Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Brownie Badge: Pets

If I had to guess, I'd say the Brownie Pets badge was one of our girls' favorite badges to earn.  In this post, I describe the choices we made to satisfy the requirements for each of the five badge steps.  Please note that I have had two different groups of girls earn this badge, and I have shared all of the activities that were completed by both groups in this singular post.

Day 1:  visit horse stables  (Step 2)
Day 2:  visit pet store and pet groomer  (Step 1, 3, 4, and 5)
Day 3:  t-shirt pet beds  (Step 2)
Day 4:  t-shirt dog toys  (Step 4)

*Based on my experience, you could visit the horse stables, pet store, and pet groomer in one day.
*The t-shirt pet beds will not be finished in one meeting.  The girls will have to work on them on their own at home.  
*I recommend an adult prepares the t-shirts for the pet bed and dog toy projects prior to the meeting.

Step 1:  Find Out What Care Different Pets Need.  To meet the requirements for this badge step, we headed out to a local pet store.  We called ahead to explain why we were visiting and made sure a store employee would be willing to answer questions about pet care.  The girls played Pet Bingo in the store, and they referred to the internet with their parents when they got home for additional information when needed.

From the animals listed on the Bingo game card, the girls chose cat, hamster, and fish.  They asked questions to learn how much it costs to care for each of these pets, how much space and food these pets need, and what kind of human contact these pets prefer.  They took notes, and I typed them up once we got home.

Step 2:  Keep a Pet Comfy.  My daughters made pet beds out of old t-shirts and a plastic sink mat from Dollar Tree to donate to a local animal shelter.  Instructions and photos of the process can be viewed here.  Additionally, the girls visited a horse stable and learned to muck a stall.  They found out why its important to muck a stall twice a day.

Step 3:  Help a Pet Stay Healthy and Safe.  We visited a pet groomer who allowed the girls to watch her work with this adorable little dog.  She was willing to answer all their questions, and she even gave them pet care tips they could use at home.  When we were at the pet store, the girls asked the store employee about health issues for cats and hamsters.  While they were mucking the horse stall, they asked how they can keep a horse healthy and looking good.

Step 4:  Make a Pet Feel Loved.  Our girls made t-shirt dog toys that we donated to a local animal shelter.  While working at the stables, one of the grooms took a few moments to show the girls how horses communicate their feelings.  During our visit to the pet store, they learned how cats communicate their feelings.

Step 5:  Feed a Pet.  The girls made a pet budget for a cat and a hamster.  They asked for guidance from the store employee before walking up and down the aisles to find the cost of food, treats, and vitamins their pets may need.  While we were visiting the stables, they made sure to ask how much it costs to feed a horse.  As I mentioned previously, the girls took notes during our trip to the pet store.  Once we returned home, they were able to refer to different websites to answer any follow-up questions they may have had.  

Compared to other Brownie badges our girls have earned, I thought this one required a great deal of work for the girls as well as the leaders.  Maybe it was the activities we chose?  We do not have a family pet.  If we did, the girls could have cleaned the pet's cage or tank, helped the pet get some exercise, make up a game to play with our pet, and make up a feeding schedule.  Completing hands-on activities such as these would provide an entirely different experience for the girls than the activities we chose to complete to earn the Pets badge.  Regardless, they had a lot of fun, so it was worth it!  Thank you for reading. 

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