Tag Archives: food

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!

 

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.

Dens and marshmallows

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Back in the summer term, the Rainbows did a spot of “camping”.

In the garden behind our meeting hall, we toasted marshmallows over tealights. This only just worked – it was hard to keep the little candles lit in the breeze, and their flames were barely strong enough to toast a marshmallow unless the Rainbows were super-patient (most weren’t). Next time I might use a disposable barbecue or mini-marshmallows instead.

Then the Rainbows got into groups (with an adult to help) and made tents with chairs, sheets and blankets. I got some lovely photos of them hanging out in their dens. Some Rainbows found them so comfortable they almost went to sleep!

We had time for a few “campfire” songs, then it was time to strike camp for the day. If only real camp was so easy to clear up!

Rainbows get sweet

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Going back to the summer term, my Rainbows filled and decorated sweet pots to sell at a fundraising coffee morning for the units who meet in our hall.

I got a load of smoothie cups with lids, and the Rainbws did a great job with Sharpies and stickers on these pots. They got to choose 10 sweets from a mixed bag to put into each pot.

I was proud at how restrained they were, not eating the sweets! They did get a few leftovers at the end 😉

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.

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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

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.

Brownies, alleys, beaches and chips

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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.

Guides, beans and toast

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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.

If you go down to Rainbows today…

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My own teddies, travelling in style. Why yes, I do like pandas.

A couple of weeks ago the Rainbows had a teddy bear festival. This is, to my mind, one of the most tenuous activities in Rainbow Roundabout Festivals – the explanation given is that “Teddy Bear festivals…take place around the world with Teddy Bear lovers meeting up to celebrate their favourite toys” – but I’m not complaining. It was good fun.

We started with some races (started by saying “ready, teddy, go”, naturally), with the girls doing relays carrying their teddies between their knees, on their heads, under their chins etc.

teddy parachute

Geronimo!

Then we made parachuting teddies, which were a bit hit and miss. Some Rainbows whizzed through colouring their card teddies and others spent ages on it (as always!). Some girls played with their finished teddy, while others weren’t interested in dropping it in its parachute, and went to play with the balls and skipping ropes instead. So for a while lots people were doing lots of different things, which is fine, but in conclusion I’m not sure it was worth the time it took me to prepare the parachutes (with kitchen roll & wool). Probably better for older girls who could do the construction themselves.

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Then it was time for a teddy bears’ picnic, prepared and served by my wonderful mum helpers. I was very impressed with the Rainbows, they were really polite around the picnic rug, asking for things they couldn’t reach. And they were very quiet, probably because they were busy with the important task of eating. What with that and their teddies sitting amongst them, it was all really sweet.

Then a quick game, then time to go home!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! (Happy St David’s Day!)

 

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Last week at Rainbows we celebrated St David’s day with some Welsh-themed activities.

First we sang Head, shoulders, knees and toes in Welsh (a bit like in this video from 00:43). The Rainbows found it really fun and they picked the words up quickly.

Then we made Welsh cakes – the Rainbows mixed the dough and cut out rounds, which my brilliant mum helpers took off to the kitchen and fried. The recipe involves rubbing the fat into the flour, and rolling the mixture on a floury surface, so it was good messy fun.

Alas! We didn’t get to eat them. My helpers thought they weren’t cooked enough in the middle, and didn’t want to risk giving the girls undercooked egg. While I like my Welsh cakes a bit gooey and I’d guess the mixture got hot enough to kill bacteria even though it didn’t set, I had to respect their judgement, so we threw the lot away. Oh well, we learn more when things don’t go as planned! Next time I’d ask the girls to roll the mixture more thinly.

No time for photos, but here’s the test batch I made the night before. They were delicious and, to be fair, not as squidgy as the Rainbows’ ones.

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The Rainbows had some playtime while the cakes were cooking and the leaders wiped down the tables.

With 10 minutes to go, we made daffodils like the one above – expect the Rainbows made three each, they decorated the cups, and they didn’t stick the paper bits together. It was a bit rushed – I was overambitious to plan two activities for one evening! But everyone did at least leave with something that more or less looked like a daffodil.

I haven’t decided what activities we’re doing later this week, but I’ll make it a bit more leisurely…