Monday, February 9, 2015

Craft: Braille Name Tag

The Brownies in our troop are currently working on their Senses badge.  Step 5 is "Touch and Feel."  When our older girls completed Step 5 to earn their Senses badge, they created a "feel wheel."  I emailed the families prior to the meeting and assigned each girl a different texture like bumpy, furry, hard, sticky, smooth, and rough.  The girls were asked to find an item from home that felt like their assigned texture.  They each brought that item to the meeting to share with the other girls in the troop. 

Now that we have another group of Brownies, I wanted them to try something different to complete Step 5 for the Senses badge.  One of the alternative choices for Step 5 provided in the list of badge requirements encourages the girls to learn about Braille.  They are asked to use the Braille alphabet to figure out how to write their names in Braille.  

For the past year or so, I have had a part-time job as an assistant to an author.  I have accompanied her to radio interviews that happen to be recorded at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind.  Knowing our girls would be learning about Braille, I was able to talk with a couple people while waiting for the author to finish the interview.  They offered some printed information for me to take back to the girls, including cards with both the Braille alphabet and numbers.  They also gave me a Braille edition of an issue of Reader's Digest.  

I decided it would be fun to have the girls make Braille name tags during one of our meetings.  We also had the Junior Girl Scouts in the troop make them because I had plans to use the name tags in a future activity.  

Using my resources wisely, I found some paper scraps among my scrapbooking supplies and cut strips for the name tags.  I measured the strips 1.5" high, and I allowed about 1.5" for each letter in the first name.  For example, a name tag strip for "Laurie" would measure 1.5" high by about 9" wide.  Referring to the Braille alphabet, I drew two rows of six, small, blank dots for each letter in the name.  I included one dot on the bottom left of the first letter to indicate a capital letter.  I darkened in the dots that corresponded to each letter in the name for this picture.  The girls should be able to look at the alphabet and darken the appropriate circles themselves.  I purchased a package of 4mm multicolored rhinestones from Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off, of course!  The girls glued the gems on the name tag, using either tacky glue or Elmer's glue.  Most of the girls decided to use one color rhinestone per letter.

This was a relatively easy and inexpensive craft.  Even if your Girl Scouts are not working on the Senses badge, this craft could easily be tied into other programs.  Our Junior Girl Scouts are working on the Detective badge.  Step 2 is "Communicate in Code," and learning about Braille satisfies this step.  Additionally, Step 1 for the Detective Badge is to "Practice the Power of Observation."  As we talked about Braille, we discussed the ways blind people can be observant even though they can't see and how those ways are similar and different from observation skills used by people without impaired sight. Years ago, we had an Everybody Counts program for our girls.  Braille name tags would have been a fun craft to include in our agenda.  Next time!

Please check back to see how these name tags will be used in our Self Esteem Workshop planned for the beginning of March. Thank you for reading!

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