Thursday, August 07, 2014

Pets Skill-Building Badge

Thanks to Girl Scouts, Tessa now wants a rabbit, two guinea pigs and a hamster for pets. Hmm. I don't think so. Other than having to endure my constant rebuttals, Tessa thoroughly enjoyed learning about these pets and eagerly completed the requirements for earning the Brownie Pets Skill-Building Badge. More meaningful to me was her pride in making homemade treats, a toy and a new pet bed for our dog. Tessa positively glowed the first time she saw Sweetpea curled up sleeping on the bed.

The full requirements for earning the Pets Skill-Building Badge can be found in the Brownie It’s Your Story - Tell It, Skill Building Badge Activity Set. The resources listed below are the ones we used to fulfill these requirements.

Pets Skill-Building Badge


Pets

Whether they're cute and cuddly, or slimy and scaly, pets are so much fun. If you hope you have a pet someday, use this badge to learn how to choose the pet that's right for you--and make sure it stays happy and healthy. Or find out how to take the best care of a pet you already have!

Steps

1. Find out what care different pets need. Pets are as different as the people who love them. Play Pet Bingo to find out which pet would be the best fit for you.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Play bingo online.
  • Since our choices for Steps 1, 3 and 5 required a good deal of information gathering for multiple animals, I created a set of worksheets to make that task a little easier for Tessa. Of the animals listed on the Pet Bingo card, she was most interested in learning more about the small mammals. We checked out Small Pet Care: How To Look After Your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, or Hamster by Annabel Blackledge from a local library and used it as our primary source of information. We read about one animal a day on three separate days. After reading and gathering other pertinent information about the animal of the day, Tessa completed the worksheets.

    The first worksheet entitled "Learn About Pet Care Needs" was designed around the questions from the Pet Bingo card featured in the Pets badge information booklet. We also used some very nice free pet care tip sheets downloaded from ASPCA.org. (Update: Unfortunately, these tip sheets no longer seem to be available. There is still some good info to be found on ASPCA's site, but nothing as quick, easy and concise as the tip sheets.)

    Download Blue House School pet care worksheets. (The second page can be cut in half to better fit your troop's needs.)

"Small Pet Care: How To Look After Your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, or Hamster" - Annabel Blackledge

Tessa recorded information about proper pet care on a set of worksheets I created to help fulfill the requirements for Steps 1, 3 and 5 of the Brownies Pets Skill-Building Badge.
Tessa recorded information about proper pet care on a set of worksheets I created to help fulfill the requirements for Steps 1, 3 and 5 of the Brownies Pets Skill-Building Badge.

2. Keep a pet comfy. Pets need a clean and comfortable place to live--if their cage, tank, or doghouse is dirty, they can get sick. Learn what one pet needs to have a home sweet home.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Make a cozy sleeping space for a pet.
  • Sniffing out a pattern for a simple no-sew pet bed was more challenging than I imagined. There wasn't a lot variety on the sites I searched and most of what I did find required skills beyond Tessa's current abilities. We ended up using "No Sew Pet Bed" by scoochmaroo from the Instructables site, which uses knotting to keep fabric panels together.

    Another similar option I ran across was "Make a No Sew Pet Bed for Your Doll's Pet" by Karen Mom of Three's craft blog, which teaches the same skill, but might be a better fit for some troops.

To keep this project on a zero budget, we used fabric and "stuffing" that we had in the basement from previous projects. I did all of the prep work, which involved precise measuring and cutting. It took me about an hour to do this. The initial measurements for the bed we made were 28 in. x 32 in. (Don't forget to pre-wash your fabric. If nothing else, it will keep your pet from having to endure the fumes from the dyes.)
To keep this project on a zero budget, we used fabric and "stuffing" that we had in the basement from previous projects. I did all of the prep work, which involved precise measuring and cutting. It took me about an hour to do this. The initial measurements for the bed we made were 28 in. x 32 in. (Don't forget to pre-wash your fabric. If nothing else, it will keep your pet from having to endure the fumes from the dyes.)

Tessa and I shared the work of knotting the fringe. She knotted about half the bed. In a troop setting, having the girls knot one of the four sides would likely be plenty. That was about the extent of Tessa's stamina, but I urged her on a bit beyond that.
Tessa and I shared the work of knotting the fringe. She knotted about half the bed. In a troop setting, having the girls knot one of the four sides would likely be plenty. That was about the extent of Tessa's stamina, but I urged her on a bit beyond that.

Stuffing the bed with fiberfill was by far Tessa's favorite part. She had so much with it and did a good job after I explained that it's best to use large handfuls to keep lumps at bay.
Stuffing the bed with fiberfill was by far Tessa's favorite part. She had so much with it and did a good job after I explained that it's best to use large handfuls to keep lumps at bay.

Tessa thought Sweetpea's new bed looked plush enough for a posh princess pooch!
Tessa thought Sweetpea's new bed looked plush enough for a posh princess pooch! 

I had hoped for a better, cuter pic of Sweetpea enjoying her new bed, but I have only managed to capture her giving me the evil eye for once again waking her with my none-too-sneaky picture-taking pursuits. Ah, well. You get the idea...she likes it!
I had hoped for a better, cuter pic of Sweetpea enjoying her new bed, but I have only managed to capture her giving me the evil eye for once again waking her with my none-too-sneaky picture-taking pursuits. Ah, well. You get the idea...she likes it!

3. Help a pet stay healthy and safe. Just like humans, pets need special care to stay healthy. Find out about how to keep them safe, feeling good, and looking good, too.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Find out how to keep different pets looking good.
  • Completed Blue House School "Keep Pets Looking Good" worksheet for three animals using information from Small Pet Care: How To Look After Your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, or Hamster by Annabel Blackledge. Afterward, Tessa practiced grooming various stuffed animals.

4. Make a pet feel loved. Pets need attention, hugs and kind words, as well as lots of time to have fun and play. Learning to be a good pet owner is like learning to be a good parent!
  • Completed Choice #2 - Make a simply pet toy.
  • Getting well along in years, our dog Sweetpea is pretty picky about her toys these days. No homemade blue jean rope bones or tied up socks would do for her, so I had to put on my thinking cap for this one. One of Sweetpea's favorite things is opening presents. (She will bull up something horrible and pout all day if she doesn't have presents under the tree Christmas morning. No joke!) I also remembered that she enjoyed puzzle balls, etc. in her younger years.

    What I came up with was "DIY Dog Puzzle Toy" constructed from a simple toilet paper tube by It Started With Yum blog. I felt it was a little too simple for us on its own, so we combined it with making our own healthy dog treats, which Tessa used to fill the puzzle toy. We used "Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Banana Dog Treats Recipe" by Miss Molly Says blog. The recipe was deliciously simple and we lucked out by having all of the ingredients on hand.

Tessa started off by smooshing overripe bananas in a plastic bread bag.
Tessa started off by smooshing overripe bananas in a plastic bread bag.

After adding peanut better, oatmeal, whole wheat flour and an egg to the mashed bananas, Tessa stirred and stirred.
After adding peanut better, oatmeal, whole wheat flour and an egg to the mashed bananas, Tessa stirred and stirred.

I had to help Tessa add a little more flour to get the constancy of the dough just right. She used a bone-shaped cookie cutter (and a couple of others) for Sweetpea's treats.
I had to help Tessa add a little more flour to get the constancy of the dough just right. She used a bone-shaped cookie cutter (and a couple of others) for Sweetpea's treats.

A plate of Tessa's scrumptious oatmeal, peanut butter and banana dog treats. I liked that Tessa could make these with very little help.
A plate of Tessa's scrumptious oatmeal, peanut butter and banana dog treats. I liked that Tessa could make these with very little help.

After a quick personal tutorial from yours truly, Tessa was able to make the actual puzzle toy in just a minute or two. For just the cost of a small box of dog biscuits, this would be a quick, easy and cheap make-and-take for any troop.
After a quick personal tutorial from yours truly, Tessa was able to make the actual puzzle toy in just a minute or two. For just the cost of a small box of dog biscuits, this would be a quick, easy and cheap make-and-take for any troop.

I think Tessa definitely achieved her goal of making a pet feel loved.
I think Tessa definitely achieved her goal of making a pet feel loved.

5. Feed a pet. One of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner is knowing what her pet eats, how much it needs to eat, and what it can't eat. And, of course, making sure there's food ready when the pet gets hungry.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Make a pet budget for two pets.
  • Completed Blue House School "Make a Pet Food Budget" worksheet for three animals using information from Small Pet Care: How To Look After Your Rabbit, Guinea Pig, or Hamster by Annabel Blackledge and prices found at Amazon.com.

Purpose

When I've earned this badge, I'll know how to take care of a pet.

Growing Girls Scouting Helpers Logo
Looking for more activities to complement the Pets badge?

Check out my Girl Scout Law Ring Book - Pets Version - Girl Scout Daisies & Brownies printable scouting helper.

5 comments:

  1. It looks like the pet care worksheets are no longer available to download as of May 1st. Unfortunately I needed them today for our troop meeting tonight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bluehouseschoolMay 6, 2016 at 7:04 AM

      I'm so sorry. I haven't had time to move everything and was away from my computer all of yesterday. If you still need the worksheets or anything else, please e-mail me via my contact link.

      Delete
    2. I realize you probably no longer need these, but the links on this page have been updated.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the link and info!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're quite welcome. Enjoy and happy scouting! :)

      Delete