Edible Soil

I find Guides are very motivated by food.  This activity from the Learning Resources Blog looks like a fun and tasty way to learn about soil composition.

Layer in a clear glass like a parfait. Discuss each layer as you go, then enjoy with a spoon.


  • Whole Oreos per person to represent the bedrock
  • Chocolate and butterscotch chips mixed together to represent the parent material
  • Chocolate pudding to represent subsoil
  • crushed Oreos and Gummy worms to represent topsoil and the creatures who live in it
  • Shredded coconut mixed with green food coloring to represent the organic material
  • Clear cups or glasses

We’re Going Camping! Worksheets

I created these worksheets to help Pathfinders work though the steps to planning a camp.  Some parts might also be helpful to Guides, Rangers or even leaders planning their first camp.

It includes planning sheets for:

  • basic information
  • theme brain storming
  • schedule
  • budget
  • personal kit list
  • group kit list
  • menu
  • shopping list
  • camp duties
  • camp fire
  • Guides’ Own
  • evaluation

We’re Going Camping!

Review: Reptilia Guide Program

What:  Reptilia is a reptile zoo, with two locations outside of Toronto.  We went to the Vaughan location but there is also a location in Whitby.  We participated in their Endangered Species program.  We started in one of their classrooms.  The staff brought in some different animals and used them to discuss why animals become endangered and what we can do about it.  Then we had a tour of the zoo with the staff member. We were lucky that our tour corresponded to an alligator feeding so we paused the tour so the girls could watch that.

I was a little concerned how my Guides would react to the lizards and snakes but they really enjoyed the day.  And at least two of them now want a pet snake.

When: Our program was in October 2018.

Cost:  The Girl Guide program was $15.25 per girl and include 1.5 hours of program and a crest.

Booking: Booking was very straight forward and was conducted by e-mail.  I did run into a slight problem when the second location opened and some of their e-mail addresses changed but I suspect this was a one time issues.

For more information see: https://reptilia.org/scouts-guides/ 

Reptilia also offered sleepovers and now that I’ve seen how the girls reacted to the animals I would consider that in the future.



Over and Under Relay

Patrols line up in a relay-race formations with the girls fairly close together.  Number 1 of each line has a ball or a bean bag which she passes over her head to Number 2, Number 2 passes it between her legs to Number 3, who passes it over her head to Number 4 etc.  As soon as the girl at the end of the line receives the all, she runs to the front of the line.  The first team whose Number 1 girl is back in position wins.

Review: Downsview Discover Center

What: Downsview Park is a former Air Force base that was decommissioned in 1995.  The base has been converted into a park that combines a number of land uses including an urban farming, indoor and outdoor play fields, storm water management, walking paths and natural areas.  There are also a number of former Air Force buildings rented to third party activities.

The Discover Center is the lower floor of a converted administration building, with two classrooms, washrooms and a cloak room.   The classrooms contain a large touch table and a number of nature related activities which the Guides were encouraged by the program facilitator to explore as they arrived and at lunch.  There is also a large aviation themed playground across the parking lot.

The Community Field Trips are 90 minutes in length and you have a choice of a half day program including one activity or a full day program including 2 activities and a lunch break.  They have a wide variety of activities to choose from some of which are limited by time of year and some would suit some age groups better then others. We selected Wonderful World of Trees and Compass Challenge.

In Wonderful World of Trees, the girls were taught tricks for identifying trees in the winter.  Then we went outside to one of the walking trails where the girls were split into small groups.  Each group was provided with a clip board, work sheet and tree guide and they were allowed to wonder though the paths at their own rate finding trees marked with numbers and trying to identify them.  Our Guides did great with most groups successfully identify most of the trees they found.

In Compass Challenge the girls were taught the basics of taking bearings with a compass and then played an outdoor game where they had to use their compass to solve codes.

With both programs we were really impressed both with the teaching methods used by the facilitator and at how absorbed our Guides were in the activities.

When: Our program was in April 2019.

Cost:  The Community Program was $10 per girl for a full day (2 activities) or $7 per girls for a half day (1 activity).

Booking: Booking was very straight forward and was conducted though an online form and follow up e-mails.

For more information see: https://en.downsviewpark.ca/educate/community-field-trips

Note: The road to get to the Discover Center is a little bit hard to find but all our parents reported no problem finding the place with the assistance of a GPS unit.  Also note that the area around the Discovery Center can be a bit windy.

Build Your Best Day

The Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, launched in June 2016, are guidelines that recommend the amount and intensity of physical activity, sleep, and limits to sedentary time for children and youth aged 5 to 17 within a 24-hour period.

A healthy 24 hours includes


Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity

An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities, and muscle and bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated at least 3 days per week;


Light physical activity

Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;


Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;


Sedentary behaviour

No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time; Limited sitting for extended periods.


The Build Your Best Day is a fun tool from Participation to introduce girls to these guidelines and discuss how to fit more activity into their day.

You can use an interactive online tool to explore these options at Build Your Best Day

Or you can print out handouts to do it off line at Resources for Educators.

Help Name 2007 OR10

I posted in February a little about How Astronomical Objects Get their Name.  I found another interesting project that would lend itself to this discussion.  The Astronomers who discovered 2007 OR10 are gathering public feedback for the name they should suggest to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

2007 OR10 is a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) with an elliptical orbit of between 33 au and 101 au. IIt is likely a mixture of ice and rock and has one of the reddest surfaces ever found in the Kuiper belt.  It is approximately 1250 km in diameter.  Which is smaller than Pluto and Eris and some of the other KBOs, but that size estimate earns 2007 OR10 a spot on the list of the top 10 largest KBOs.  It even has a small satellite object (moon).


They’ve narrowed it down to three names all of which meet the criteria for naming Minor Planets.  They tried to select deities who were linked to the colour red and also where there was a theme of inside turning outside or with water ice/snow.

Gonggong” is a Chinese water god with red hair and a serpent-like tail. He is known for creating chaos, causing flooding, and tilting the Earth.

Holle” is a European winter goddess of fertility, rebirth, and women. Holle makes snow by shaking out her bed. She is a patroness of household crafts especially spinning. She is linked to the Yuletide (winter solstice) season associated with mistletoe and holly, evergreen plants bearing red berries.

Vili” is part of the Æsir, Vili is a Nordic diety. Vili, together with his brothers Odin and Vé, defeated frost giant Ymir and used Ymir’s body to create the universe. Ymir’s flesh and bones were forged into the Earth, with Ymir’s blood becoming the rivers and oceans.

Click here to vote on your favorite.  The voting will be open until May 10.

International S’mores

To incorporate s’mores into an international theme, switch up the cookies.  I’ve used chocolate covered digestive biscuits for years for s’mores when I go family camping, they are easier to transport, less likely the chocolate will end up a gooey mess before campfire and I like the taste better.  Might be my British ancestry coming out.

For example:

  • Scotland: shortbread or oatcakes
  • Dutch: speculaas or stroopwafels
  • British: Digestive biscuits

I’m sure there are many other cookies from different places that would be just as good.  Why not experiment.

This idea came from Christina Scucina’s blog.