Tag Archives: outdoors

Girlguiding LaSER Discover Day, Greenwich

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The view from the ferris wheel

Back in June, I took my Rainbows to a Discover Day run by Girlguiding London and South East Region (LaSER, which we are in) in Greenwich.

Girlguiding members of all sections were invited to explore Greenwich’s museums, parks and maritime area. It was repeated on Saturday and Sunday (we went on the Saturday), with the option for older girls to sleep over in a museum on the Saturday night.

We travelled there on a coach with the Brownies and Guides from my district, but once we got there we went our own way for the day. We were a tiny group: we’d offered the trip to 3 Rainbow units, but only had 4 Rainbows, plus 3 Leaders and a dad – so a 1:1 adult to child ratio!

We had a great time, and looking back on it we managed to pack a lot into one day. We looked around the National Maritime Museum (which has a brilliant play area for younger children), ate lunch next to the Cutty Sark, went on a carousel and ferris wheel (both at a discount price for Girlguiding members), took a trip on a Thames clipper, walked through the parks, had ice creams in Greewich Observatory, stood on the meridian, admired the views over London, and finished the day in a play park.

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There were other activities on offer, some of them just for Girlguiding members, but that was as much as we could fit in and covered all the things the girls wanted to do.

It was a long day – 10 hours from leaving to returning – and a lot of walking for the Rainbows, but they did well. We only had one moment (at the top of the hill on the way to the Observatory) when one of them sat down and refused to get up! We had a little break, and our dad helper (not that Rainbow’s father) worked some magic and got her going again.

I should mention the event staff. All the Girlguiding volunteers and the venue staff we spoke to were brillant, really open to chatting with the girls and making sure we were alright.

The event was a very reasonable price – we spent more on the coach than on the day itself. The only snag was that we had to enter a ballot for tickets well in advance, and I overestimated how many Rainbows would want to go, so we lost money on the tickets and coach spaces that weren’t used. Next time I’d be more conservative about how many places I asked for, but I’d definitely offer it to my Rainbows again.

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The view from the Thames clipper

 

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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 at the beach

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Another throwback to the summer term.

We’re lucky to live in a seaside town, so I was keen to take the Rainbows to the beach in the summer.

We hired a beach hut that’s owned by a local charity. We didn’t need it – we could have just met straight on the beach – but it was good to have it as a base and as a bit of shelter in case we needed it, and it wasn’t much money for an evening. As it turned out, we had a glorious sunny evening, but the Rainbows enjoyed looking around inside the hut.

It was a fairly unstructured evening. As I remember, we did some hunting for interesting rocks, but apart from that the Rainbows were happy just to dip their feet in the sea (oh yes, we were also lucky it was high tide, otherwise they would have been dipping their feet in mudflats), chase the waves, and sit by the beach hut eating ice lollies. We finished with some games and giving out badges.

An arty autumn walk

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A person, I think

For our third Rainbows meeting of the term, we took advantage of the still-light evenings and good weather, and went for a walk in the park.

I gave each Rainbow a carrier bag and asked them to gather any interesting natural objects they thought would be good to make a picture. (With discussion of what was natural versus man-made, and what was safe/not safe to pick up.)

There weren’t many obviously exciting natural objects on our walk: we didn’t pass many trees, and the ones that were there hadn’t dropped their leaves yet. Still, the Rainbows managed to get collections of a few leaves, sticks, stones and bits of grass. Some absolutely filled their bags while others were very selective about what they took!

They made pictures on a bit of grass – it was a bit windy, which added an extra element of challenge! Then we went to the play park until it was time to go back.

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.

Bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles MY bubbles

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We had a lovely warm afternoon for making giant bubble blowers.

I first came across them on Housing a Forest a few years ago. You cut the bottom off a plastic bottle (1.5 or 2 litre works well). Keep the top, and secure a piece of cloth over the end with a few rubber bands. Slightly fluffy cloth is best, eg a thick sock, flannel, or piece of old towel.

Dip the cloth end in washing up bubbly water, and blow – don’t suck! – through the mouthpiece. You have to make a seal with your mouth and blow hard, as if you’re blowing up a balloon or playing a trumpet.

The Rainbows cut a bottle each and constructed their own bubble blowers, with help. We went out into the garden and had a go.

It didn’t go quite as well as last time I tried it. It was hit and miss: some of the Rainbows’ blowers worked quite well, but others seemed to be doing everything right yet still didn’t get many bubbles, let alone a snake. Possibly the fabric we used – an old polo shirt – wasn’t fluffy enough, or some of the bottles were too small.

Even so, it was a fun experiment, and I was pleased that all the Rainbows persevered when their blowers didn’t work so well at first, and tried changing things to make them better.

Bubble blowing kept everyone busy for 10-15 minutes, then gradually the girls had enough of them and went into general playing with skipping ropes. When everyone was done with bubbles, we finished off with a game together.