Happy birthday to Her Majesty

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Back in the summer, my Division held a garden party for girls, to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Only one of my Rainbows went, and I wasn’t involved in running anything, but it was fun to attend, watch, and be vaguely useful.

The girls made and decorated crowns to wear, constructed a hobby horse (in teams) and did relay races, and did a trail looking for the names of members of the royal family around the garden.

Then we had a tasty afternoon tea and did group photos with an arch some leaders had made, and a cardboard cutout of Her Maj herself. (We’ve still got the cutout, if anyone has a use for it…)

There with bells on! Rainbows do morris dancing

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Back in the summer, two members of the local morris side kindly came to Rainbows and taught us some dances.

Morris dancing is something close to my heart. I did it for a couple of years with a lovely Cotswold side before I moved to where I live now. I’d been considering joining this local group, so this seemed like a good way to case them out.

They came in their full kit, which caught the Rainbows’ attention, and told us a bit about the history of the group before teaching us a simple(ish) dance. They bravely gave the Rainbows sticks!

The Rainbows made a good effort learning the dance. After a while, they gradually reached the end of their attention, so some went and played with the hoops and skipping ropes while others kept dancing for a while.

It was a good meeting, with no preparation from me needed (yay), and now I think about it, it covered quite a few bases for the girls: exercise, agility, rhythm, working together, and the community they live in.

Anyone for tennis?

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The Rainbows with “rackets”, “net” and “tennis balls”

We had some glorious weather through the summer term, but the night when the Rainbows were scheduled to go meet at a local tennis court, our luck didn’t hold. It was wet the night before, and the court staff (who were very good at keeping me informed) told me on the morning that the ground wouldn’t dry in time to be safe to play on.

So we went with plan B. I texted and emailed parents at lunchtime (hurrah for technology!) saying that we’d meet in our usual hall instead.

There we played “tennis”, with balloons and paper plates, plus some balloon games: over-and-under relay races and so on.

The only hiccup? One Rainbow turned out to be terrified of balloons bursting. We were careful and managed only to pop a couple, and she was pretty brave, but I’ll hesitate before doing any more balloon activities while she’s with us.

Overall, not the meeting we expected, but still a fun session.

Girlguiding LaSER Discover Day, Greenwich

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The view from the ferris wheel

Back in June, I took my Rainbows to a Discover Day run by Girlguiding London and South East Region (LaSER, which we are in) in Greenwich.

Girlguiding members of all sections were invited to explore Greenwich’s museums, parks and maritime area. It was repeated on Saturday and Sunday (we went on the Saturday), with the option for older girls to sleep over in a museum on the Saturday night.

We travelled there on a coach with the Brownies and Guides from my district, but once we got there we went our own way for the day. We were a tiny group: we’d offered the trip to 3 Rainbow units, but only had 4 Rainbows, plus 3 Leaders and a dad – so a 1:1 adult to child ratio!

We had a great time, and looking back on it we managed to pack a lot into one day. We looked around the National Maritime Museum (which has a brilliant play area for younger children), ate lunch next to the Cutty Sark, went on a carousel and ferris wheel (both at a discount price for Girlguiding members), took a trip on a Thames clipper, walked through the parks, had ice creams in Greewich Observatory, stood on the meridian, admired the views over London, and finished the day in a play park.

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There were other activities on offer, some of them just for Girlguiding members, but that was as much as we could fit in and covered all the things the girls wanted to do.

It was a long day – 10 hours from leaving to returning – and a lot of walking for the Rainbows, but they did well. We only had one moment (at the top of the hill on the way to the Observatory) when one of them sat down and refused to get up! We had a little break, and our dad helper (not that Rainbow’s father) worked some magic and got her going again.

I should mention the event staff. All the Girlguiding volunteers and the venue staff we spoke to were brillant, really open to chatting with the girls and making sure we were alright.

The event was a very reasonable price – we spent more on the coach than on the day itself. The only snag was that we had to enter a ballot for tickets well in advance, and I overestimated how many Rainbows would want to go, so we lost money on the tickets and coach spaces that weren’t used. Next time I’d be more conservative about how many places I asked for, but I’d definitely offer it to my Rainbows again.

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The view from the Thames clipper

 

Dens and marshmallows

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Back in the summer term, the Rainbows did a spot of “camping”.

In the garden behind our meeting hall, we toasted marshmallows over tealights. This only just worked – it was hard to keep the little candles lit in the breeze, and their flames were barely strong enough to toast a marshmallow unless the Rainbows were super-patient (most weren’t). Next time I might use a disposable barbecue or mini-marshmallows instead.

Then the Rainbows got into groups (with an adult to help) and made tents with chairs, sheets and blankets. I got some lovely photos of them hanging out in their dens. Some Rainbows found them so comfortable they almost went to sleep!

We had time for a few “campfire” songs, then it was time to strike camp for the day. If only real camp was so easy to clear up!

Rainbows get sweet

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Going back to the summer term, my Rainbows filled and decorated sweet pots to sell at a fundraising coffee morning for the units who meet in our hall.

I got a load of smoothie cups with lids, and the Rainbws did a great job with Sharpies and stickers on these pots. They got to choose 10 sweets from a mixed bag to put into each pot.

I was proud at how restrained they were, not eating the sweets! They did get a few leftovers at the end😉

Wildlife park takeover

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Back in May, I took my Rainbows to a nearby wildlife park. It wasn’t just us: several hundred other Rainbows from around the county were there too, for a takeover day.

In some ways it was a strange day. For one thing, I was the only adult from my unit who could make it, so I put out a call for parent helpers and in the end had 3 mums and a dad with me. They’re all very nice and helpful, but it gave the day a different dynamic from day trips with guiders than I’m used to.

For another thing, the ‘Rainbow takeover’ element wasn’t quite was I expected. Yes, hundreds of Rainbows entered the park at the same time, and we got activity sheets to fill in as we went around, and we saw other Rainbows everywhere we went. But apart from that, we might as well have gone on our own as a unit. There was no big get-together of everyone, and no special activities on just for Rainbows.

Still, the fact is I wouldn’t have thought to organise a trip like this for my unit, so it was really good to have a reason to go there. We had fun seeing all the animals – I especially liked the butterfly house, and got some lovely pictures of butterflies settling on Rainbows’ hands – and of course spending time on the indoor and outdoor playgrounds.

Now that I’ve been and seen that it’s a good day out, I’d consider going back to that wildlife park in future.