The Me and My Shadow Brownie Try-It is a retired badge that my Brownies have always enjoyed. As a leader, I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t require a lot of advance prep work outside of making sure you have enough lamps or flashlights, some pie tins and a couple of hammers and nails.
Given that this is a shadow-based badge it may work better to do this during the winter months especially if you live in the south like I do.
1. Shadow Animals
I like to start this badge off with the shadow animals step. It’s a fairly unstructured activity and allows me to deal with latecomers or prep work for the other tasks.
Divide the girls into groups – preferably not more than four and give them a lamp or flashlight. Once you dim the lights have the girls place their lamps or flashlights against a blank wall. Have them practice making different animals in the shadow.
Of course, everyone can do bunny ears but I really didn’t know how to do anything else. I searched and found some websites that can help you if you’re in the same boat. Here is a short video to help you learn some new shadow skills:
Once the girls learn how to make several different shadow animals it’s time for the girls to develop a short skit. The girls should develop the skit themselves and make sure that each girl’s animal has a speaking part.
I often give the girls a theme so that they can focus. Sometimes if the request is too open-ended it can overwhelm them. I have used themes like “Escaping the Zoo” or “Noah’s Ark” but it’s really up to you.
Once the girls have finished have them take turns performing their skit for the other teams. Don’t be worried if the skits are only about 20 seconds long!
2. Shadow and Light Art
This is an activity that most girls have never done before so it is great fun. It allows the girls to be creative in a way that they probably never have before. Girls always ask for extra pie tins to take home so don’t be surprised if you get some begging as well!
Give each girl a disposable pin tin that you can find at any grocery or dollar store. You can also have your parents save them for you after a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Each girl should take a marker and create a design on the pan.
The girls will then use the hammer and nails to punch some holes along the edges of their design. By using different sized nails the girls can add depth and more subtlety.
Make sure the surface you’re using for the hole punching is sturdy enough to withstand the hammer. You can use newspaper or another padding to protect whatever surface you’re using. I generally use a plastic top with newspaper padding above and below it. I’ve also taken the girls outside and used the grass!
Once all the designs and hole punching are complete, have the girls showcase their designs by either holding the tin against a window or by shining a flashlight through it so that the design shows on an empty wall.
I usually have the girls keep their designs secret and then play a sort of guessing game with the reveals.
**Leader note: You will need some additional adult help in this particular activity. Certainly, you want to give the girls the opportunity to use the hammer/nails but it could drastically slow you down to where you might not finish the badge in one meeting. This is particularly true if your group is composed mainly of younger Brownies. If that is your ultimate goal I recommend having the adults (with the girl’s input) knock out about 80% of the punches and then assist the girls with the remaining 20%.
In this step, the girls will learn how to use shadow to create shapes. For this activity, I separate the girls into pairs with one girl as the “model” and the other girl as the “artist”. Have the “model” sit sideways in a chair or on the floor a few feet from an empty wall.
Have the “artist” walk some distance away and shine a flashlight or lamp towards the “model”. It will need to be somewhat level with her head so have some books or crates for stacking. The end result should be a silhouette of the “model’s” face on the wall behind her.
Attach a large piece of paper to the wall behind the “model” so that the “artist” can trace the silhouette. Once this is done have the girls trade places.
Have each girl take the silhouette of their model and have them decorate it with ideas that they associate with that girl. Is she known for her love of soccer? Is she a great friend? The silhouette should be a collage of all her wonderful and unique traits.
I usually have construction paper, magazines, jewels, stickers and crayons/markers on hand to help with their artistic endeavors. Be sure the “artists” leave room for their signatures before they present their artwork to the “model.”
4. Shadow Tag
I always end the badge with shadow tag because the girls love it and it works if we have 20 minutes left or only five minutes left. Also, it gets the girls pretty wound up and I’d much rather send the girls home with all that energy rather than try to contain it! You’ll need a large area that is free of obstacles as you don’t want the girls to trip on anything.
Shadow tag is played just how you would think it is – although instead of tagging the person you will tag their shadow. Tagging is done by either having the girl who is IT step on another girl’s shadow or having her own shadow cross another girl’s. In practice, I have found the easiest is just to have IT step on the girls’ shadows as it makes it much easier to understand if you’ve been tagged.
5. Optional Activity
My meeting locations have always been great in that one had a gymnasium in the building and our current location has a large grassy lot. This makes it simple to do these sort of active chasing steps. If you don’t have this luxury you can still complete this badge by creating a shadow box in lieu of the shadow tag.
To make a shadow box, have the girls decorate the inside of a shoe box or maybe some other small boxes such as those you get with Amazon deliveries. Make sure to have glue, tape, and scissors on hand along with some construction paper, magazines, gems, stickers, etc. Let the girls use their imagination to create a great scene! You can use the same theme as the one you used in the shadow animals section.
And there you have it. Another great meeting in the books! Let me know if you have any questions. Otherwise post below and let me know how your Brownies did while earning this Try-It.