With school and busy schedules at least somewhat out of the way, the summer break is the perfect opportunity for Girl Scouts to embark on different adventures and learn various skills. These activities are perfect for younger girls to stay focused on, and older girls to take the lead on. If your troop is thinking about letting the older girls from your multilevel troop (or older girls from a local sister troop) take on more leadership and responsibility, then here are some easy activities to start with. Whether you have a troop full of energetic little ones, a troop with older girls, or both, here are 6 activities you can do to kick-start your summer fun!  

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1. The Human Knot  

This classic team-building exercise will definitely get a lot of giggles and excitement from the girls, so it is definitely an activity to try. The Human Knot can be played with four or more girls—the more the better! It is also typically played outside, as it will require a lot of space. To play, all players must start by standing in a circle. Then one by one, each girl will grab onto another girl’s hands (not the girl next to her unless you run out of hand options), until all the arms have formed a “human knot.” The goal of the game is to then untangle the whole group without letting go of hands. Not only is it a fun game, but it will have the whole troop using strategy, communication skills, and most importantly teamwork to get out of the “human knot.” From personal experience, this will be a game that the troop will want to play over and over!  

2. Picnic Snacks

This summer, your troop can plan a day to prepare some delicious and healthy snacks for a picnic. For older girls, this is the perfect opportunity for them to share some healthy habits and recipes with the younger girl scouts. Some healthy snack ideas can be classics such as, “Ants on a Log” (nut butter on celery sticks topped with raisins), air-popped popcorn, “Apple Race Cars” (apple slices with grape wheels on toothpicks), and even refreshing homemade fruit popsicles. After creating these yummy munchies, the troop can head out for a relaxing outdoor picnic.  

Pro Tip: Consider merging your picnic fun with some outdoor badgework with these badges for the budding Girl Scout naturalist! 

3. Bird-Watching  

Another troop activity for this summer is bird watching. You can search online for your local national parks or trails and see if they have information about bird watching opportunities. If not, pick up or print out a local bird or wildlife watching guide, review some bird watching tips, and see what different birds or animals your troop can try to find in your area, from national parks to local parks! For this activity, wear your hiking shoes, pack lots of water, sunscreen, and some binoculars so your Girl Scouts can become true outdoorswomen. 

4. Environmentally-Friendly Reusable Bags

Arts and crafts are a Girl Scout tradition, but when they are useful and environmentally-friendly, they are even better. For this summer activity, your troop can create reusable bags out of old, upcycled t-shirts to help reduce the waste of plastic bags. These T-shirt bags will require the use of scissors, so older girls and adults will need to help the younger girls with this part. First, begin by cutting off the sleeves and the neckline of the T-shirt. This will later serve as your bag’s handles. Next, determine how deep you would like your bag to be, and draw a line on the shirt with a dark marker. Then, carefully cut slits of 3/4-1 inch in length, starting from the bottom of the shirt up to the line. After making these slits in the t-shirt, the bag is almost complete! The final step, which the younger girls can easily do, is to tie the slits together. Now, the bags are ready to be transformed in the most fun part of the activity. After creating her own bag, each girl can use fabric markers, glitter, and sequins to decorate her bag. With this activity, you can clearly see that each girl has their own personal style, and I guarantee that the creativity and uniqueness of these bags will not disappoint. But before they leave with their bags, make sure to emphasize to the girls that the bags can be a great alternative to single-use plastic bags, since they can be washed and reused many times, and are made of a biodegradable material.  

5. Kid-Friendly Elephant’s Toothpaste  

From the silly name alone, you can already tell that Elephant’s Toothpaste will be a hit with the Girl Scouts. This project always gets excited “oohs” and “aahs” each time we do it. Using non-toxic materials, the girls can create an impressive (and safe) chemical reaction of their own. The ingredients mixed together will ooze out of the container similar a science fair project on volcano eruptions, but a little more like foam or toothpaste for an elephant, sometimes getting a couple of feet high! Make sure you have plenty of easy-to-clean space, and adult supervision and safety goggles are still recommended. Learn how to make it here!

6. Photo Memory Album

This activity is to start a memory keepsake for the troop. In this activity, create groups with a diverse mixture of ages. For each group, strive to have two or more older girls or at least one adult to tag along. Each group will be provided a camera to take photos. Allow each group 20 minutes to take three photos of anything that they think is beautiful or that stood out to them in nature. After the 20 minutes, have a moment for the different groups to share their photos. These photos can be printed out later and put into a photo album. Your troop can continue to use this album to document memories of each activity the summer, as the new “Girl-Scout Summer Memory Album.”  

These are a few of the activities that my troop leaders and I have organized together for this summer. I am extremely lucky that my leaders have let me take on more leadership, and to help organize activities like these. So, if you are an adult volunteer or a troop leader, I encourage you to allow your older Girl Scouts to help organize or plan activities. Who knows, maybe your older girls have unique ideas for summer projects that will become your new favorite troop tradition. In all, I hope these 6 ideas inspire you or spark your imagination for other fun activities this summer. Whatever activity you plan to do with your troop this summer, I know it will be great! 

What’s next:

Ashley Dang—Ashley is an Ambassador Girl Scout from the Northern California Council. She started Girl Scouts during fifth grade, and has loved it ever since. In her troop, she actively works with her leaders to plan ideas and activities. Besides scouting, she enjoys soaking up the California sun, swimming, and learning to play music from movie soundtracks.

The Trailhead