Tag Archives: planning

Potato people


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.

Them bones, them bones


My skeleton, rocking the blue bones

The last meeting before half term was billed in the programme as ‘My amazing body’ – the idea being that we’d keep it open-ended and decide nearer the time what body-related activities to do.

My unit helper suggested these cotton bud skeleton pictures, which tied it in nicely with Halloween, without being too Halloweeny.

So we started off with some songs to get the Rainbows thinking about their bodies: ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’, ‘I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor’, and the Penguin song. Then my unit helper read them a Funnybones story while the other leaders laid out the crafty bits. And then we did skeleton pictures.

There was great variety in the skeletons, from very accurate copies of the picture I’d put out as a guide, to skeletons with hair and accessories, to a wonderfully abstract picture from our only-just-5-year-old. The key with these pictures is to carry them flat and not bend the paper at all, otherwise all the cotton buds fall off.

We finished off with a chat about what the Rainbows would like to do after half term (since I haven’t planned it yet: it seemed too much in August to think about what we’d do in December). They came up with some great ideas, like sparklers and First Aid, so by now I’ve hopefully put together the programme for the next few weeks.

Hilltop picnic

It was a beautiful evening to be up on the downs

It was a beautiful evening to be up on the downs

It’s Flashback Friday!

My Guides started the summer term with a picnic for all the division at a local beauty spot.

The motivation was that we were passing on the county camp baton to the next division. It was like a relay in the run up to camp: the baton was passed round every division in the county, so the girls could see it and get thinking about camp. It visited my Guide unit before Easter.

We wanted the handover to include everyone in the division, and all sections, and a “bring your own picnic” evening worked out as the simplest option.

We were very lucky with the weather. You never know in April (or at any time of year, really!), and if it had been cold/raining/cloudy and therefore dark early, it could have been a bit miserable. Instead, it was glorious being up there at sunset.

There were probably a couple of hundred girls there, not every unit, but every section and every district was represented.

We gathered in a big circle for a welcome, then QGB and I led a game where they had to get into groups and make shapes. For example, “get into a group of 10 people, where not everyone is the same age, and make a bus”.

Then we broke off and had a picnic, then got back together at the end to hand over the baton to some leaders from another division. Did we sing anything? I can’t remember now!

I do remember I was glad that lots of my Guides came, including a few brand new ones. And that afterwards, the other Guide leaders and I drove to a village pub and had a nice hot chocolate and planned meetings up to half term.

Back to Guides

This week normal service resumed as we had our first unit meeting of term.  I was a bit late (the fault was shared between me and the bus), and I arrived to a buzzing and very full hall:

  • 31 Guides, including one newbie, a little sister who was very well looked after all evening by her older sibling, and about 5 who we weren’t expecting to come back – one had even given us a goodbye card and present last term!
  • 3 Young Leaders: the outgoing one who leaves for university in a couple of weeks, the incoming one who left Guides at Easter, and an ex-Guide/Ranger/Rainbow Young Leader who came along for the craic.
  • The usual 4 adult leaders/helpers.  A very good spread, though a little cramped.

They had formed patrols and the Young Leaders were going around writing down who was in which.

Then they played a Kim’s Game: Unit Leader had brought along 30-something random objects and spread them on a table, and two leaders held up a cloth to shield the table from the room.  Each patrol numbered themselves from 1-6 (those with fewer members had some people with two numbers) and when a leader called a number, all the people with that number would go and look at the table for about a minute, then report back to their patrol and write down what they had seen.  When everyone had had two turns, the patrols swapped sheets and marked each other’s, with extra points for giving details like “blue hairbrush”.

Fun fact: when I was a Brownie, I was County Kim’s Game Champion in a contest run by the Trefoil Guild.  I have a certificate somewhere to prove it.

Next, we handed out one of the objects to each Guide, and gave the patrols 5 minutes to put together a play/sketch using all the objects, then watched each other’s performances.  They always enjoy a bit of drama, and we have a love/hate relationship with watching their plays!

While all this was going on, the leaders did a bit of speedy term planning.  It’s quite a long term – 13 meetings – but once we’d put in the things we need to do/always do (Bonfire night, making cakes for a stall, making crafts for another stall, Christmas party) and things we’d committed to (one of Unit Leader’s colleagues, a former Guide leader, is coming in for a couple of nights to do the First Aid badge), there were only a few weeks left, which we filled with seasonal things and activities the Guides asked to do last term that are more suitable for the autumn.  Bish bash bosh – not directly girl-led this term, but I think they’ll be happy with the programme.

After the plays, since the Guides were already sitting down like an audience, we asked those who had been on camp if they enjoyed it, and spoke about some events coming up, which we gave out letters for at the end, mainly the BIG GIG (I’m pretty excited about this – for those not in the know, it’s a national pop concert for Guides and Senior Section) and next summer’s county international camp.

Finally, we had a round of “riding on my pony” (a singing game) and managed to end the meeting on time.  It was lovely to see so many of them back and enthusiastic about the new term.

Planning the term in 12 sentences

“Let’s stay behind after Guides and plan the rest of the term.”

“Oh look, there are leftover marshmallows and Matchmakers from tonight’s activity!”

“I’ve brought my laptop so I’ll type it straight into a document to hand out to the Guides and email to their parents.”

“What events have we already committed to?”

“Which seasonal themes shall we do?”

“I know someone who’s offered to bring their guide dog to meet the Guides.”

“How can we help one of our Guides raise funds for an international trip?”

“Young Leader, would you still like to run a meeting to count towards your leadership qualification?”

“We haven’t done any Go For Its for a year, we should probably spend a few nights on them…”

“Let’s look again at what the Guides said they wanted to do and see how much we’ve covered…hmm, some things but not everything, but they’ll be able to choose their activities for Go-For-Its.”

“Have we filled up all our meetings already?  These other ideas will just have to wait till next term.”

“Who wants the last marshmallow?”