Monthly Archives: October 2016

Summer cooking: fruit kebabs

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Going back to the summer term, we had a good meeting making fruit and veg kebabs.

To make it more interesting than just putting fruit on a stick, the Rainbows took it in turns to spin a spinner (like the ones below), and whichever colour it landed on, they had to take a piece of fruit or veg of that colour from a bowl and put that on their stick. If they didn’t like anything in that colour, they could spin roll again or just choose something else.

As far as I remember, the selection was:

  • Red: strawberry, red pepper
  • Orange: orange, orange pepper
  • Yellow: banana, yellow pepper
  • Green: apple, green pepper
  • Blue: blueberry
  • Purple: purple grape

When a Rainbow filled up her kebab, she stopped spinning and let the others in her group carry on until they filled theirs. When everyone had filled their kebab, they got to eat them.

rainbow spinner hexagon

I printed these on card, cut out the hexagon shape, and stuck a pencil through the middle. I can’t remember what the numbers were for: we didn’t need them


Them bones, them bones


My skeleton, rocking the blue bones

The last meeting before half term was billed in the programme as ‘My amazing body’ – the idea being that we’d keep it open-ended and decide nearer the time what body-related activities to do.

My unit helper suggested these cotton bud skeleton pictures, which tied it in nicely with Halloween, without being too Halloweeny.

So we started off with some songs to get the Rainbows thinking about their bodies: ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’, ‘I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor’, and the Penguin song. Then my unit helper read them a Funnybones story while the other leaders laid out the crafty bits. And then we did skeleton pictures.

There was great variety in the skeletons, from very accurate copies of the picture I’d put out as a guide, to skeletons with hair and accessories, to a wonderfully abstract picture from our only-just-5-year-old. The key with these pictures is to carry them flat and not bend the paper at all, otherwise all the cotton buds fall off.

We finished off with a chat about what the Rainbows would like to do after half term (since I haven’t planned it yet: it seemed too much in August to think about what we’d do in December). They came up with some great ideas, like sparklers and First Aid, so by now I’ve hopefully put together the programme for the next few weeks.

Rainbow Promise mobiles

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Artist’s impression of me keeping my Rainbow Promise

We managed to get to week 5 of term before doing any craft (well, apart from nature pictures and cake decorating), but finally it was time.

I like craft as much as the next person, as do my Rainbows, but I make a conscious effort not to just do it as a default every week – especially since reading this post by Leslie (it explains the role of craft in Guiding, which I’d never stopped to think about before).

These mobiles come from Roundabout All About Me, so we completed part of our Roundabout as well as reminding ourselves of the Promise – useful as we now have 2 new Rainbows who will be making it soon.

We started with the game where a leader calls out an action (like “sharing toys with my brother or sister”, or “calling my friend nasty names”) and the Rainbows run to one end of the room if they think it’s a way to keep their Promise, and the other end if they think it’s not.

Then we got on with the mobiles. The Rainbows enjoyed it, but it was a scramble for some people to finish them. There are a lot of bits to do: colouring, drawing, writing, threading beads on ribbons, tying ribbons on. Most people finished in the end, but next time I’d either allow more time, have more leaders, or maybe do something to make the beads and ribbons easier to handle.

The idea with the beads is that a Rainbow slides one up to the top every time she does something to keep her Promise. I forgot to ask the next week if anyone had been using theirs…must try to ask next time.

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I promise that I will do my best…

Ambitious autumn baking

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Hedgehogs and “hedgehog food” – apparently they eat chocolate buttons

Our fourth meeting of the term was ambitious because we tried to bake two things in one evening – and just about succeeded!

I had originally thought of decorating cakes like hedgehogs, then my unit helper mentioned that she had autumn and Halloween-themed cookie cutters which we could use. I didn’t want to refuse her idea, but I also didn’t want to let go of the hedgehogs, so I decided we could do biscuits and cake decorating in an hour.

We *could*, but only with a bit of hecticness and no time for Rainbow Chat or a proper game. I was lucky to have a mum helping that night (well, I had asked her) as well as my two unit helpers – it definitely needed all of us to help the Rainbows, clear up, and get biscuits in and out of the oven.

I was really impressed with the group of girls I was working with. I didn’t need to help them much at all – they read the recipe instructions and did most of it themselves, being very sensible and sharing the tasks.

We had just enough time to cook the biscuits and the girls made some lovely hedgehogs, but they would probably have been just as happy – and the meeting a bit saner! – with one or the other food. Still, a good evening, and I’d do either one again.

An arty autumn walk

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A person, I think

For our third Rainbows meeting of the term, we took advantage of the still-light evenings and good weather, and went for a walk in the park.

I gave each Rainbow a carrier bag and asked them to gather any interesting natural objects they thought would be good to make a picture. (With discussion of what was natural versus man-made, and what was safe/not safe to pick up.)

There weren’t many obviously exciting natural objects on our walk: we didn’t pass many trees, and the ones that were there hadn’t dropped their leaves yet. Still, the Rainbows managed to get collections of a few leaves, sticks, stones and bits of grass. Some absolutely filled their bags while others were very selective about what they took!

They made pictures on a bit of grass – it was a bit windy, which added an extra element of challenge! Then we went to the play park until it was time to go back.

Let’s dance

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Good pointy toes

The second meeting of term was an easy one for me! A local dance teacher – who does classes for under-8s – came in and gave the Rainbows a ballet class for a very reasonable fee.

It was fantastic, and the hour went really quickly. The Rainbows did all sorts of things: toe-pointing exercises, dramatic scary walking, skipping around the hall, learning a routine. I was proud of how well they listened and made their best efforts.

My helpers and I joined in a bit, to show that we weren’t just sitting around being lazy, but we didn’t really need to do anything, the teacher had it all under control (of course, it is her job). She’s already said she’s happy to come back and do it again in a few months or a year’s time 🙂

Welcome back, Rainbows!

This is not our parachute

This is not our parachute

Our first meeting of term was filled with “getting to know you” games. I chose this partly because they’re one of the activities in Roundabout All About Me, which we’re working on this term, and partly because after the long summer holiday, with some older Rainbows gone and a new one starting, it was a good time to get to know each other again.

We played the blanket game (where you hide someone and all the other Rainbows have to guess who it is), always goes down well.

We tried the game where everyone sits in a circle on chairs and a leader calls out “Move one space to the left if you have a brother/sister/cat/dog/brown hair etc.” The idea is that some girls move each time and others don’t, so sometimes they end up sitting on each other’s laps. It took a while and a bit of adult help for the girls to get the hang of this (not least knowing which direction was left), but we might try this again at some point.

Then we got out a new toy I’d bought over the summer, a parachute. I agonised a bit over the options, but went with this one as it has lots of handles and is a reasonable price. I’ve got no complaints so far. We spent a while just having fun swishing it around and throwing a cuddly toy into the middle, then we played the game where you run under and swap places if you have a brother/sister/cat/dog/brown hair etc.

We had a quick drink, played a version of sleeping lions that one of the older girls told me about – I’m not sure if we played it quite as she meant, but the Rainbows seemed to enjoy it – then it was time to go. A slightly bitty, but fun, first meeting back.