This week at Guides, in celebration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (i.e. we had one meeting left to fill and were trying to think of a seasonal theme), we had a pirate night.
Everyone came in costume – some girls used their stripey uniform tops, which was good thinking. We started by making these balancing parrots, which I printed on coloured card. The girls each cut one out and decorated it with pens and feathers, in a determined effort to get rid of the excess craft feathers from our summer camp. They stuck a penny on the tail and, hey presto, they balanced. Except for a few that were too soggy with glue to stay upright.
Their next challenge was for each patrol to build a perch for all their parrots using dried spaghetti and marshmallows (again, things we want to use up before the marshmallows go out of date. The spaghetti is way out of date, but that doesn’t matter). Some groups managed better than others! The one below collapsed when I asked them to add more parrots.
Next, we played a game where they had to eat a mini donut off a string without using their hands (as if pirates had captured them and tied their hands behind their back). This was over quite quickly – it turns out mini donuts are much easier to eat than their big brothers, as you can just put the whole thing in your mouth and tug. All the Guides did it at the same time, but next time I think I’d do it as a relay race.
Then we played a treasure game. The girls sat in two lines facing each other, and each had a number down the line. When a leader called a number, the two girls with that number had to run up, put a toy pirate hook on their hand, rummage in a treasure chest, and hook out pieces of jewellery (leftover from selling it at a fundraising stall) until the next number was called up. When all the jewellery was gone, the teams counted up how many pieces they had and we declared a winner. Actually, that’s what we would have done ideally, but somehow the Guides who were counting got muddled and had to start again several times, until we decided to leave it and move on.
During this game, I started to prepare the next game (kind of a Chinese raffle involving chocolate coins and dice), but we realised that there wouldn’t be time to do it justice, so we played a quick game of ‘Captain’s Coming’ instead. (Leader calls out nautical-themed actions, and the last girl to do it is out. This time, our “out” girls were very good at being quiet and watching the game with eagle eyes to spot who should be out next. That doesn’t always happen!) We’re going to use the coins for our next ‘guess the number of sweets in the jar’ fundraiser instead.
That took us to the end. What I liked is that practically everything we did could have been done with any seciton. Yes, it’s good to give Guides challenges suitable for their age, but this was a good reminder that sometimes they’re very happy just colouring, cutting, sticking, and playing silly games.