Tag Archives: games

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!

 

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.

Anyone for tennis?

balloon tennis 3 (2) - Copy.jpg

The Rainbows with “rackets”, “net” and “tennis balls”

We had some glorious weather through the summer term, but the night when the Rainbows were scheduled to go meet at a local tennis court, our luck didn’t hold. It was wet the night before, and the court staff (who were very good at keeping me informed) told me on the morning that the ground wouldn’t dry in time to be safe to play on.

So we went with plan B. I texted and emailed parents at lunchtime (hurrah for technology!) saying that we’d meet in our usual hall instead.

There we played “tennis”, with balloons and paper plates, plus some balloon games: over-and-under relay races and so on.

The only hiccup? One Rainbow turned out to be terrified of balloons bursting. We were careful and managed only to pop a couple, and she was pretty brave, but I’ll hesitate before doing any more balloon activities while she’s with us.

Overall, not the meeting we expected, but still a fun session.

Summer cooking: fruit kebabs

kebabs 2 - Copy.jpg

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

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.

We’re going on a bug hunt

20160419_175315.jpg

The summer term has begun!

For our first meeting the Rainbows went on a minibeast hunt in the garden behind our hall. My helpers “hid” these stones around the area. We got into 3 groups, and each group searched for a different animal.

After a few minutes we counted up how many each group had found. Then they wanted to do it again, so they hid their stones, swapped animals, and did it again.

They looked out for real minibeasts as they went around. We found lots of earthworms, which my Guide helper kindly rescued from being trodden on.

20160421_165940.jpg

Then we played the game where the Rainbows have to pass something (in this case, one of the minibeast stones) around the circle behind their backs, while one stands in the middle and guesses who’s got it.

I wasn’t sure if they’d get the hang of the game or be patient enough to sit still, but they seemed to enjoy it – they just needed a lot of reminders to keep passing!

Then a few rounds of Duck Duck Goose, handed out the term programme and a few badges, and it was time to go.

Happy Holi-days!

Last week the Rainbows celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival of spring and colour.

We started with a game of “What’s the colour, Miss Rainbow?” It’s like “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” but instead of a time, the Rainbow at the front says one, two or three colours and the others repeat them and take that many steps. Supposedly. There was a lot of cheating reinterpreting the rules going on!

Then we went outside and drew on the paving slabs with giant chalks. The chalks were possibly the best £1 I’ve ever spent. It was great, all of them got really into it, and we had a lovely clear evening to do it.

So we didn’t throw paint at each other as is the tradition at Holi, but from the amount of chalk some Rainbows managed to get on themselves and their clothes, we might as well have! They were all really excited to show me how chalky their hands were.

My Brownie helper was particularly helpful this evening. She was very good at handing out and collecting the chalks, and at the end of the meeting she taught us all a new game. I’ve been a bit uncertain about what to do with such a young helper, but now I feel more encouraged about it – hopefully it’ll be a win for everyone.

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.

teddy bears picnic - Copy

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!

Chinese New Year

CNY (2)

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:

CNY (1)

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):

CNY (3)

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!

CNY (4)