A Wedding Themed Week (or two)

This Summer, Royal Wedding fever happened. For my 8 year old daughter it was the first Royal Wedding she remembers, being a bit too young for the previous one. Girlguiding issued a Meghan & Harry badge which we bought and created activities around. This would work for two meetings if you don’t want to be too rushed.

Firstly, we did some cards for Meghan and Harry. We split the girls into sixes, then into groups of three. They were given a piece of blank card folded and left to it. I loved what we sent – they were posted to the royals, though as of yet we’ve had no reply (I’m checking the post every day just in case).

Cards for Meghan and Harry

Secondly, I bought some baubles from Crafty Crocodiles – they worked out quite cheap too – possibly as they’re now discontinued. This is similar to what we used.

I bought a selection of sweets and each six came and filled their bauble with as many sweets as possible.

It’d be nice to just give the girls their baubles back full of sweets, but that’s not what this activity was about – these are party favours. So in the background us leaders wrote labels for each girl, and made sure that each girl knew to make her best one, as another Brownie would be getting it. A bit of switching here and there meant nobody got the one they made, and only a handful of girls complained they didn’t have many sweets in theirs…

Party Favour baubles

It was really nice handing them out at the end of the meeting, and I think the girls liked it too. Even the ones that complained. Only about umm… twenty out of thirty opened theirs in the meeting (despite being asked not to)!

Another activity we did was toilet roll wedding dresses in each six. The previous day I headed to Poundland for their 9 rolls of toilet paper and bought one for each six. That was way too many, I’d recommend getting one lot of nine per two sixes – we donated everything that was left to the nursery we share a room with.

toilet roll brownie brides

The only rule was that the girls who were getting the wedding dresses had to be a new Brownie, so they were involved. I think they liked it! I thought it was also a good way of making sure that all the girls spoke to each other because often the new girls find it difficult to fit in, especially when they’re not in a six with their friends. If they’re the centre of attention then that’s a good thing.

We did think about decorating plates but didn’t get organised soon enough, so maybe we’ll work on that one for another time…

Meghan and Harry Girlguiding badge

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It Has Been a While

since I last updated here. We’ve been so busy with Brownies this term, so over the summer I’m going to type up a few of our meeting plans which seemed to work quite well.

This will cover things like Vote 100 activities, Royal Wedding activities, making cards for Queen Elizabeth, the Equaliteas activity and the Girlguiding Future Girl activity. We also had a football week which went well, timed with the start of the World Cup.

This term has felt like one where the girls have expressed their opinions and realised their voices do matter. They’ve also got worse at listening at times, preferring to continue their conversations while their hands are raised but hey ho….

I’d like to think they’ve learned a bit about what it was like to gain the vote 100 years ago, and the things girls can do or want to do. We’re not teachers, but we can all learn something together.

So yes, those were our themes, for September we’re doing a Brownies & Guides Got Talent evening so we’ll be spending time working on that. I’ve also spotted a new challenge badge, The Greatest Showgirl which fits perfectly with it too, as well as the Entertainer badge.

Hopefully once we get the new resources for the programme change there will be parts we can incorporate into our meetings – not long now! Although we won’t get ours from Division until early September. I’m hoping there’ll be more information online to keep us going.

Slime

I have an 8 year old. I know what they think about slime. If it’s from adding hand soap at school to blu tack, they know what they like. I’ve been looking around for an easy to follow recipe for slime which doesn’t include borax or boric acid – and came across this simple one.

You need PVA glue. I bought a large pot from TTS, an educational supplier which was really cheap.

The problem with the glue is you don’t want it too sticky and you don’t want it too runny. Generally most recipes will tell you to use anything with borax or boric acid in (like contact lens solution), but I wanted to avoid it, so went for Kershaw’s Laundry Starch which was quite cheap via Amazon. You don’t need much.

It was as simple as putting the PVA glue into a pot, adding small quantities of the starch and watching it bind together almost immediately.

Too sticky? Add starch.

Too runny? Add more PVA glue.

Don’t add glitter though, it gets too messy. Glitter glue, however, looks quite pretty and doesn’t make as much mess and helps make the goo a little bit more stretchy.

This is my first try when I added glitter

slime using glitter, pva glue and starch - a bit sticky and very messy

versus Shaun’s with the glitter glue.

Slime with glitter glue - a tidier way of making it, and quite easy too.

I think I prefer Shaun’s way…  don’t tell him!

Post-Christmas Activity

A nice easy one to start a new term. We (still) have 32 girls, so I got 16 of our Christmas Cards and labelled them A and B on the back (in different colours).

The cards will be laid face down, with each girl choosing one.

They then have to find the other half of the card within the unit and pair up with whoever has it.

Let’s see how that goes….

Friend to Animals Badge

Over the holidays we stayed at a couple of farms – family-friendly ones. I wondered if we could make it apply to a Brownie badge, as my daughter loved learning about the animals and what they ate.

In the end I decided that the Friend to Animals badge would be a good match. We checked through the clauses and decided that the closest fit for this would be the section which applies to animals in Zoos, Animal Sanctuaries and Wildlife Reserves.

Here’s how it works.

*Visit your nearest zoo, animal sanctuary or wildlife reserve. Find out about some of the animals that live there, including at least one you hadn’t heard of before. Make a scrapbook about your visit.

This was easy. When we stayed at Coombe Mill we learned about all the animals on the farm every day. While some animals were bred for their meat, others weren’t. We found out which foods they liked to eat and what their purpose was on the farm.

Jack the pig at Woodspring Farm

When we stayed at Woodspring Farm (which is a vegetarian farm) we also learned about the animals there, so my daughter had information about both types of farming.

Coombe Mill has alpacas, so she learned lots of facts about them as she was convinced it was a llama – so learned a lot about an animal she hadn’t heard of before.

Alpaca at Coombe Mill

*Look at the different colours and patterns of animals. Explain why animals need camouflage. Use some of the patterns you see in a piece of art, for example a face mask.

This was fun. We looked at the patterns on the deer at Coombe Mill. She created a piece of art using different things to create the spots – pastels, crayon, chalk and lemon juice. After that she painted over everything in a light brown watercolour to see what the spots would look like.

When we were at Coombe Mill the deer were often quite hard to spot because of their camouflage, so this was a good one to do. The results are interesting too! She has wanted to make spy messages on a piece of paper for a while now so this has given her more ideas.

Jack the pig at Woodspring Farm

*Describe how life is different for animals that live in the wild to those that live in captivity.

The deer covered this area. They are wild deer within a large enclosed area. We learned lots of facts about them and also that you shouldn’t get too close as they might have ticks! She then compared how they live to other animals around the farm. Some of the deer at Coombe Mill came from Crystal Palace City Farm when it closed down.

*Find out how some zoos’ conservation work helps to protect endangered animals. Get details of the adoption schemes that are run by some zoos and sanctuaries.

This one was quite easy for us. Back when my daughter was a baby she sponsored a duck at the London WWT centre. So we went back over what sponsoring an animal does – as there are some breeds of ducks that are endangered. Ducks come from a Duckery which made us laugh!  This was easy to find details on, and my daughter knows why such schemes now exist.

So I reckon that’s her Friend to Animals badge sorted when we get back! She also earned her Advanced Swimmer and Booklover over the holidays, and is working on her Sports badge. Phew!

Promise Activity

I wanted to keep this simple, but make sure each Brownie-to-be knew what each part of the Promise means. A lot of our newest recruits were Rainbows so knew what to say (with that little bit extra) but the main thing with the promise was understanding what each part means.

I have to stress to every single girl taking part in this, Brownies is NOT a religious organisation. You are finding the promise and seeing how you can apply it to what you do, and then remember what you’ve done when saying the promise. It seemed to help. Apart from the girl who said she has no beliefs, doesn’t help anyone and doesn’t do much. But we got there in the end.

I copied the text from the GirlGuiding website with each section of the promise, then created text boxes for the girls to write things they had done for each part of the promise. I couldn’t find anything like this online (which was surprising) and it helped the girls understand exactly what they were promising. It can probably be adapted even better, so I won’t upload my sheets just yet.

We sat in sixes, and wrote something we had done our best with. That was fairly easy.

Then we thought about beliefs. A lot of our Brownies attend church schools, so said god or jesus which was easy for them. However, a lot of other girls said they don’t believe in god. I pointed out that I wrote that I’ve been a vegetarian for over 30 years, and that I believe I shouldn’t eat animals. We chatted about things they believe in, and they worked it out from there. Unicorns, apparently.

After that, a surprising number of girls didn’t know what a community was. But we talked about attending church parade, helping or visiting their school fair, or even just attending the local carnival. They got a few ideas from that which opened up their idea of what a community is.

None of them knew why we say we’ll serve the Queen. They didn’t know she used to be a Brownie… (obviously they haven’t been reading their Adventure Book ;-)) but they found that interesting which was good.

Then it was covering the Brownie Guide Law – ‘A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day’ – so we thought about when we’ve done that. The girl I mentioned above struggled. I said “well, do you make your bed very often?” “no, I make it every day” she replied. VOILA! That’ll do nicely.

So I was hoping that when they said the following, this is what they’re thinking…

I promise that I will do my best, (I will listen to other people when they speak)
to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, (I believe in unicorns)
to serve the Queen and my community,  (I spent lots of money at the school fair)
to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law. (I make my bed every day)

Put like that it’s pretty easy to slot the Brownie Promise into everyday life, especially when you’re starting your GirlGuiding journey, I reckon.

A Women’s Football Activity

I’m basing this one on the SSE Wildcats session my daughter went to today – it was a fun game and left open to anyone to win. It’s football related so you’d need to know a little bit – but seeing as England Ladies are about to travel to The Netherlands to play in the UEFA Women’s European Cup, it’s topical too.

Find images of each squad player – this is a good image to start with and these are the players and their positions.

Goalkeepers – Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Carly Telford (Chelsea)

Defenders: Laura Bassett (no club at present), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Arsenal), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal)

Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Ellen White (Birmingham City)

Separate the girls into sixes. If you have small cones, you could laminate the picture with the players names on the back. The girls have to find each player when you call their name out. If you can, why not get them to dribble a small football to get there?

If you fancy bonus points you could ask them to work out which position they play in too or to guess which club they play for.

It’s a good way to get the girls familiar with names which should be more familiar these days anyway!

The Brownie General Election

Our plans to finish the First Aid badge this week fell through so we cobbled together very quickly a Brownie General Election.

After explaining to the sixes what they have to do, we left them to plan with bits of help here and there.

Obviously, it being a Brownie General Election we also joined in as leaders. Each team had to come up with a name, some things which we would want to vote for them with and finally sum themselves up in a two minute presentation.

The girls spent about 40 minutes working on the things they wanted – the start and choosing a name was an exercise in democracy itself – with them voting for whichever one they liked the best.

Then they listed up to six things they wanted to change, and six things that they would stop.

Needless to say, school, holidays, chocolate and getting rid of Donald Trump came up across all sixes. The interesting part was the presentations. Each group had two minutes to do something. Some girls just read from their sheets while others did a proper bit of acting. The ones who put together a little play as part of theirs ended up winning.

I found it interesting watching the girls work as teams. Some of the new girls sat back a bit so we went from table to table making sure they were involved and making sure the more dominant girls in each group included everyone.

After all the presentations we made notes and summarised, and each six was allowed to vote for one of the Brownie Parties – but not themselves!

It didn’t take a long time to set up, was pretty noisy but good to see them working together. A good one to get in before our real-life General Election next month, anyway – plus it took up the whole meeting!

BrownieGeneralElection

General Election 2017 spreadsheet

For the record, team owl would extend the school day from 7am to 7pm, no laughter, sweets are banned, definitely no cartwheels, One Direction no longer allowed but our choice in music is, also no laughter and definitely no playing. Needless to say when we all read it out the Brownies were shouting in disbelief 🙂

More Preparation for the Craft Badge

The first part of the Craft Badge has been done now and went really well – the shrinky dinks look fabulous! Because we had to do the baking at home I made a little YouTube video.

Another part of the badge involves fabric paints. Although I’m having second thoughts as they’re not easy to deal with. I’ve spotted Ikea do some fabric felt tips so giving the girls a choice will hopefully mean it will still be fun.

A recent discovery is Crafty Crocodiles. They give Girlguiding a discount too which was good. I really liked their fabric craft items that you can decorate, so ordered extra fabric paints and items to give them a try and see how well H got on with them.

I ordered their Cotton Mini Shoulder bag which works out at 65p per bag – a reasonable price! I try to aim for around 75p per girl, and have to order 30 of everything even though most weeks we average around 25 girls attending.

I also ordered a pencil case (just the one) for me to try out – and to give to Brownies as we don’t have a pencil case to keep things, so just borrow from the Six tubs – I never remember which one!

H needed a nice drawstring bag to keep her Brownie things in, especially all the bits she picked up in Australia so we got one of these bags too, again to test out the various paints and make sure we do it right on the night. These were slightly pricier, but easier to paint on (and trace the World Guiding badge through too – you can see it faintly still in the bag).

Crafty Crocodiles fabric design, fabric drawstring bag, pencil case, crafty crocodiles crafts

This is the result of my decorating. It was quite fun, though you need to be quick to fix a mistake. (another reason why I think that pens might be better for some of the girls)

I took my time with the old Brownie badge, pencilled it in and then carefully used the yellow paint – it was a fairly quick job. In fact, the only downside of this is that the paint takes a while to dry. Definitely one to start a meeting with so there’s enough time to let it dry, anyway. I think after an hour it’s take-home-able, before then it’s be-really-careful-able!

It’s also quite messy. I managed to get paint on my pyjamas so put out a note to make sure parents keep old clothes so the girls don’t spoil their uniform… or maybe it’ll just be me!

You need to make sure you put some paper in the bag to catch any paint that bleeds through the fabric – it will happen, and you’ll be glad you did.

H made a mess of the word ‘Girlguiding’ so we decided to make a blue circle and then paint over it in yellow, which looks quite cool. She likes it too… so top tip, plan your words in pencil before you start to write. Try telling a seven year old not to rush too much… it’s impossible. They think they know best….

 

A Quickly Thought Out Meeting

Tonight our meeting plan wasn’t quite ready. It’s my first week back as I was too jetlagged after visiting Australia. But I’m ready!

We’re doing the craft badge this term. I have a few bits planned, although I need to think how they’ll work with the badge syllabus.

Firstly, we’ll be making the shrinky dink necklaces – because it’s quick and easy. I’ll bring them home to bake and take them back in next week. We should be doing the First Aid badge next week, but finishing off the necklaces should be quick and easy – possibly one to start when the girls first come in.

Secondly, our Tawny Owl collected some rocks and pebbles from their seaside break in the school holidays. The girls can decorate each pebble which we’ll keep for Promise Ceremony time, when each rock will be placed around the pond. So they need to put their name on it and then do whatever they want. When they leave Brownies they get to take their stone with them.

Finally, an activity I spotted on the Girlguiding Brownie Leader Support Group. Each girl draws a picture of themselves, and the piece of paper is passed around everyone, where you have to write one nice word that makes you think of that person. Could be interesting… I think us leaders will need to join in too!

Let’s see how that goes….