As a troop leader or parent, you’re constantly developing new projects and fun ideas for your girls to earn badges. Your girls have probably spent a lot of time creating art and exploring nature, but now’s the chance to combine the two! The Outdoor Art Master badge uses the environment to inspire creativity and is perfect for the summer season when the weather is warm and flowers are in full bloom. If you’re curious about it, here are five great ideas to help earn the badge.
“Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature.”— Cicero
Learning how to appreciate art in all its forms. Art isn’t only something you see in a gallery–it surrounds us at all times! Teach your girls to notice the beauty in the outdoors, both natural and artificial, by exploring outside and documenting what they see. Give them any medium to use, whether pen and paper, film camera or watercolors. Disposable cameras like this one are fun and easy to use for all ages.
They should try and get creative by looking at things from different perspectives and angles. For example, have them lay under a tree to get a picture of its branches spreading out towards the sky. Topography, sculptures, and topiary can influence your art, so take as many photographs or sketches as you can while outside.
Try making something both artistic and functional, using materials found outside. Gather some sticks and flowers to bind them together into a picture frame or decorative wall piece. Paint rocks, use leaves as stamps, or press flowers into bookmarks. You’d be surprised by what you can craft using only things foraged from nature! If you need some inspiration, check out this great art and crafts idea book. It has over fifty ideas from an artist and nature photographer who advocates for sustainability and appreciation of natural resources!
ASMR is a massive trend online nowadays, so get your girls to try their hand at recording audio themselves! Remember that art is not just visual. What you hear can also leave a strong impression and cause you to feel different emotions. There’s a reason why people have sound machines that play ocean waves or rainstorms at night to help them fall asleep–it’s incredibly relaxing!
Go outside and spend time in silence, appreciating the different sounds you hear. Using your phone, record your favorites and compile them into a composition. You might listen to crickets chirping, leaves crunching, or the wind blowing through trees. All of these can be used to create music or background noise. If your girls want to get a little more creative, they can film a short nature documentary that utilizes their captured sounds.
This is a perfect opportunity to introduce your girls to various careers related to the outdoors and art. Have them explore a field that interests them and create a project or piece of art for it. Some of the more well-known jobs are photographer, forest ranger, and archeologist–but don’t stop there! Even architects and writers study nature to influence their work. Try going out for a walk in the park and writing a poem to describe how nature makes you feel or directing a video about an environmental issue in your neighborhood. You don’t even need fancy equipment since cell phones have high-quality cameras now!
Finally, let the creativity flow by designing something entirely new for your surroundings. Instead of just drawing what they see, your girls should look at a landscape and think about how they could enhance it. For this step, why not try designing a community park or garden? You can discuss natural flora and fauna, water concerns, and even the psychology of design. Add structures and extra features for the people to enjoy, too. This can be an individual project, or you can get the entire troop involved to pitch ideas together. You can even find handy landscape design kits like this one for your girls to use. The career information that they learned during the last step will be a massive help in designing a great public space.
When you are going outdoors, you must take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. You should always be prepared, even if you’re just going for a light hike! Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you and your troop head outside:
- Wear Sunscreen: You can get a sunburn walking outside for too long, so remember to wear sunscreen and pack it to reapply. UV rays can still travel through clouds, so make sure everyone puts some on beforehand.
- Be Prepared: The boys were on to something with this motto. You should always pack enough supplies, no matter where you’re going. Water, a jacket, hat, first aid kit, whistle, flashlight, and cell phone are necessary.
- Go With A Friend: Although solo travel and hiking are trendy nowadays, your troop members should never go out alone. Make sure you stress the importance of going with a friend or at least letting an adult know their plans. They should also always bring their phone with them in case of emergencies.
- Pay Attention: Be aware of your surroundings when on a nature walk because you don’t want to lose the trail or wander into some poison ivy accidentally! Keep yourself and your girls safe by always paying attention to where you’re going.
What do we do after your Ambassador girls complete the badge?
Well of course give them the badge to display proudly on their vest, they earned it! Additionally If you are like many leaders we want to award our girls when they complete something even beyond just the patch. One great way to show achievement is with a certificate. Don’t worry you don’t have to make them, I found a resource that has done all the work for you and all you have to do is print them and customize the certificates with each girl’s name, date and troop leader. Click here to get a complete set of Girl Scout Ambassador badge and journey certificates.
Do You Have A Multi-Level Troop?
I know many troops are multi-level like mine was for many years. The best way to keep everything organized is to work on similar badges at each meeting. If you are looking for the Outdoor art badges for each level with some great ideas to get you started along with badge activity booklets for each, check out these post