Motion

Step 1—Look around

1. Show the girls how to cut out the wheel pattern for the phenakistoscope. Cut out the circle, then cut out the small slits between the sections. In the end, girls should still have a wheel, but with notches cut out at regular intervals.

2. Ask how many girls have made or used a flip book to make a picture move. They are going to do the same thing, only the movement will repeat over and over. If they move the wheel at the right speed,

their eyes can't keep up and will see the drawings as one object moving, instead of several still pictures. The device is called a phenakistoscope, but you can think of it as a movie wheel, which is

easier to remember.

3. Try it first by demonstrating with a single dot, moving up and down, like a bouncing ball. In one of the wheel sections, make a dot about halfway between the center and the edge.

Draw it lightly in pencil so you can draw over the top of it with a darker image.

In the next section over, make an identically sized dot, only move it closer to the edge.

In the next, move it closer yet.

For the next section, draw the dot falling back down, closer and closer to the center.

Continue around the wheel until you get to the section just before your first one, where you will have the dot moving upwards again, so that it would reasonably be back in the middle.

4. Now, show how to assemble the phenakistoscope. Girls will make the wheel spin by attaching it to the top of a pencil.

Put the wheel over the pencil so the center of the wheel is directly over the flat top of the eraser, picture side up.

Take a push pin and poke it through the center of the wheel into the eraser. Push it in enough to keep from falling out, but not so snug that the wheel won't spin.

5. View the moving image standing in front of a mirror.

Hold the pencil so that the picture side of the wheel is facing the mirror, with you holding the pencil behind it.

Move the wheel so that you can look through one of the slits into the mirror; make sure you are close enough to see the pictures clearly.

Keep holding the pencil in the same spot, and with your other hand, spin the wheel, continuing to look through where the slits are. Look straight ahead at whatever picture is currently at the

top, and don't try to follow it around the circle.

When you get the right speed, the strobe-light effect of looking through the slits at the changing picture will make the image move.

6. After demonstrating the bouncing ball, have girls try other shapes and drawings.

From: Girl Scouts River Valleys

Make copies of or trace the phenakistoscope pattern

Phenakistoscope Pattern.pdf

Make a sample phenakistoscope for girls to follow.

Materials Needed:

Cardstock patterns


Coloring utensils

Push pins or thumb tacks

Plain, unsharpened pencils with new erasers

Mirror (portable or mirrors already at the meeting space)


Senses 1


Doggie, Doggie, where’s your bone

Choose an object to represent the bone. This can be any small object such as a deck of cards to a stuffed animal. One child is the “doggie”. All the children sit down in a group. The child designated the doggie will sit in front of the group with his or her back facing toward them.

The doggie places the bone behind their back and closes his or her eyes. One of the children quietly sneaks up and grabs the bone then places it behind their own back. All the children then sing

Doggie, Doggie, where’s your bone? Someone stole it from your home!

At that point the doggie opens their eyes and turns around and tries to guess who has the bone. Afterward another child takes their turn as the doggie and the game is repeated.



Senses 1

Game (5 min)

Hole in Your Hand

Step 1—Look around

1. Have the girls take a toilet paper tube or use a sheet of paper and roll it into a tube of a similar diameter.

2. Have the girls hold the tube up to one eye and look at something in the distance (at least 15 feet away). They should keep both eyes open while they do this.

3. Have the girls hold their other hands up flat, palm towards them, and move it slowly up to the side of the tube, all while continuing to look at the object in the distance.

4. Once their hand is next to the tube, it will look like there is a hole in their hand, through which they can still see the distant object.

5. Share with the girls the information below.

We use two eyes to give us a three dimensional view of the world; information comes in from two different places.

Sometimes these two views seem to contradict. The eye looking through the tube sees the distant object clearly, but can't see the other hand because of the tube. The other eye knows there is a hand there, but the hand covers its view of the distance.

Our brain puts it together to conclude that we must have a tube through our hand.

From: Girl Scouts River Valleys 

Cardboard tubes or paper to roll into tubes (one per girl)


Senses 1

Game (2 min)


1. Ask girls if they have seen a large speaker for a stereo or sound system. Discuss how sound is made louder with the information below.

Sometimes there's a grill or mesh over the front of a speaker. Behind that are dish-shaped circles.

The microphones used by film crews have a clear dish behind the mike with the same shape.

Think about what you do with your hands if you want your voice to be louder. Megaphones have the same shape and are used to amplify the sound, or make it louder.

2. Hold up a piece of string. Have everyone listen carefully. Let it hang down from one hand while you pull down along it with your other hand. Don’t pull too hard or you will start to feel rope burn.

What do the girls hear? Probably not much. You need a dish shape behind it to act as an amplifier. You also need to make it easier to pull down on the string smoothly.

3. Give each girl a cup, a piece of string, and a paper clip.

4. Have the girls assemble their “honker” using the steps below.

Help each girl poke a hole in the bottom of her cup with a nail.

o Note: If the cup is flexible enough, you may be able to do this with just the nail.

Alternatively, you can poke a starter hole with a push pin and then use the nail to make the hole wide enough to pull the string through. Otherwise, find a piece of scrap wood that will fit inside the upside down cup and hold up the bottom of the cup. Hold the nail

upright on top of the cup and hammer down enough to make a hole. You can use a wide piece of scrap wood and have the cup be upright, but then you have to have a nail tall enough so that you can hold it and still hit it with the hammer.

Thread the string through the hole so that a small amount of string hangs out the bottom of the cup, but most of it comes out through the top.

Tie the string from the bottom of the cup onto a paper clip or washer so that the string won't get pulled out of the cup.

Dip as much of the string as possible into the water for a minute to let it soak.

5. Girls are now ready to try their "honker," and see where the name comes from. Explain the steps below.

Hold the cup upside down in one hand.

The string, now wet, should be hanging down from the inside, and the paper clip should be on top.

Starting near the top, pinch the string with your other hand and pull down. You need to hold on tightly enough to create a squeaking, honking sound as your fingers move down the string. If

girls can pull in abrupt fits and starts, they should be able to make it sound like a goose honking.

o Note: Some people find it easier to pull when the string stays wet and with something else pinching the string. Get a kitchen sponge or some Handi-Wipes. Get the sponge piece wet. Have girls use the sponge to pinch the string. The string will stay wet and it

won’t hurt their fingers.

6. Optional follow-up: The girls added the amplifier to the sound, but what about adding amplifiers to their ears? Take two of the cups and use the scissors to cut off the entire bottom piece of each. Have the girls stand still for a moment, just listening. Now, have them bring both of the hollowed cups up to their ears. Do they hear a difference? The girls can also try cupping their hands behind their ears. It can also be tried outside.

7. Optional Game: Goose honking may all sound the same to us, but each has its own voice, which it can use to find another goose in the flock. Have the girls find a partner, and agree on a pattern of honks

they will use, like short-long-short, or three short, pause, short. Have the girls stand in a circle, facing out, and mix up where people are standing while they aren't looking. Tap one girl on the shoulder, who should give her goose call. The girl who thinks it's her partner turns around to see if she's right.

From: Girl Scouts River Valleys 

Cut string into 18-inch pieces (one per girl).

Sturdy plastic disposable cups (clear 9 oz. Solo cups are durable and flexible enough for this activity)

Kitchen twine or white utility cotton string

Large paper clips, large washers or twigs


Water in a bowl

Optional: Kitchen sponges (plain with no scrubbie side—the flat 'pop-up' ones work well) or Handiwipes,

cut into small 1” squares

Small hammers, blocks of scrap wood and large nails (16 penny or larger)


Senses 2


Hold a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood or at a park.

Find at least 10 tiny things, like a clover or an anthill.

Bring a magnifying glass, and talk about how it helps your sense of sight.

FoR MoRE FUN: Hold your scavenger hunt on a night hike, with a flashlight. Before you go, find out why humans can see better with more light.

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 1

Play Kim's Game.

Ask your volunteer to collect about 10 items and place them on a table, covered by a cloth. Sit around the table with friends. L,ift the cloth for 10 seconds. Then re-cover the items and list what you saw. How many items could you remember? This game has been popular with Girl Scouts for nearly one hundred years!

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 1

Go on a window hunt.

Partner with a friend and look out a window. Keep a list of how many human-made things you can see, like chairs, fences, or machines; and how many natural things, like animals, clouds, and trees. Who can find the most? Then find a different spot and play again .

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 1

Listen for 10 different sounds.

If you're inside, listen for sounds outside (no peeking out a window!). Draw pictures of what might be making those sounds. If you're outside, blindfold yourself and tell a friend what you hear. Once you've heard 10 sounds, trade places. Do you hear the same sounds as others?

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 2

Listen to sound boxes.

Take an empty container with a lid and 10 different objects, things such as a coin or a spoonful of rice. Look at the objects with a friend. Then blindfold her and put one of the objects in the container. Put on the lid and shake it. Can your friend guess which object is making noise?

Do this for three objects, then switch places.

From: Girl Scouts USA
  Senses 2

Wear safety earplugs to understand what it's like to lose some of your hearing.

Listen to three different sounds for three minutes each, such as chirping birds or your favorite song, with the earplugs in. Take the earplugs out, and listen for a little bit longer. Talk about what it is like to hear the same sounds, but differently.

From: Girl Scouts USA
  Senses 2

Learn the GS promise in sign language

From: Girl Scouts USA 

sign language GS promise.pdf   Senses 2

Follow a friend using only your nose!

Have an adult help you find something with a strong scent, like a lemon slice or a cinnamon stick. Blindfold a friend, hold the item close to her nose, and see if she can follow you a short distance using her sense of smell. Now switch, and see if you can follow her.

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 3

Play a smelly game with your friends.

Find five containers with lids (old yogurt containers will work well} and mark a number on each. Put an item with a strong smell-such as an orange peel or coffee-into each container and poke holes in the lid. Write down the number of each container and what's

inside. Now rearrange the containers and try to identify the item that is in each one, just by smell. Who can guess the most smells correctly?

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 3

Try sniffing out three different foods.

Put on a blindfold.

Have someone else hold three different-but similar-foods under your nose, like three cheeses (such as cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella} or three kinds of citrus fruit (such as orange, grapefruit, lime). Guess what you think each food is, then find out if you're right. .

FoR MoRE FUN: First, taste each food. Then, hold your nose and have someone else feed you each one. Do they taste the same as they did when you could smell them?

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 3

Do a taste test with salty, sweet, bitter, and sour foods.

Taste at least one thing with each flavor. Talk about which flavors you like best and which ones you like least. Do any of the foods have more than one flavor?

FoR MoRE FUN: Scientists know that we need saliva, or spit, to be able to taste. Try your taste test again, but wipe your tongue dry this time. Is anything different?

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 4

Look at the taste buds on a friend's tongue.

Without touching her tongue, use a safe, plastic magnifying glass to see her taste buds. Then let her look at yours. Talk about what they look like, and find out the scientific name for a taste bud and how many are on one tongue.

FoR MoRE FUN: Find out what makes someone a "supertaster!"

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 4

Explore how sight influences taste.

With an adult, dye one food a different color than it was originally. You can try making blue milk or pink pancakes! Taste the food with its normal color, then its new color. Talk with your friends or family about whether it tastes different to you, and if you like the taste better if the food is a different color.

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 4

Game (15 min)

Touch It, Draw It

Step 5—Touch and feel

1. Introduce girls to the sense of touch with the information below.

In order to draw something, a person usually looks at the object and then draws it. But sometimes we draw only what we think we see, what we saw before or we think we should have seen. This time, we are going to draw what we touch.

2. Have everyone choose an object to draw.

3. Before girls hold the object, set it out in front of them. Ask girls to hold up their pointer finger and, without touching the object, trace the outline of it in mid-air. Questions to ask girls:

Is the outside curved, straight, jagged or some combination?

Could you tell what it was if you just saw its outline or shadow, or do you need to see the inner details?

If you think one of the other sides will be more interesting, turn your object around and trace the outline again.

4. Now, have girls run their fingers around the edge of the object. Encourage girls to forget about what the object is (an egg beater, a snail shell, a crescent wrench, a doll, etc.) and ask them to think about the shapes their fingers are tracing: circles, hexagons, crescents, arrows, stripes and so on. After they've traced the outside, have them trace other details, including pieces that stick out or designs painted or drawn on the side.

5. Give each girl two pieces of paper. One is for drawing and the other is a guard sheet. Have the girls take the sharp end of a pencil and poke it through the middle of the guard sheet. They will draw without looking at what they are doing; the focus will be on remembering the shapes they traced.

6. Have the girls look underneath the guard paper just to see that their pencil is on the drawing paper and is in a starting place they like. Ask the girls to start to draw their objects, trying to move their hands in the same way they did when tracing the object. They can stop to re-trace part of the object, and then check that they are once again starting the pencil where they like. Other than that, no peeking!

7. After the girls have drawn their objects, ask the questions below:

Does your final drawing look like what you would have drawn if you were looking?

Did you focus on different places than you might have if you had used your eyes?

What surprised you? What seemed to work easiest? Did you leave anything out?

Do you think someone who hadn't seen your object before would be able to pick it out from the drawing?

From: Girl Scouts River Valleys 

Variety of objects with varied edges or shapes (for example: kitchen or maintenance tools, natural

objects or toys with no dangerous or sharp edges.)



Optional: Photographs, magazines, or calendar images


Senses 5


Brain Power

Try these activities to see how your brain works.

Different muscles: Sit at a table and write your name. Then take one of your feet and move it in a circle on the floor. Now try doing both things together.

Explain that sometimes it’s hard for your brain to do two things at once.

Eye to Brain to Hand: Have the girls get into partners. Give one of them a piece of paper the size of a dollar bill. She should hold it in front of a friend.

The idea is for your friend to have her hands in position to catch the piece of paper before it falls to the floor. Now let go of the piece of paper. What happened? Was your friend able to catch it? Explain that the eyes send messages to the brain, which then tells the hands what to do. But sometimes an object falls faster than the message travels. Keep practicing until their reaction time improves and then switch roles.

3. Muscle Reaction: With the same partners, have one of the girls place her arms straight down by her side. One girl should press the other girls arms down as hard as she can while her partner should try as hard as she can to lift them. Count to 20 and then let go. The girl whose arms were held down should hold still. Her arms should start to raise in the air.

4. Body Volley: Have the girls stand with their partners and face each other. Give them a balloon. Tell one girl to call out a body part. They must keep the balloon in the air using only that body part. After a little while let the other girl choose a different body part to keep the balloon in the air.


Senses 5


Find things that have different textures and create a "feel wheel."

Cut a big circle out of poster board and divide it into eight pie slices. In each slice, glue something that has a different texture, like smooth, rough, sticky, bumpy, hard, squishy, or hairy. Then ask your friends and family to close their eyes and guess what each item is.

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 5

Try an arm or leg touch test.

Glue some thin thread or fishing line to a Popsicle stick. Gently touch a blindfolded person with the thread. Can she feel it? Why or why not?

Then swap places so you can take a turn.

From: Girl Scouts USA

  Senses 5

Try Braille.

When someone is missing their sense of sight, they might read with their sense of touch by feeling a set of raised dots. These dots are part of a special system called Braille. Use the alphabet to figure out how to write your name in Braille, and then write it with dots of glue on the boxes below.

From: Girl Scouts USA

braille printouts



Senses 5


Outings and Visitors

Field Trip Ideas:

o Visit a store specializing in tea and tea blends. Compare aromas and try an herbal tea.

o Go to a store catering to people with visual or hearing impairments and talk about adaptations and technology.

o Go to a grocery store or restaurant offering foods most of the girls have not tried before.

Speaker Ideas:

o Invite someone to share their knowledge of Braille or American Sign Language.

o Invite a musician to share her music.

From: Girl Scouts River Valleys


Sample Meeting 1




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