This post may contain affiliate links and this site is not connected with, affiliated with, approved by, endorsed by The Girl Scouts of the USA or the Frontier Girls. Ideas are my own and I share to help you run your troops with ease.
As Girl Leaders one of our goals is to get our girls outside, exploring nature and learn new outdoor skills. If you are a outdoor type of person that may come second nature to you, but for me and probably for many others we are that beverly hills kind of leader outside of scouting you wont catch us tent camping or “roughing it” unless you count staying in a fully furnished cabin with a hot tub, camping. 🙂
So for leaders like me we need all the help we can get to make the outdoor experience for our girls the best it can be. If you are lucky you will have parents or co-leaders who step into that role for you. But for many you are on your own or don’t have much support.
I think I found that support you are looking for, you may have heard of subscription boxes through companies like Amazon and KiwiCo that focus on STEM topics, but have you heard of any that focus on Outdoors? Me neither, well until now. If you want your girls to get outdoors, learn new survival skills, and enjoy the other joys that come along with being outdoors the Think Outside monthly subscription program will be perfect for your troop. It is a year long program with something new each month to get your girls outdoors exploring nature. I got the subscription for a few months and am excited to share my experience with you on some of the activities you can do while I do the program with my son, niece and nephew. My first initial reaction after I opened the first box I thought “Darn it, I really wish this was around when I was a leader.”
In this post I will share with you:
- Quick summary of how program works and what to expect
- My opinion of the box for the month
- Price and any coupons or ordering discounts offered by the company for Girl Leaders
Think Outside Boxes Background
What is Think Outside Boxes? They are a great way to teach your girls new exciting outdoor skills each month. Each box focuses on a different topic from learning about the night sky, building fires, how to build a shelter, using first aid and more.
On the website they state these boxes are geared toward kids 7+. I would agree with this assessment and in regards to scouting I think these activities would be best suited for 3rd grade and up. If you have advanced 2nd graders that all can read well they maybe able to do activities as well.
When you first sign up for the program the first box is always the same you will receive a backpack with a 16+ page resource/guided activity booklet and a few other pieces of outdoor gear to get you started. Then the following months will each focus on a outdoor topic, with 3 to 5 pieces of outdoor gear, a activity book and a really cool reference card set about the topic that the girls can refer back to when they need to use the skills again camp out after camp out.
It is so easy to get started all you need to do is subscribe to receive the boxes and shipping is free. Then just wait for the first box to arrive. Then get outside and have fun exploring the great outdoors using everything in the box.
Continue reading to the end of this post for pricing with some great discount opportunities exclusive to leaders like you!
What I think of the box?
The first post of this series is going to include my opinion of the first 2 boxes. The first is called “Your Pack Building Box” which is everything you need to start your adventures outdoors with your girls. The second box I received is called the “Your Night Box” which is full of activities to do outside in the dark.
Your Pack Building Box
When you sign up for the subscription you get to pick the color backpack you want which comes in 4 different colors. I thought that was pretty nice to get to customize your experience a bit. The backpack you get is cool as well because it comes all zipped up in this pouch but once you unzip that it opens into a pretty good sized backpack and the pouch itself reverses and becomes a pocket of the bag.
As I mentioned earlier every box comes with a 16 page activity booklet. This to me was where the value really came in for this product. Don’t get me wrong the outdoor gear was also helpful and I felt it was all high quality and I am glad it all came together. But if I was just being sent the gear without the booklet I would be lost because it came packed full with everything I needed to teach the topic to my kids.
For example did you know there is a proper way to pack a backpack for a day trip? I know you outdoor people are like come on lady everyone knows that. So you see if I was just given the backpack with no context, the girls would be shoving their supplies right in there with no understanding of the proper way.
So what is the benefit of this box? It uses a variety of challenges, skill tests, and activity sheets to teach the girls the proper way to pack a bag, what to put in bag, how to use items in bag for survival, how to do a craft that doubles as a survival tool, understand hiking etiquette, and learn morse code. Pretty much the girls are learning the basics of how to survive in the wilderness.
The Night Box
The second Think Outside box looked completely different than the first. Which if you have read my story you know I am a graphic designer by trade so I always look at branding and design of just about everything I use. So right off the bat I was impressed with the new designed box that came to my door. I doubt your girls will be that concerned with that, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
As for gear in this box, it has all your lighting needs covered with a headlamp and a emergency LED flashlight that does not need batteries. It also comes with velcro and a carabiner. Then to put it all together you have a 16 page activity booklet that will take your girls on a outdoor adventure at night.
What do I think of reference cards? I am impressed because when I first read it on website I was thinking some flimsy printer paper cards, but no these are sturdy, water resistant cards with extra support at the hole so it wont tear. This particular box came with 6 reference cards related to star gazing. It was a great take away from the activities in booklet.
So what is the benefit of this box? Just like the first boxes booklet it uses a variety of challenges, skill tests, and activity sheets to teach the girls about outdoors in the dark. Your girls are going to learn about nifty ways to use velcro and a carabiner. The headlight and flashlight will come in handy while doing a number of flashlight activities. If you get lost in the woods your girls will know how to find their way home using stars and the moon as their compass. Take a night hike to explore and learn about animals that are more active at night. So Pretty much anything related to being outside at night the girls are going to learn about it.
How Much Does It Cost?
Now that I have shared how great these kits can be for your troop I know the big question is how much do they cost and can I afford it for my troop. I first want to mention you can cancel at anytime, so if you plan to go for it but your troop decides they can’t afford it or need to stop for other reasons you can cancel.
Here are a few options for purchasing
- The company is offering a great deal to leaders like you. As troop leaders the cost of supplies can be hard. If you have been reading along on the blog and would love to get in on some of these amazing activities THINK OUTSIDE has to offer they now have a bulk subscription offer if you purchase 6 or more boxes shipped to the same address they are only $25 per month/box plan. To get the bulk pricing, sign up here. For 2-5 orders to the same address, you can get them for $29.95 per month/box plan. Use code FAMILY5 at check out here.
- The first option is what I would recommend almost 99% of the time, but if you just read this email and was like I really want to do these activities but the troop funds are just not there right now. Start with one, order one subscription for your troop. Of course you wont have enough gear for everyone, but you can improvise maybe if you have a troop of 6 girls buy two subscriptions and put them into groups of 3. Do activities together as group keeping gear with troop rather than each girl. Again this is only if the price for each girl is just is to much.
What box will I receive each month?
No matter what month you sign up for this program your first box will always be the Intro Box / Pack building, then the second months box will correspond with the listed month. For example if you order by September 20th, you will receive the Intro Box in October, then the Animal Tracking Box in November. Then over the course of the whole year you will do each of the other outside boxes. Below is example of order boxes will be delivered.
- Intro Box / Pack Building (July) – That is this post 🙂
- Night Box / Stargazing (August) – That is this post 🙂
- Water Box (September) Read my review of this box
- Fire Building Box (October) – Read my review of this box
- Animal Tracking Box / Wildlife (November)
- Knot Tying it all Together Box (December)
- Repair Box / Paracord (January)
- Shelter Building Box (February)
- First Aid Box (March)
- Weather Box (April)
- Wayfinding Box (May)
- Primitive Cooking Box / Nutrition (June)
So what is my final opinion of these boxes?
In summary I highly recommend this subscription series. It is only for a year and your girls are going to learn about 12 different outdoor topics, have reference cards and all the outdoor gear to continue to use year after year. I know the one downfall is price per girl, which I know is a challenge for many, but when you look at the value you are receiving in each kit it may be worth a troop fundraiser to make enough to purchase the year subscription for each girl. If you are scratching your head for a good money maker, try a hoagie sale. Here is everything you have to do and a free order form download.
If you have a Junior troop you may love to also try these outdoor activities for the Outdoor Art Explorer badge