May 28, 2009

Jigsaw Puzzle TeamWork Activity

Here's a team building activity I recently came across. Troop loved it and actually learned something. Works great for younger kids (any age as long as they can put together a puzzle). I used this team building as a precursor to bronze award planning to prove the point that we MUST work together.


Get several small puzzles from the $1 store. Best to use the ones that have about 25 pieces for ages 3-7 in which the puzzles are all cut from the same die (ie, all have the same shaped pieces).

Before hand the facilitator takes three pieces out of each puzzle and includes the same piece from a different puzzle so it would be possible to put the puzzle together, however the picture would not be correct. There are three pieces in each of puzzles I have that are cut like a cat, a pig, and a rabbit. These three pieces are the easiest to pull out and mix up. Make sure that each puzzle has at least one piece from the other puzzles.

You should have enough puzzles for the entire group to work in small groups of 3-6 people.

The facilitator announces "we will be working on a teamwork activity. Your challenge is to put together a puzzle". That's it. Don't say another word until it's over.

The "groups" will do several different things -
  • they may assume it is a race
  • Someone will eventually say they don't have the correct piece -do not respond
  • Some groups will figure out that the pieces are mixed and will go find the piece they need
  • some may try to "hide" their "extra" pieces
  • some will just sit there looking confused
After things settle down and puzzles are finished, the facilitator will ask what just occurred which should stimulate some good discussions. Ask:
  • Raise your hand if you tried to win -- explain why
  • Raise your hand if you hid other teams pieces -- explain why
  • Raise your hand if you tried to help others with their pieces -- explain why
The objective is to have everyone realize the original statement was "this is a team activity" at no time did the facilitator say each group was the whole team. Everyone on the team must work together or the team will not have all the pieces to complete their puzzle regardless of the activity the team is currently working on. We must all seek information/assistance from other team members AND give information/assistance to other team members.

Thanks to Elaine Royer | Link to original post

10 y/o birthdays -- why oh why oh why

I'm in the midst of putting the final touches on my daughter's 10th birthday party. This year, we decided to do it "bigger" than the last couple years in which we had 3 or 4 friends for sleepover.

First she says -- ROLLER SKATING. (Lordy -- can you believe how expensive roller skating parties are these days. In my day -- which was a long long long time ago -- skating was the CHEAP sport. I know this because, believe it or not, i was a competitve roller skater. Why??? I have no idea).

Then we went through some of the typical ideas -- Pump it Up, Rock Climbing, etc.

Thankfully, my oh-so-creative mother hosted a "who killed santa" murder mystery party at christmas time. If you read my previous post, you know that my daughter is writing a horror story right now and loves scary stuff. So I offered up the idea of hosting a murder mystery party.

She LOVED this plan. Yay!!!

I was amazed at how many murder mystery kits exist that are kid-appropriate. We settled on "Who Stole the Crown from the Miss Teen USA Diamond." (I know, it's not a murder mystery but still tons of fun).

We ordered the kit, redesigned ALL the invitations (of course), made sashes, purchase the red carpet (of course) and tiaras (need I say more). I tell you, you would think these 4th grade girls have NEVER gone to a b-day party. It is certainly the talk of the school. And their faces just LIGHT up.

I will be the pageant host, Ms. Victoria Morningstar -- going for a texas, big-haired, over sparkled look with a huge accent, saying "Sug" and "dahlin'" all night. The girls are just tickled over the whole thing.

We're down to the last few days. I'll let you know how it goes.

May 26, 2009

Definitely a Crazy Life!

Just back from girl scout camporee. It's our annual city-wide campout. This is my troop's 5th year attending and we love it everytime. I was pleased to bring 9 of my girls with me (for 2 of them, it was their first time).

All went well -- left on time, was able to fit EVERYTHING into the cars with room to spare (not sure how that happened!), and only 2 threw up in the car on the way up. Doing pretty good at this point.

Unfortunately, drama ensued. Guess it's not possible for 500 girl scouts and parents to get together without a little excitement. We learned just after arrival that an 11 year old girl from another troop ran away from her group and hid in the woods. Thankfully, her mother was present and aware of the situation from the start. I couldn't imagine making that phone call home (hi, Mrs. Johnson, you daughter ran away into the woods and we can't find her. I'm very sorry)....

The girl was found the next morning and all were relieved. The alternative would have been extremely difficult to handle.

This was definitely a life-lesson for us all. When going into the woods with girls:
1) EVERY girl should wear a whistle so when lost in the woods, they can blow it and be found.
2) BUDDY system is extremely important and if the girls cannot handle it, then they shouldn't be at camp.
3) EMERGENCY procedures should always we covered. We all start our planning and say "nothing ever happens so no worries". This time, something did happen and we panicked. Always practice practice practice your emergency procedures. KNOW what the different siren sounds are and how to respond (gather, leave, ignore)...

Some interesting thoughts came out of this experience from my girls.
1) If the incident is on the news, then bad people will know where we are and come get us
2) if the girl is hiding, she may jump out at us and scare us

(Things I never thought of -- but interesting to keep in mind).

So, all is well. And the trip ended up a success. I don't think any of us will ever forget it.

May 22, 2009

The Book

My 9 year old is writing a book. Not just any book. It's a horror story. g r e a t. Why a horror story? No idea! It's her thing right now.

At this point, I think we're on chapter 6 and have rewritten it twice at least. She says "mommy, it's a really long story. It's handwritten FRONT AND BACK of the paper. and each chapter is 2 pages.". (I hate to tell her that when this is typed, it's only going to be about 1 pp per chapter. Wonder if she'll care.)

So, every day, 9 y/o has a question about this book (the book that is not yet finished).

Q1: Can I publish it?
Q2. When can I publish it?
Q3. When it's finished, will you find a publisher so I can publish it?
Q4. I want to give it to my friends so we need to publish it.
Q4. Will it be Hardback or Softcover???? (when it's published).

Geesh. It's exhausting. Told her to not ask anymore questions UNTIL it's finished!!!!! (is that bad? i guess I'm a ruiner of inspiration).

What are Girl Scout Leaders Thinking

Why oh why do girl scout leaders do everything the hardway? Don't you know that everything you need is online. Don't EVER reinvent the wheel.

My favorite resource: Click on the Site Map -- much more helpful than the tabs.

Self-inflicting stress

Of course! I've overcommitted. Why not. Life's too short to sit around.

It's the friday before memorial weekend and I realized I'm completely over capacity. I've not only committed to taking 9 of my girl scouts camping for the weekend but I'm in the midst of planning my soon-to-be 10 y/o's "Miss Teen USA" Mystery Party, my Girl Scout end of the year party, designing my grandmother's 80th birthday invitations, and I just took on another invitation design project.

Lord, what am I thinking?

On top of it all, I have to work, work, work at my "regular job" (you know what those are...they actually pay the bills).

Of course, I can't do anything half-way. My fabulous pre-teen needs tiara's for the big day. Can't be a pageant queen (not even a fake one) without tiara's. And the mystery party kit has pre-party clues to mail out the week before the party. It says optional. Oh well, optional or not, they MUST go out. You cannot have a mystery party without pre-party excitement. But they look HORRIBLE. So I'll have to find time to redesign them so they fit "our" theme. Maybe add a tiara, change the font, add some color. Won't take long. After-all, It's what I do.

Wish me luck.

May 21, 2009

Fabulous Fabris -- it's a family life!

So, this is the first blog I've ever done for my personal life. Been blogging for a while now for work. Just not the same when you aren't talking about yourself.

Hoping to share some laughs about kids & life. Hoping to share my tips for parties, girl scouts, and fun. And hoping to have an avenue to connect.

Give feedback whenever you can!

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