Monthly Archives: January 2017

Rainbows do First Aid

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When I asked my Rainbows what they’d like to do in the autumn term, one thing they asked for was first aid.

Great idea, girls! Especially as one of the activities in the Roundabout we’re doing involves learning about the emergency services. I set aside a meeting in November for first aid funtimes.

I asked around a few charities to see if anyone could visit and teach us (as I’m sure the Rainbows would listen to them better and learn more), but had no luck, so I kept it simple with things I’m comfortable teaching.

We started with a Rainbow chat about emergencies and calling 999. This turned into a big sharing session about people they know who have been injured – in a few minutes we heard everything from grazed knees to heart attacks to one Rainbow’s cousin who swallowed a battery (and pooed it out).

Everyone loves a good injury story, but I thought we’d better not spend the whole hour telling them, so we moved on. We did a quiz about emergencies and first aid. We played a game where the Rainbows had to listen to a story and run when ‘their word’ was spoken. Then we practised putting bandages on dolls and cuddly toys, which was definitely what the Rainbows had been looking forward to.

I’m not sure if the Rainbows learned anything really useful, but it gave them a reminder of things they already know, and anything that gets them used to thinking about and talking about first aid can’t do any harm.

It was a bit of a strange evening, as my Unit Helpers couldn’t make it, so it was just me, a (lifesaving) mum helper, and a Guide who showed up early and was willingly roped into helping. They put up with our slightly crazy ways.

One sad thing: the Rainbow who first asked to do first aid and really wanted to do it, missed it. Her sister’s a Brownie, Brownies was cancelled that evening, and their parents thought that Rainbows was cancelled too. Sadface. I said we can do more next term. By that time, I might have found someone proper to come and teach us.

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Potato people

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Last week at Rainbows, we started Northop Brownies’ Vegetable Challenge badge. I’d planned to do Roundabout Healthy Eating, because according to the badges of my oldest Rainbows it was the only Roundabout they hadn’t done. (I’ve only been with this unit for a year, so some of the older girls were there before me .) But it was out of stock in the guiding shop, so I found a challenge badge on the same sort of topic.

Anyway, we made Potato People. My unit helper read a storybook called Potato People (I found a cheap second-hand copy of the book, and it was too perfect not to get), then the Rainbows made their own by rolling a dice to tell them which part to add.

  1. Googly eye
  2. Nose or mouth (draw with a felt-tip)
  3. Hair (wool, glued on)
  4. Arm (cocktail stick)
  5. Leg (cocktail stick)
  6. Button (push pin)

It’s a bit of a weird craft, and as my partner pointed out when I showed him the prototype, it ends up quite spiky with all the cocktail sticks poking out of the potato. The Rainbows enjoyed the game, and no one got stabbed. Most of the potatoes ended up looking similar-but-different, with the same number of features in slightly different places and styles. But my youngest Rainbow decided that four limbs were not enough, so she kept adding arms and legs until she had a sort of alien-octopus-potato. It was excellent.

After Rainbows, I led the Guides and older Brownies in an activity about being “true to myself and develop[ing] my beliefs”.

They stood in a line, one behind the other, I asked them a question with two options, and they had to jump one way if they agreed with the first option, and the other way for the second option. Then I asked another question, and they jumped one way or the other from where they were standing, so they soon ended up scattered around the room. Or that was the idea. We were in a small room so it wasn’t very scattered.

The idea was to get them thinking about how easy (or not) it was to go your own way and not be affected by other people’s choices.

The questions were a mixture of fun and serious ones (like “Do you prefer cats or dogs?” or “Which is more important to you, following fashion or being an individual?”).

Then they chose patrols and Go For Its, and planned their activities for the next couple of weeks.

The Guides are a tiny group, now that 3 of the girls are over 14 and are dipping between going Guides activities and being Young Leaders with the Brownies. We haven’t fully planned the term yet, but it looks like I’ll be leading a lot of their meetings although I’m not officially the unit leader (Brown Owl is, but she has a Brownie unit to run at the same time). I’m happy to, but I’ve been concentrating more on Rainbows, so I feel guiltily like the Guides aren’t getting anyone’s full attention. We can but do our best!

 

All About Me: quizzes and door hangers

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Back in November, the Rainbows had another night of doing activities from the Roundabout All About Me pack, which they had voted for.

First they did a quiz about Rainbows around the world, running to different parts of the room depending on what they thought the answer was. My younger Unit Helper ran this, and I was so happy (and told her so). I’d love her to do more activities like this.

Then they made door hangers (to go on bedroom door handles – I printed outlines on card, and the Rainbows cut them out) with their name and a picture of what it “means”. I put a book of baby names on each table so they could look up their name (with an adult helping).

Now I’m a massive name nerd. Reading and writing about names, collecting books about names, and collecting news and blog posts about names, is my other big hobby besides guiding. You might think this made the activity more fun, but actually it made it a bit stressful! This activity just needs a simple easy-to-draw meaning for a name, which is easy for some names (like Holly and Ruby) but just doesn’t exist for others (like Ellie and Millie). So I found myself compromising the facts a bit to give the Rainbows something to work with (“Er, yes, Ellie means ‘light’ and Millie means ‘hardworking'”).

My nerdy struggles aside, I think the Rainbows enjoyed it. They enjoyed seeing their names printed in books – fortunately I brought books that have all the Rainbows’ names in, so no one was left out.

Snowmen and Jelly Babies

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First night back at Rainbows, and we made snowmen with toilet roll tubes (which has made a good dent in my stash), cotton wool, and bits of fabric, paper and stickers – and lots of PVA glue.

An hour or so after Rainbows finished, it actually snowed, for the first time this winter, more heavily than expected. I felt pretty smug that I’d accidentally chosen a timely activity!

Then we played the Christmas Card Game. It’s my go-to activity for the first meeting after Christmas with any section (for example, I did it with Rainbows last year and Guides in 2014). You need a big pile of old Christmas cards and some teams of girls. You call out something to find (like a snowman, a robin, some glitter) and one girl from each team runs and tries to find it on a card. The first one to find it gets a point for her team.

It was a pretty quiet evening, with only 11 out of 16 Rainbows there. We had two new girls, who both have friends in the unit and settled in so well I hardly remembered they were new.

I stayed on to help with Brownies and Guides (all together tonight), and they did a Jelly Baby-themed evening in sixes and patrols:

  • A game where a leader called a word and the girls had to do an action – after a while, the girl who did it last/did the wrong action/wasn’t in a group of the right size was out and joined the judges
  • A relay quiz: each group stood in a line with one leader, who had a question sheet and pen. The leader read the first question to the first girl in the line, she ran to the middle of the room to find the answer on a packet of jelly babies (for example, one question was “What is the sell-by date?” The girl ran back and told the leader the answer, then the next girl got a question. When the first team finished, everyone stopped and marked the answers
  • Each group designed a new jelly baby and presented it to everyone

Then I took the Guides and the oldest Brownies off separately and we brainstormed what they’d like to do this term. Most of their ideas were big and outside the meeting place, so then we had a brainstorm of how they could raise money to do them. I collected the ideas, so now I need to sit down with the other leaders and work out a plan.

I found I was surprised at how well-behaved and generally pleasant the Brownies were (ok, they went a bit crazy when it started snowing, but let’s face it, it is THE MOST EXCITING THING when you’re 8). This made me realise how tired and hyper they (and we leaders) were getting towards the end of last term, though I didn’t notice at the time.

So this is encouraging. I’m refreshed, the Brownies are quite nice actually, and things are looking up for this term.

Rainbows in the dark

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Back in November, to loosely tie in with bonfire/fireworks night, we had a Rainbows meeting in the dark.

We started with Rainbow Chat with all the lights on, then each Rainbow got a glow stick and we turned off all the lights in the hall. There was some light coming through the door to the foyer, so it wasn’t completely dark.

We played hide and seek (the Rainbows found their partners using glow sticks) and Duck Duck Goose (the Rainbows bopped each other gently on the head with light-up balloons, which are really great – I got a packet from Wilko). Possibly some other games too.

Then we switched some of the lights on, and did a very quick food activity: making edible sparklers by dipping a chocolate finger into warm water (to melt the chocolate), then into sprinkles.

Some of the Rainbows said they were worried about the dark beforehand, but they were all fine once the lights were off. If anything they were more, er, energetic than usual because they thought they could get away with more if I couldn’t see them! Since then, some of them have asked to do it again…probably next autumn, I think.

I do like doing things in the dark, like this and night hikes – anything to teach the girls that darkness can be fun, and in itself isn’t anything to be afraid of.