It all started with Max & Ruby.
Ruby was a (cartoon) bunny scout and earned merit badges. So my 3-year old daughter wanted to earn merit badges. I gave her poker chips. Great job picking up your socks! Here’s a pok… er… merit badge!
Our badge system has since evolved into a slightly more sophisticated process. Probably because most of the poker chips got lost.
(I still occasionally find one).
The Summer Badge System
We began using this system when my son was almost 4 and couldn’t read yet. My daughter was 6 and was a beginning reader. I needed pictures and basic words. Badges were a good way to get them excited about learning new skills, practicing good manners, etc.
I also needed something very simple that wouldn’t get scattered all over the house like poker chips, so I made a booklet.
The badges were made using Microsoft clip art, printed on 4×6 index cards and kept in an inexpensive 4×6 photo album ($2 at Target and drug stores).
Some of the badges:
I gave the kids stickers to put on the badges as they were earned. Stickers + children = win. Looks like they didn’t earn the “peace and quiet” badge. Hmmm.
The book was also used as a place to collect postcards, stickers, and drawings:
As the children got older, the badges and contents changed. I added a U.S. license plate game for long car trips:
Also see my 4×6 Simple Scrapbook for more summer booklet ideas.
Creating Summer Badges
There are two ways to approach this: think of the badges and then find an icon or clip art to match, or start with the clip art and figure out what it could mean. Either way, you’ll probably end up with a lot of badges.
It may be helpful to arrange them by category, such as things to do, places to go, and skills to learn. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Things to Do
swimming, camping, fishing, sports, bike riding, cooking, games, music, arts & crafts, leaf collecting, exploring, experiment, seashells & rocks, bug watching
Places to Go
aquarium, zoo, movie theater, beach, mountains, grandma’s house, library, museum
Skills to Learn
telephone, tying shoes, reading, writing, counting money, telling time, cartwheel, computer, bed making, cleaning, brushing & flossing, good nutrition, recycling, table manners
Free Icons & Clip Art
These are my current favorites:
Symbly Gamification Icons
Camp Badges by The Girl Tyler
Eldorado Mini Free Icons (1262 small icons)
I created the “Summer Badges” image at the beginning of this post using icons from Symbly and The Girl Tyler. I used Photoshop and re-sized the icons to fit the page.
FYI: I got the best search results from searching gamification badges.
These caught my eye:
The Ultimate Summer Bucket List – 100 fun ideas
Printable Chore Badges on Etsy
Wilderness Explorer Badges inspired by Pixar
Badges by Commendable Kids
Camp Fox Badges
Scrapbooking flair at Two Peas in a Bucket
Update: See Life Scouts for great online badges!
Please check back Thursday to see the summer journals we’re making for this summer!