Tag Archives: food

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.

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If you go down to Rainbows today…

panda teddies

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…

Muslim festivals

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Last week at Rainbows I had a break from planning, because my unit helper and leader in training (who are mother and daughter, and Muslim) kindly agreed to run a meeting on Muslim festivals.

All I had to do was turn up with a jam jar for everyone, and sharpies to decorate them. I was pleased that I had just the right number of jars in my hoard. Or rather, I did once I’d finished some jam and chocolate spread – it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. I discovered the power of WD40 for getting stubborn sticky label glue off jars, and now I have a bit more space in my cupboard of containers.

My unit helper came in a beautiful salwar kameez. She started with some show and tell, passing round photos of her wedding, a Koran, and a bowl of tasty nutty rice pudding-like food for everyone to try. Lots of Rainbows had a taste, but only one liked it! I thought it was great, I’d have happily finished it! I’ll have to ask how to make it.

Then we decorated our jars with sharpies to turn them into coloured lanterns. We didn’t try lighting them there, but the Rainbows put a tea light inside their jars to take home. (And yes, I removed all trace of WD40 from the jars – perhaps next time I’ll try cleaning them with something less flammable!)

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After that we played a quick game and did an activity from Rainbow Roundabout Festivals based on the Night of Forgiveness, where we chatted about what it means to say sorry and forgive someone, and we said kind things about each other. Another quick game, and it was time to finish.

It was nice having having breathing space to do a little admin and badge stuff in the meeting, and have fun with the Rainbows helping them to follow the instructions. They probably enjoyed listening to someone different too!

Oh, I make pancakes with a little help from my friends

These are not my pancakes

These are not our pancakes

Last week at Rainbows we made pancakes. It was post-Shrove Tuesday so some of the Rainbows were already practised in making them and almost all in eating them!

I’d planned an extra activity (a bit of colouring to make a Thinking Day card for my old Guide unit) but in the end it took almost the whole hour to mix the batter, lay the tables, add toppings, enjoy the pancakes, and clear away.

I guess I’ll have to make my own card instead of getting 5-6 year olds to do it for me.

I was super impressed with the Rainbows as they had to do quite a lot of waiting (to be given a job to do, to get their pancake, to wait for others to finish). They were really patient and well-behaved. In the few minutes left at the end we played an active game to work off some of the energy and sugar.

Most of all I was grateful for my two mum helpers. It was just the three of us that night, as the other leaders couldn’t make it. They helped the Rainbows to mix the batter, then they took it to the kitchen, fried 17 beautiful pancakes, and washed, dried and put away everyone’s plates and cups. I went into the kitchen at the end of the meeting expecting to help with the clearing up, and there was nothing for me to do.

They’ll be leaving when their daughters move to Brownies at Easter, and I’ll be sorry. And holding onto their contact details in case I can entice them back.

Note to self

2 eggs was good for 6 Rainbow-sized pancakes.

Past pancake adventures

Chinese New Year

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Last week the Rainbows celebrated yet another festival: Chinese New Year.

Unlike Groundhog Day, they knew lots about CNY already, from school. In our chat at the beginning they volunteered lots of facts, like that it’ll be the year of the monkey, and they’d seen/made/carried Chinese dragons. I asked if any of them had been to China, and four girls raised their hands. I suspect they might have misunderstood me, but I didn’t enquire further.

First I read this story about how the Chinese zodiac began. I gave everyone a little sticky badge with an animal picture on, thinking they could act it out, but actually there wasn’t much for everyone to do except pretend to swim (except the rat, who gets up to all sorts of antics). Still, at least they might remember the various animals.

Then we did a chopstick challenge. In groups, the Rainbows had to transfer food from one bowl to another using chopsticks (free ones swiped resourced from a restaurant), with each taking it in turns to move one piece of fruit. Dried fruit (apples, bananas, apricots and sultanas) was a good choice of food to use, because:

  • it’s squidgy and sticky, which makes it easier to pick up than something smooth and hard like beans
  • it comes in a range of sizes, so the Rainbows could start with the easy apple bits and work their way down to sultanas
  • the apple pieces have a hole in the middle, so if all else failed they could just hook it with the chopstick
  • they got to eat the fruit afterwards, and it’s vaguely healthy (actually, they left most of it, so I now have lots at home…oh wait, we can use it as a pancake topping next week
  • bonus relevance: it’s the year of the monkey, and monkeys like fruit

Actually, I was impressed at how good the Rainbows were with chopsticks. Some of them were holding them in one hand, look:

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Next we did a scrapheap challenge: each group had a pile of clean recycling, and had to make various animals from the zodiac story. Here’s a cat (he got left out of the zodiac because he was asleep):

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I wasn’t sure how well the Rainbows would work together in a group of 5 or 6. They’re quite young for teamwork as adults understand it. One group worked together to make one animal (helped by an adult), one group sort of did, and one group split into pairs and individuals doing their own thing. Good to know for future reference.

After all that working together, they needed running around time! So we played a quick and energetic game of traffic lights which left everyone so exhausted they needed a lie down!

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Happy Burns Night!

Last week my Rainbows celebrated Burns Night (a bit early – the great man’s birthday is actually today).

We looked at a map of the UK and after a few wild guesses found Scotland and where we live. We spoke about how far away Scotland is from us. If we’d started driving right after Rainbows, we’d have reached the border around midnight.

Next, a game. I’d printed some pictures of typical Scottish things, and when Unit Helper held up a picture and I called out what it was, the Rainbows had to do an action, as follows.

  • Loch Ness monster – pretend to swim and make splashing noises
  • Highland cow – go on hands and knees, and moo (one Rainbow was excited because she’d seen real highland cattle in Scotland. I have too, so I could agree with her that it’s exciting)
  • Highland dancing – do a dance
  • Bagpipes – pretend to play bagpipes and sing a little tune
  • Porridge – pretend to eat porridge and say “yum yum”
  • Highland games – pretend to toss a caber

When we felt thoroughly immersed in these fine points of Scottish culture, we made tartan bagpipes by sticking strips of paper on a coloured circle, then sticking that on a colouring sheet I made (click to download it). I’d brought a plaid shirt to demonstrate what tartan was, but I had an even better example because one Rainbow deliberately came in a tartan skirt for the occasion!

bagpipe colouring

This was my demonstration. It’s very bland compared to what the Rainbows did.

While the Rainbows were sticking and colouring, our special guest arrived: a bagpipe player!

A couple of weeks earlier, when I was planning the term, I got in touch with some local pipers and pipe bands on the offchance that anyone was willing to come and play for us for a few minutes free of charge. I got a few very sweet replies saying no, sorry, it’s a busy time of year and they were booked elsewhere. Then I got a yes, so it was well worth asking.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – we hadn’t had much contact other than me telling him the time and place – so I was delighted when in walked a man in full highland dress. The Rainbows were fascinated, and to be honest we adults weren’t far behind. The piper was lovely, and I think he was surprised the Rainbows were so small, so basically we were all in awe of each other.

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We sat down 15 minutes before the end, and he played us a few tunes. It was nice that some parents, Brownies and Brownie leaders were starting to arrive, so they came in and listened too. Well, it was hard not to listen. We meet in quite a big hall so it wasn’t deafening, but a few Rainbows were happier with their hands over their ears. He told us a bit about his pipes, answered some questions, and then it was time for thank yous (we’d made him a card) and goodbyes.

On the way out we gave the Rainbows a taster of shortbread, oatcakes and Edinburgh rock. The Brownies and Guides who meet after us were having haggis, but I wasn’t that brave!