Wednesday, May 11, 2022

World Thinking Day 2022: A (Take-Home) Trip to Mexico

My local Girl Scout Service Unit likes to celebrate World Thinking Day each year with a Girl Scout geography fair focused on countries that host a Girl Guides or Girl Scouts organization. My troop has participated in this fair several times--here we are presenting China, and here we are presenting Mongolia--and always loved it. It was an especially suitable project for a young homeschooled troop, because you know how much we homeschoolers love our projects!

If I had to guess, I'd say that the kids in my Girl Scout troop would think themselves too old to do another World Thinking Day fair, but because of the pandemic, the SU did something really cool this year that was perfectly suited to their ages and interests: instead of a traditional geography fair, they asked troops to come up with a take-home kit that would allow another troop to explore a selected country, and in return they would receive their own take-home kit.

And that's how my Girl Scout troop ended up crafting a Take-Home Trip to Mexico! Here's what we put in our kit:

Plaster of Paris Sugar Skulls

I put the most labor into this part of the kit, and ended up blowing the troop budget on the supplies for it, too, so that we had to cheap out on the candy and forget about fun patches altogether, but I stand by my claim that sugar skulls are awesome and sugar skull models are awesomely fun.

To accompany the plaster of Paris skulls, I included a set of dimensional fabric paint and Syd's essay on El Dia de los Muertos and its traditions.


On the other hand, this was the easiest part of the kit! Will and a buddy had recently earned the Ambassador Dinner Party badge by planning and hosting a Mexican-themed lunch for the rest of the troop, so Will wrote up one of the recipes she used and included it in our kit.

Frida Kahlo Doll and Paintings

This was super easy to pull together, because my own two kids recently studied Frida Kahlo as part of earning a Hispanic Heritage fun patch, so all we had to do was pick out of couple of their favorite activities to include in the kit. 

I copied a Frida Kahlo paper doll for each kid, and included the brads to make the dolls moveable. 

There are actually a lot of paper Frida Kahlo dolls kicking around online, so the hardest part might be choosing which one you want to make!

As part of their own Frida Kahlo study, my kids had researched her paintings and chosen their favorites to print and mount, so for the painting matching game I just printed and cut out a set of those paintings, then typed and printed the titles and years separately. It's not the hardest thing in the world to match the paintings to the titles, but there are a few tricky ones to keep it interesting.

Girl Guides of Mexico Fact Sheet

Since the focus for World Thinking Day is on countries that host a Girl Guide/Girl Scout program, the SU likes the troops to incorporate information about a country's WAGGGS organization into their presentation. In all the years we've done World Thinking Day fairs, my troop has never thought up a more interesting way to present the information than a fact sheet. If you've got a way that's more fun, please let me know!

Mexican Candy

My Girl Scout troop called around but couldn't find any local stores that sell Mexican candy--such a bummer! I guess I'd never really noticed that gap in our candy inventory, although when we travel I often find saladitos at gas stations and always snap them up.

By coincidence, though, I'd already bought this giant set of Mexican candy for Syd's birthday--

--and so before I wrapped it I sneakily opened it up and took out enough candy for each of the Girl Scouts to have a piece. It's not nearly as fun as visiting a dulceria, but I guess it's as good as we're going to get here in Indiana!

Map Stickers

This project was based on an activity I did with my Girl Scout troop when we were first beginning to plan our troop trip to Mexico. It's a good way to assess prior knowledge, and to add new places for the kids to memorize. 

My troop wrote directly onto a giant map of Mexico that I printed and taped together, but to keep the kit workable by individual Girl Scouts, I printed small copies of the map, then stickerized them using Syd's sticker maker. Hopefully, the kids will enjoy sticking their maps onto something fun, and then accidentally memorize all the important locations in Mexico without realizing it!

Assembling the kit turned out to be more work than I'd anticipated, oops, and I didn't have optimal participation from my Girl Scout troop, who are all busy in that post-Spring Break lead-up to finals. If I had it to do again, I'd have incorporated it more forcefully into our trip planning sessions, which I DID have optimal buy-in for. Creating the kit was just as educational (if not more so!) than I think using the kit would be, and it taps into the Girl Scout goal of putting your earned knowledge to work to give service to others. 

And best of all, creating a kit to give out means that WE get a kit of our own to do. Hello, United Kingdom, because we're about to taken an at-home trip to visit you!

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