Tag Archives: summer

Bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles MY bubbles

bubbles 1 bubbles 2

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.


We’re going on a bug hunt


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.


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.

Summer cook outs

cook out (2) - Copy

It’s another flashback to last summer, since I got out of the blogging habit then.

As usual, my Guides did two cook outs in the summer term. They enjoy them, and it means on the second one they know what they’re doing, make their fires more efficiently, and get more adventurous with their food.

Actually I do my Guides a disservice. This year especially, I was very impressed with them even at the first cook out. Usually they need lots of reminders to collect wood and make a pile (“that fire’s not going to feed itself”), but this time they pretty much all just got on with it. And some of them were already cooking fancy things alongside their burgers and sausages – like wraps and pizzas.

For the first cook out we met at a leader’s house not too far away. Not one of our leaders; she’s the commissioner of another District in our Division, but she’s lovely and generous and has a big garden that she doesn’t mind us turfing up holes in.

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The second time we met at one of our Guides’ houses. It’s up on a hill above town, and they have a paddock behind the house that, again, her parents didn’t mind us making holes in. This Guide was really excited to have everyone over to visit, and we all enjoyed meeting her pets and horses. We were very lucky with the weather here: it’s an exposed place so it could have been miserable if it was windy or rainy, but instead it was a glorious still sunny evening. Oh how I miss summer.

The girls brought their own food and cooking implements, but we have Unit Leader to thank for bringing everything else we needed, from turfing tools and tables to sauces and spare hairbands.

High ropes

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Let’s flash back to an evening last summer when my Guides did a high ropes course. As you can see from the picture, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

We went to a place about 10 miles away that we’ve used before, both for unit meetings and on a county camp that took place nearby. We invited the Rangers and the other Guide unit in our district to join us, both because we like them and because we needed a minimum number of girls to be able to do it!

It’s not Go Ape, but it’s pretty similar. Everyone gets harnessed up, we do a short practice course low down, then we go round a high course. If there’s time, there are 3 high courses in total. If there’s even more time, the girls can do a “leap of faith”, where they climb to the top of a telegraph pole, attach themselves to a rope, jump off and freefall for a few metres before the rope pulls them up. I greatly admire the girls who do it. I generally try to be brave and have a “go for it” attitude, but I don’t think I’d manage to leap.

The main things I remembered from last time were:

  • It takes longer than you think for everyone to get going, so you can’t start too early
  • If you don’t use bug spray you’ll be eaten alive

I went round near the back of the group with some of our younger Guides. We didn’t have time to do all the courses, but they enjoyed what they did. I enjoyed seeing them encouraging each other, and especially seeing one of our very newest and shyest Guides opening up a bit.

It’d be lovely to get round the whole thing one day. I suspect that day will only come if I do it in a group of adults!

Speaking to the older girls afterwards, it was good to hear that those who had done it before managed to do it more easily/quickly/confidently a few years later. Equally, at our meeting the week before I’d asked another older Guide if she’d be coming again and she said no, she’d tried it last time and decided that high ropes were not for her. Which I think is fair enough – it’s an example of how guiding helps us to learn about ourselves, know our own minds and what we do and don’t like, and have the confidence to assert that.

An evening stroll

It’s Flashback Friday!

Evening stroll

One of my old Guides’ classic summer meeting plans is “walk to a nearby village and play some games there”.

This has variations: there are several different meeting points and villages to choose from, sometimes there’s a scavenger hunt, sometimes we take a parachute, sometimes we take food, etc etc.

This time we walked a couple of miles to some standing stones, had a picnic, and played a couple of games (the sort where you need lots of space and soft grass to fall on). Then we walked down to the car park where the girls got picked up.

It was a nice simple evening and we got lucky with the weather, hurrah!

Beach party

When the Guides were brainstorming what they wanted to do this term, one of their suggestions was going to the beach.  Now, we’re 90 miles away from the seaside and a beach trip wouldn’t be practical this side of Easter, so we decided to banish the winter blues and have an indoor beach night instead.

On what turned out to be one of the coldest evenings of winter so far – we actually got a couple of inches of snow later that night – everyone came to Guides in summer clothes and we cranked the heating up.  One Leader brought a lamp to make things that bit brighter, and another brought long swathes of pale yellow fabric which we laid out on the blue carpet to make a beach.

We split the Guides into four groups – as luck would have it, we had 24 girls that day.  Two groups made sand sculptures in trays, with play sand and yogurt pots…

Beach night (15)Beach night (14)…while the other two groups played a game guessing whose feet were whose.  One group left the room, the other group hid under fabric with only their feet showing, and the first group came back and had to decide together and write down which feet they thought were whose.  Then we did a big reveal to see if they were right.

Beach night (3) - CopyIt showed up that a lot of the Guides don’t know each other’s names, especially the oldest and the youngest.  But most of the teams got most of the answers right, or at least guessed the right people in the wrong order, so I think it was a good way for them to learn names.

One group cunningly all swapped shoes, and another cheated by tickling someone’s feet, which made her giggle and show her face!

Then we swapped over, so everyone had a chance to make sand sculptures and play the game.

Next, we gave the groups a set of split-pin Punch and Judy characters downloaded from here to colour, cut out, and pin together, while coming up with a short play.  While they were getting on with that, the Leaders made “cocktails” with orange juice and blackcurrant squash (for a sunset effect), mint, and glacé cherries.  Well, I didn’t; I praced about taking photos and saying “you have five more minutes, girls!”

Beach night (16)Finally, the groups performed their Punch and Judy shows, and had cocktails and ice pops while they watched.  We were running out of time, so they only got two minutes each, and two poor groups spent so long faffing and giggling and deciding what to do that they barely performed anything.  Still, it was quite entertaining for everyone.

Beach night (25) - Copy We had planned to play beack volleyball and the “sharks and lifeguards” parachute game, but alas, there was no time left.  Still, a fun evening!