Happy Burns Night!

Last week my Rainbows celebrated Burns Night (a bit early – the great man’s birthday is actually today).

We looked at a map of the UK and after a few wild guesses found Scotland and where we live. We spoke about how far away Scotland is from us. If we’d started driving right after Rainbows, we’d have reached the border around midnight.

Next, a game. I’d printed some pictures of typical Scottish things, and when Unit Helper held up a picture and I called out what it was, the Rainbows had to do an action, as follows.

  • Loch Ness monster – pretend to swim and make splashing noises
  • Highland cow – go on hands and knees, and moo (one Rainbow was excited because she’d seen real highland cattle in Scotland. I have too, so I could agree with her that it’s exciting)
  • Highland dancing – do a dance
  • Bagpipes – pretend to play bagpipes and sing a little tune
  • Porridge – pretend to eat porridge and say “yum yum”
  • Highland games – pretend to toss a caber

When we felt thoroughly immersed in these fine points of Scottish culture, we made tartan bagpipes by sticking strips of paper on a coloured circle, then sticking that on a colouring sheet I made (click to download it). I’d brought a plaid shirt to demonstrate what tartan was, but I had an even better example because one Rainbow deliberately came in a tartan skirt for the occasion!

bagpipe colouring

This was my demonstration. It’s very bland compared to what the Rainbows did.

While the Rainbows were sticking and colouring, our special guest arrived: a bagpipe player!

A couple of weeks earlier, when I was planning the term, I got in touch with some local pipers and pipe bands on the offchance that anyone was willing to come and play for us for a few minutes free of charge. I got a few very sweet replies saying no, sorry, it’s a busy time of year and they were booked elsewhere. Then I got a yes, so it was well worth asking.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – we hadn’t had much contact other than me telling him the time and place – so I was delighted when in walked a man in full highland dress. The Rainbows were fascinated, and to be honest we adults weren’t far behind. The piper was lovely, and I think he was surprised the Rainbows were so small, so basically we were all in awe of each other.

burns night (1) - Copy

We sat down 15 minutes before the end, and he played us a few tunes. It was nice that some parents, Brownies and Brownie leaders were starting to arrive, so they came in and listened too. Well, it was hard not to listen. We meet in quite a big hall so it wasn’t deafening, but a few Rainbows were happier with their hands over their ears. He told us a bit about his pipes, answered some questions, and then it was time for thank yous (we’d made him a card) and goodbyes.

On the way out we gave the Rainbows a taster of shortbread, oatcakes and Edinburgh rock. The Brownies and Guides who meet after us were having haggis, but I wasn’t that brave!

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3 thoughts on “Happy Burns Night!

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