In Girl Scouts, earning badges is a great way for you to explore your interests and learn new skills. Below are some new household habits that could help your family save energy, save water, and save the planet. Once you’ve earned the Household Elf Badge, you’ll know how to make your home clean and green.

Saving Energy

The grown-ups in your house pay for the electricity and water you use, so wasting energy or water is the same as wasting money. Take a walk around your home and see what items use energy (the top energy users include our heating and cooling systems, lighting, our washer and dryers and our refrigerators). Now that you have identified a couple figure out how you can make small changes to your home, ensuring you and your family are using your resources wisely.

Pick three things from this list (or add your own!) to put on an “Energy Action Worksheet” then, hang the sheet on the fridge as a reminder to your family members.

Energy Action Worksheet List
  • Replace regular light bulbs with energy-efficient ones
  • Turn off lights when not in the room
  • Unplug chargers when phones or tablets when fully charged
  • Unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t in use
  • Clean the lint filter after every dryer load
  • Wash laundry with cold water
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn the water off when brushing your teeth
  • Make sure you only run the washer with a full load
  • Use shades and curtains to block the sun from heating your house
  • Turn on ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner
  • Put on a sweatshirt instead of turning up the heat

Saving Water

Many people worry that our sources for clean water will run out, too. One way to help save water is to recycle. For example, if you have plants inside, why use water from the tap when you can bring the rain in from outside? Let’s make a fun rain collector for our plant friends.

Steps

With help from an adult, cut your water bottle in half. Turn the top part upside down and stick it to the bottom part to create a funnel. This will help make sure that water gets in your rain collector. Using the duct tape, go around the edges, so you cover the sharp part. Use the ruler and the markers to make measurement marks around the outside of the bottle. One inch, two inches, three inches, and more, depending on the size of your container. Next time it rains, see how much water is collected, and use it to water your plants.

Materials

  • Used plastic water or soda bottles
  • Decorative duct tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler

Going Natural

Many household cleaners contain harmful chemicals. So, by creating our own, we’re saving money and helping the environment! Let’s try a homemade glass cleaner.

Steps

Fill the spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. Adding a few drops of essential oil will help cut down on the vinegar smell. To use, spray on a glass surface, such as windows or mirrors and wipe off using a soft cloth or paper towel.

Materials

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • Spray bottle
  • Essential oil of your choice, such as peppermint, lemon or orange (optional)

Step 4: Reusing and Recycling

Another fun way to help save the Earth is to reuse something you already have. Let’s solve a household problem by making a reusable tote bags, using an old T-shirt. You and your family can use this tote bag next time you’re at the grocery store. Instead of bringing home those plastic bags!

Steps

Start by laying your t-shirt flat. Cut off the sleeves. Then turn your t-shirt over and cut off the neck, right past the seam. The shoulder part of the shirt that is left is going to be the handles. Ask an adult for help with cutting if needed.

Draw a line with your marker across the T-shirt, about 4 inches up from the bottom. Then cut slits from the bottom of the shirt up to the line, cutting both the front and back at the same time. You want this “fringe” to line up. Then, tie the front and back strips together into a knot. Keep tying all the fringes together and then turn your shirt right side out.

Materials

  • Fabric markers (optional)
  • Fabric cutting scissors
  • Old T-shirt

Step 5: Clearing the Air

The air we breathe is vital to our overall health. If the air contains harmful chemicals, dust or smog, it can make breathing difficult. To clean up the air in your home and keep it smelling fresh, let’s make an all-natural air freshener for our homes.

Steps

Take the mason jar and fill it about halfway with water. Add four to five slices of lemon, two sprigs of rosemary and ½ teaspoon of vanilla and close the lid. Ask an adult to simmer this on the stove (you may need to add a little more water) and the air will begin to smell great!

Don’t forget to decorate a label, give it a name, and stick it on your jar. Experiment with different extracts and essential oils to make a special scent for your home.

Materials

  • Mason jars
  • Peel and stick labels
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Sliced lemon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Water
  • Teaspoon

Congratulations! You have now earned this badge! Don’t forget, share your finished projects with us @girlscoutsem!
If you have any questions about this particular badge and related activities, reach out to Mary Fuller, STEM Program Manager, at
mfuller@girlscoutsem.org.