Category Archives: Outdoor Skills




Many today consider the old sayings about how the weather will be as myth. Consider for a moment, how long we have had modern weather predicting devices. Before farmers had the weather channel, they had to figure out when to plant and when to harvest. Sailors needed to know if they were headed for a storm. Travelers needed to know when to look for shelter. They did it by looking towards the sky for natural signs which are a result of scientific factors like atmospheric pressure and the moisture content.

LOW AIR PRESSURE – When the atmospheric pressure is decreasing bad weather is headed your way. Using an altimeter while staying at the same contour allows you to see if it is changing. If you don’t’ have one handy watch the insects and birds. If they are flying low to the ground it is a good sign the pressure is dropping.

STILL AIR – When air has been still for a long time, a frontal system may be bringing bad weather. If you have even been outside before a snow storm, you will know what I mean. It just seems a bit TOO calm.

CARONA – When there is a ring around the sun or moon bad weather should arrive within 12 to 24 hours. The ring is a result of tiny ice particles high in a cirrus cloud that are bending the light to form the ring.

OLD SAYINGS – Expressions were used to teach people how to predict the weather. We all remember nursery rhymes for the same reason.

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s take warning. This is a pretty accurate prediction as long as the prevailing winds are westerly.

Another old saying which deals with low pressure regions goes like this.
When the wind is blowing in the North
No fisherman should set forth,
When the wind is blowing in the East,
‘Tis not fit for man nor beast,
When the wind is blowing in the South
It brings the food over the fish’s mouth,
When the wind is blowing in the West,
That is when the fishing’s best!

While a high pressure area might say
No weather is ill, if the wind be still.

A carona is explained by
When halo rings the moon or sun, rain’s approaching on the run

While a seagull sitting on the sand indicates windy seas.
Moisture causes wood to swell resulting in the following problem.
When windows won’t open, and the salt clogs the shaker,
The weather will favour the umbrella maker!

Did you know cows prefer to have the wind blowing int heir face? Knowing the direction of the wind predicts storms.
A cow with its tail to the West makes the weather best,
A cow with its tail to the East makes the weather least

For air to be cool enough in the summer to produce fog the next day should be clear.
A summer fog for fair,
A winter fog for rain.
A fact most everywhere,
In valley or on plain.

This saying is true in the summer months, but not int he winter.
When sounds travel far and wide,
A stormy day will betide.

And some sayings are pure myths.
If clouds move against the wind, rain will follow. or
Cats and dogs eat grass before a rain.

Modern studies have shown a correlation to our bodies and the weather so don’t discount your Great Aunt Bea when she says her back says a storm is coming.
A coming storm your shooting corns presage,
And aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage.


CIRRUS CIRROCUMULUS – Whispy clouds that are high in the sky often occur in good weather. As they gather together and thicken bad weather is coming witin 24 to 48 hours.

CUMULONIMBUS – when whispy cumulus clouds darken as they grow vertically forming an anvil shape rain is likely to occur. You can often see these clouds in the distance in flat land areas.

CUMULUS – thin and white, they look like cotton balls. When there has been little vertical growth, fair weather can be expected.

STRATUS CLOUDS – Shallow, long and gray, clouds bring drizzly gray weather and are usually close to ground. This is bad weather for hikers and campers as the rain usually sticks around for several days.


1. Use cotton balls to form various clouds on a piece of paper. Integrate it into regular craft projects such as a hand print Mayflower.
2. Make a rain gauge.


1 Place a ping pong ball on the table or floor. Girls must blow through a straw to get the ball to cross the finish line.
2. Blow up a balloon and place it on the ground. Girls must use a fan to push it across the finish line. TO make it even harder, create a course the balloon must follow.


1. Forecast the weather by sight.
2. Boil water and then pour into a jar and close the lid tight. You will see condensation forming on the jar similar to the way water evaporates to form clouds.
3. Use a microscope to look at snowflakes.
4. Create layers of substrate. (dirt, sand and rock layers in a 2 liter bottle) Sprinkle a little water on the topsoil and see what happens. Slowly increase the amount of water until the soil cannot absorb it anymore and you have a flood. How long does it take to finally be absorbed? What does this tell you about flooding?
5. Keep a weather log: Read the newspaper for/watch weather channel a week. Was either one accurate? With what you have learned about watching for the weather, predict what you think will happen and what does happen. Which method was the most accurate?
6. Use an altimeter. Don’t have one? There is an app for it.
7. Get various fabrics wet and see how long it takes each of them to dry.
8. Cover your hand with a fabric and grab a piece of ice. Does your hand get cold or wet?
9. Have a clothing judging contest. Lay various fabrics on the table and girls have to write down the name of the fabric, what it is good and bad for and what items of clothing ti should be used for.
10. Bring in a bunch of clothes and have the girls figure out what to wear for a given weather scenario. Do a fashion show at the end.
11. Create your own lightning by making static electricity.
12. Make a tornado from soda bottles, you only need to buy a connector.
13. make lightning.
14. Make a barometer.
15. Make a cloud.
16. What can air pressure do?
17. Show conduction.
18. Make convection currents.
19. Show the water cycle.
20. What does lower air pressure do by sucking an egg into a bottle.

1. Visit a local television station and talk to the meteorologist or have her come to a meeting.
2. If it is a cloudy day, lay outside and see what shapes you can find in the clouds.
3. After a good thunderstorm, go outside and use your senses. What do you see, smell and hear?
4. Enjoy the weather! Go skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, have a snowman contest, go swimming or fishing.
5. Go fly a kits.


1. What would you do in a weather emergency?
2. What common injuries occur due to bad weather? How would you treat them?

1. How does the weather affect people where you live? How has it recently affected others around the country? Can you do a service project for them?
2. How does the weather effect insects, animals and plants? For example, a cold winter means fewer mosquitoes in the spring but it also means animals may be hungry and come into the suburbs looking for food. What animals sense when an earthquake is coming?
3. How do you prevent frostbite? This chart not only provides temperatures based on windchill, it tells you how long it takes to develop frostbite.
4. How do you dress for different types of weather?
5. How much water should you have when it is hot?
6. How does weather effect needy families and the homeless?
7. Know what CLOTHES you need to be wearing.

1. Do a coat drive.
2. Do a blanket/sock/shoe/coat drive for the homeless.
3. Work in a soup kitchen.
4. Help Girl Scouts in an area where there was a weather emergency such as a flood.

These are possible badges that activities regarding weather could be applied to. Which one works best for you will depend on the activity you decide to do.

Friendly and Helpful
Responsible for What I say and Do
Three Cheers for Animals Journey

First Aid
Home Scientist
Quest Journey
WOW Journey
Safety Award

First Aid
Animal Habitats
Get Moving Journey
Safety Award

First Aid
Good Sportsmanship
Trail Blazing
Safety Award

Cross Training
First Aid
Voice for Animals
Sow What Journey
Safety Award

First Aid
Safety Award




If you are going to work on outdoor skills, knots are a great place to start. You can do them any time of the year, or use them when you have to fill in 10 minutes of a meeting. Girls at any level can begin learning knots, and the more they do outdoors, the more they will use them. For our knot program, I purchased cheap rope at the Dollar Store and cut it into lengths 2 to 3 feet long. Burning the ends with a lighter to prevent unraveling. I wanted something that was not going to be rough on the girls’ hands and did not want to spend a lot of rope that was just going to be cut into bits. Because it is so cheap I will let girls take a length home to practice. I also keep chopsticks to use for lashing practice.

There are so many resources online to learn how to tie knots. A google search can find loads of examples, just keep looking till one makes sense to you.

This site also offers apps for your phone so you can download and actually show the girls at a meeting, or they can download onto their own phones.

At meetings the girls work in pairs, allowing them to help each other I find makes it go much faster. I also think 1 night at a time is best so they don’t become confused. It also ensures that they really know it. We do talk about how each knot is used and specifically which ones we will use when camping. I use a CHECKLIST of the knots my girls learn. Once a girl has mastered the knots at her level, she receives a rocker for her vest. I purchase them through Joycrest.

Once the girls have some basic knots down, have a little fun with it. Plus you can use them for various badge requirements

Learn how to make a PARACORD BRACELET for emergencies.

Make a KNOT PERSON, there are differing versions depending on the knots you know how to make.

Make swaps from the different knots you have learned.

Make a knot board with all the knots they learned and give it to the Service Unit so other Troops can learn them as well.

Everyone should know how to TIE A NECKTIE and here are a few videos for various ones.

HANDKERCHIEF DOLLS are an easy, old-fashioned toy.

If you are going to fish, knots are needed for TYING THE LURES.

If you are feeling really industrious try MACRAME.


Supplies: 15 feet of rope for each team

Everyone is holding onto the rope and at no time can it touch the ground. Only 1 person may let go of the rope at a time. On the signal, the first person ties an overhand knot i the rope by where she is standing. This continues for every player in line. The first team to tie all their knots wins.

Supplies: Each player must have 1 yard of rope.

Girls forma circle. Form more than 1 for a competition. On the signal, each player in each circle will hold the rope behind her back. She will tie the RIGHT end of her rope to the LEFT end of the rope being held by the person next to her, using a SQUARE KNOT. When all the ropes are joined forming a complete circle, each person leans her weight on the knot she tied. If it is tied correctly the knot will. If not the girl will fall and they must repair the rope.

Supplies:2 or more pieces of rope 14″ long. 2 or more bowls/bags with the names of the knots the girls have learned.

The girls form a line and the first person will run up and grab a slip of paper and proceeds to try and tie that knot. If successful according to the judge the paper is thrown away. If unsuccessful it goes back in the bowl for another person. Make sure the knots are not tight or they will be difficult to untie.

Supplies: A 12″ piece of rope for each girl.

Place lengths of rope in front of each girl, and they must put their hands behind their back. Call out a knot and the girls see who can do the knot the fastest and correctly.

Ultimately the goal is to have learned useful sills and have fun at the same time. So progress at the speed your girls are ready for and have fun.

Outdoor Skills


Below are the outdoor skills that the girls work on over the years. When we choose an outdoor activity we work on the skills specifically needed in order to do that activity safely and still have fun. We also tie the skills into badges.

The girls each receive a copy of the list and keep it in their binders. As we cover a topic the girls write the date next to that skill. Once the sheet has been covered they turn it into me and I keep track of who has completed it. In turn, the girls receive a rocker (patch) for the back of their uniform. As new girls came into the Troop I found it hard to keep up with he knew what. I don’t want to cover the same topic repeatedly, at the same time I want to make sure we are all properly prepared. There are some checklists that are VERY short and we are able to cover in a single meeting. I don’t hand those out to the girls, I just make a note of which girls are done. If your girls don’t have their own binders, they can keep them inside their hanging file.

Some of the skills are for older girls. In those cases I have the younger girls cross that line off of their checklist. In my records I write the date a skill has been completed so I know if a particular girl has moved up to the harder skills.


bandanna uses – The various ways to use a bandanna


















Orienteering Checklist



Orienteering arrow
Compass needle
Rotating compass housing
Direction of travel arrow

Degree and directions

Follow directions using Silva Compass

General hints
Affects of metal
Follow line of sight when walking
When object is in way, count sidesteps

Practice on a course with cards

Scout Pace = walk 20, jog 20 – allows less fatigue

Pace = 2 steps – What is your pace?





Using Stars

History of

Using the sun & watch