Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas disco

20161201_175213.jpg

Our summer disco (which apparently I didn’t blog about) went down so well that we hired the same people back to do a Christmas disco for three local Rainbow units, plus the Brownies and Guides who meet after my Rainbows.

The girls had fun, and we adults didn’t have to do much beyond giving out drinks and snacks, looking after Rainbows who found it too hot and noisy, and clearing up afterwards. It could have been a little shorter and no one would have minded, but all fine.

At the end, we did some giving out of badges to those who were owed them, and one of my Rainbows made her Promise (she missed doing it the week before), so I’m (was) all up to date with Promises for now – hurrah!

Rainbow Promise party

 

fc778aab257a8980b99de54271bb16c427934fdc.jpg

Not my photo, but we made hand-shaped Christmas tree cards like these

At the end of November, we had a Promise party to welcome two Rainbows who joined this term (and one who’s been here for months but missed making her Promise before).

It’s taken me a while to remember what we actually did before the Promise bit at the end. Now it’s coming back to me: we played some games that the girls making their Promise chose, plus one about being kind and helpful. Then we made Christmas cards for people who were kind and helpful to us.

Then we had festive nibbles and the girls made their Promises. Looking back, I guess it wasn’t exactly a party: a few times, one of the Rainbows asked me when the party was starting! But since our next two meetings included a disco and a Christmas fun and games evening, I don’t feel too bad.

Rainbows do First Aid

20161117_172421.jpg

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.

Potato people

20170119_171244.jpg

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

DIGITAL CAMERA

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

snowmen (10) - Copy.jpg

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

c700x420.jpg

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.

Hall clear-out

Towards the end of the summer holidays, we had a big clear-out of the Guide hall.  It had been almost a year since the last one, and although leaders in some units had been good and kept their areas tidy, others (ahem…like my unit…) needed an incentive to sort things out before the new term.  It also gave us a chance to tidy and clear the communal areas.

First, an introduction to the hall.  We’re lucky that it’s ours: it belongs to the district.  All the units and the Trefoil Guild meet there, apart from one Brownie unit and the Rangers.  That’s partly because they meet at the same time as other groups, and partly a hangover from when there used to be two Districts in town.

There is an entrance hall with coat hooks and cupboards, some for units and some for shared stationery/craft things.  There’s a main room with some more unit cupboards and wall displays (as I’ve mentioned before, it’s small – comfortable for up to about 30 people), a tiny kitchen, and a tiny toilet and a handwashing room where we keep the Brownie Promise paraphernalia.  Finally there’s a store room where each unit has shelves to keep their larger things, and we keep more shared stuff like games equipment, cooking equipment that doesn’t fit in the kitchen, future tombola prizes, flags, old annuals and handbooks, the vacuum cleaner, etc. etc.  There’s a little paved area in front of the hall, but no other outdoor space, so we rely on kind neighbours letting us use their gardens, or else going out somewhere public like the park.

On the clear-out evening, we emptied as much of the store room into the main hall as we could, and tried to be as ruthless as possible about throwing away things that were no longer needed/never used.  So long, punctured footballs!  Adios, empty glue bottles!  Cheerio, excessive amounts of mediocre scrap paper!  Some things, we agreed, were fun to make but really didn’t have a long-term life of use: goodbye, giant Brownie-made snakes and ladders board!  Farewell, giant Guide-made Chinese dragon!

Some people sorted things that had got muddled up, e.g. putting the bean bags in one box and the juggling balls in another.  I spent some time sorting out my own unit’s craft crates.  I’m now pleased to say that we have one for paper and funky foam, one for other indoor craft bits (e.g. pipe cleaners, ribbons, tape), and one for random/outdoor things (e.g. string, matches, horseshoes).

It helped that we had agreed on a time limit of an hour and a half, so we knew we wouldn’t be stuck there all night.  We overran a little, but eventually everything was back in place looking beautifully tidy and organised, and we had lots of bin bags to take home.

It was also a good chance to catch up with leaders from other units, find out how their summers had been, how their pack holidays and camps had gone, get bits of leadership and residential qualifications signed off, talk about what we were all doing this term, and generally have a good chat.  By the end of the evening, I felt just about ready to start the term!

How to make a rain stick

Home made rain shaker stick

Here’s another craft from camp. The picture doesn’t do justice to the pleasant rattling sound it makes.

My original plan was to poke cocktail sticks into the cardboard tube, but that would have left pointy bits at the sides.  I see from various online instructions that you can poke nails or tacks into the tube…but internal silver foil was the easiest and cheapest material to obtain, so it won.

I asked all the leaders to collect and bring along cardboard tubes, and we had a mixture of kitchen roll inners, silver foil inners, and the tubes that glowsticks come in – it sounded like a monsoon when they were all rattling at once!

Download a rain stick instruction sheet – feel free to use it in a legal and non-profit way 🙂

I returned from camp yesterday, so no doubt posts about how it went will follow soon!