Monthly Archives: May 2016

Brownies, alleys, beaches and chips

brownies beach

After Rainbows, I went off to join the Brownies. I knew they were somewhere in the town doing a trail, so I cycled around the back streets. It didn’t take long to find them in those hi vis jackets.

They were going around in Sixes finding all the little alleyways between the high street and the sea. There are more than I realised, some with very colourful names.

The Six I joined up finished quickly. We had a bit of time before we had to be at our final destination, so we went down to the beach for a few minutes, then took a trip to the public toilets. Oh the adventure.

We ended up at a takeaway owned by a Brownie’s parents (who are family friends of Brown Owl), where we all had chips and a drink in the garden. All in all a lovely evening, helped by the glorious weather.

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Man the Lifeboats

lifeboats

I’ve lived most of my life a couple of hours’ drive from the sea, so it’s a novelty to me to be living by the coast now. I’ve been keen to have a proper look around the local lifeboat station, and I thought I might as well take the Rainbows too 😉

Two volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) showed us round. First we chatted about why we need lifeboats, why the sea can be dangerous, and what you should do if you spot someone in danger. Then we had a look at the lifeboat, and learned about the equipment it carries, and how it’s built to give it the best possible chance of staying afloat and completing its task.

We met the crew’s practice dummy, saw the clothes the crew wear (which they can put on in as little as 1 minute), and looked at the tractor that helps the boat in and out of the sea.

Finally we went to the control room and watched some rescue videos.

Our hosts made it fun and as hands on as they could, but the Rainbows did have to do a fair bit of listening. I thought they did a great job. There was a lot to take in, but even if they only remember one or two things it’s raised their awareness. Living where they do, I’m sure they’ll see plenty more of the lifeboat as they grow up.

Several extra parents and grandparents, and a brother, stayed for the visit. It’s always encouraging when you’re doing something interesting enough that people would rather join in than go home or go and have an ice cream on the beach.

Guides, beans and toast

beans on toast

After my bubbly Rainbow meeting, I stayed on to help at Guides (who meet at the same time as Brownies) because they were short of leaders.

There were just 8 Guides (out of a total 12 ish), who were working on their personal safety badge. We went out to the garden – avoiding the wet slippery bits the Rainbows had left – and they cooked baked beans and toast on little gas stoves. I tried to throw safety questions at them while they were cooking, but I may have lost some credibility halfway through, when one Guide said, “Shouldn’t I have my hair tied back?” Oops. Why yes, yes you should.

The Guides ate their snack (safely), washed up (safely), and joined in a game and circle time with the Brownies to end.

The Guides have a different group dynamic from my old, lively, huge unit – not better or worse, just different. It was nice to have a chance to hang out and get to know them a bit.

Bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles MY bubbles

bubbles 1 bubbles 2

We had a lovely warm afternoon for making giant bubble blowers.

I first came across them on Housing a Forest a few years ago. You cut the bottom off a plastic bottle (1.5 or 2 litre works well). Keep the top, and secure a piece of cloth over the end with a few rubber bands. Slightly fluffy cloth is best, eg a thick sock, flannel, or piece of old towel.

Dip the cloth end in washing up bubbly water, and blow – don’t suck! – through the mouthpiece. You have to make a seal with your mouth and blow hard, as if you’re blowing up a balloon or playing a trumpet.

The Rainbows cut a bottle each and constructed their own bubble blowers, with help. We went out into the garden and had a go.

It didn’t go quite as well as last time I tried it. It was hit and miss: some of the Rainbows’ blowers worked quite well, but others seemed to be doing everything right yet still didn’t get many bubbles, let alone a snake. Possibly the fabric we used – an old polo shirt – wasn’t fluffy enough, or some of the bottles were too small.

Even so, it was a fun experiment, and I was pleased that all the Rainbows persevered when their blowers didn’t work so well at first, and tried changing things to make them better.

Bubble blowing kept everyone busy for 10-15 minutes, then gradually the girls had enough of them and went into general playing with skipping ropes. When everyone was done with bubbles, we finished off with a game together.

Rainbows is a walk in the park

i spy walk park

…it literally was for this meeting.

We walked to a playground near our meeting hall. On the way, each Rainbow got a sheet of 4 photos of things to look out for on the way: special-looking trees, houses, benches etc. They got pretty into it, and most of them found everything.

We had a fun 15 minutes in the playground and managed to get all 10 girls on the roundabout at once (making it literally a Rainbow Roundabout…I’ve only just realised that).

Then we walked back, had a quick Rainbow chat, and it was time to go. Apart from the preparation taking and printing the photos, it was a nice low-effort evening. All we had to do was make sure the Rainbows got there and back intact.