Lockdown Future Plans…

First top tip, (we used Zoom) take a register and note the parent name against the Brownie. We had a few phone names who joined our meeting, next time I’m keeping track a bit better.

Second top tip, make sure girls who might want to tell you everything ever know that they need to be quiet when someone else is talking – maybe set aside a short chat time at the start so they get everything out of the way before activities start!

Third top tip. Take this time to learn the new theme names, Snowy Owl… (oh how I wish the names were on the activity cards)

Girlguiding has a page where they’re adding links – one that we started doing but need more ideas was a scavenger hunt at home, but working through the alphabet. Good call – means that the Brownies have to do the thinking and get creative!

A lot of the Unit Meeting Activities are difficult to try and switch to an online activity, The ones that seem to work are the ones where the girls have to listen and call out a response. These are ones that might work…

(Orange) Un-fantastic plastic. This involves talking about plastic and why it is bad – putting things into categories. Rethink – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. We have already done this one a couple of terms ago, so this will be a last resort one (and an excuse for the new Brownies to catch up too). At the end you work out a plastic pledge and talk about your answers. It sounds like an activity that you could get a part of done.

(Orange) One Good Turn Leads to Another. This is about small acts of kindness. During lockdown a lot of people are drawing rainbows and other things in windows so children can do trails around their area and spot as many as they can. This UMA suggests making chains, but I interpret it to be spreading a positive message around, which these posters definitely do.

(Orange) Local Munch. This is another we’ve done, though adapted it over a few weeks and asked the girls to spot where their food comes from. We wanted to try and get the girls thinking about it over time. It’s a longer UMA but plotting things on a map was quite fun over time – and could be even easier online (I’m working on that one…)

(Dark Pink) Clowning Around. This is about making someone laugh using just your face. Perfect for video meetings. It’s about making everyone smile – this could work well.

(Light pink) – Find that Tool. This could work if all leaders hold up pictures of the tools and the girls have to guess each one.

(Purple) – My Invisible Bubble. It’s about personal space – something I think we can all identify with at the moment. It would need some adapting though – still working on that one.

(Green) Fox, Frog, Flea. Like rock, paper, scissors – it might work.

(Blue) – Lend a Hand – it’s all about our old motto, and doing good turns. This could be one you explain and then come back to a week later. The leader would still show an object and have the girls think of good turns they could do with that object, having the girls think of other good turns means they could let everyone know things they’ve done.

(Blue) – Trefoil Trivia. You can do the quiz element of this, I would substitute the colour and trefoil bit by emailing a trefoil picture and getting the girls to colour it in.

(Blue) Brownie Pocket Challenges. I had this one prepped and ready for this term which was unfortunately cut short. This might work by showing the objects and getting the girls to say verbally what they think each thing was for. To avoid the girls who will always put their hand up and offer an answer, make sure the quieter ones get a turn too – you can have several answers for each object.

(Blue) Celebrate Good Times. It’s my birthday in late April, and it’s a significant birthday too. Obviously there’ll be little or no celebrations so this is about planning a fun Brownie celebration, working as a team and creating something spectacular. You need three tables, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Decorations. Get planning!

That’s the UMA’s I could find that might work, anyway. Next time I’ll work through the Skills Builders….

Lockdown #1

We planned a meeting via Zoom prior to Girlguiding’s recommendations for what to do, and fortunately had everything covered. I have Safe Space 1, 2 and 3, and we had two leaders present (plus a mum who is also a leader for another unit who stayed on).

My main concern was that the girls might chat over each other and nothing would get done. Most of them were just excited to see each other and say hello which meant we did get quite a lot done.

Activities done :

Catch a Story – this worked by the girl telling the story nominating the next Brownie to tell it – it also got some of the more shy girls speaking out.

Need vs Want– this worked well, the girls had to listen to me suggesting things – and I saw every girl getting involved and shouting out what they thought. I’m going to repeat it again next week and make the washing line part of the card at home.

Positive Pebbles – adapted slightly, we talked about what we were scared of. We then talked about conquering fears – and how we get through certain things. This is one the girls can think about, we asked for posters and positive things from the girls. One to report back on…

We started the chat with a scavenger hunt, the only rule was you can’t take something off another person that might upset them. That was quite fun, I need a longer list…

We finished the meeting with Brownie Bells.

There were a lot of happy faces, I think it worked quite well. The girls all wanted to listen, and we got a lot done in 30 minutes.

The New Programme

We’ve been getting our heads around the new programme this last year. Yep, it is almost a year since I last updated here.

I feel like the creative things we used to do are gone now, and there’s more of an un-guided curriculum in place to help us get certain targets. That’s fine, and something we’re all getting our heads around.

So for several meetings we haven’t really done things differently to what they say on the cards. We’re starting to learn what works for us, and what doesn’t. We’re combining badges and clauses as much as possible where they complement each other.

We’re doing dry and wet term plans in the hope we can get outdoors (so far, no good).

We’re getting constant requests to play Fox, Frog, Flea and have turned some Skills Builders into actual games the girls all enjoy playing.

It seems to be working. We have a few Theme awards awarded, a Gold awarded (taking the short route) and a few Skills Builders. I’ve got leaders guilt at not awarding as many badges so am finding things where we need to buy badges (then watching us have ten less girls turn up that week and wishing I hadn’t bought as many).

But we’re getting there. I’m still here.

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

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.


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!