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.

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….

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….

 

Fire Breathing Dragon

Today is St. George’s Day, and we visited Hever Castle. For the free craft they had a chance to make a Fire Breathing Dragon, which is pretty easy too.

You need a few bits up-front. A toilet roll for the body. Two large and two small pom pom’s, plus some googly eyes. To cover the body and make the flames you need tissue paper. I’d also recommend using two types of glue. Pritt stick works well for glueing the tissue paper to the toilet roll, whereas the more gloopy glue is better for sticking the pom pom’s to the body.

fire breathing dragon roll the toilet roll

We cut a section of tissue paper to fit the toilet roll with extra either side. Pritt-stick it on one edge so it holds tight as you roll it. I glued it a bit half way too for extra support. Once you’ve finished, glue the end and tuck the paper on each end into the tube.

fire breathing dragon push paper into ends

After that, glue the two large pom pom’s fairly close together at one end of the toilet roll (gloopy glue works best).

fire breathing dragon sticking large pom poms

Get the two smaller pom pom’s and glue them to the other end of the toilet roll a small space apart. Those are the dragon nostrils!

fire breathing dragon both sets of pom poms

Glue the googly eyes to the large pom pom’s (again, gloopy glue).

fire breathing dragon pom poms with eyes on

Finally, tear some strips of tissue paper and pritt-stick them to the toilet roll on the nostrils end. We used red, yellow and orange – flame colours!

fire breathing dragon adding dragon fire

 

The activity took about ten minutes, it was fairly easy to do although glueing tissue paper can be tricky. It involves very little prep and H (aged 7) loves her dragon she made.

It works for St. George’s Day activities too.

fire breathing dragon

Mothers Day or Valentines Heart

We did this today at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and I think it’ll be a fun craft to adopt. Really easy too – all you need is some Rustic Wire, some wool, beads, ribbons and cut out shapes.

Woven love heart selection

We bent a section of Rustic Wire into a heart shape. It’s a bit sturdier than a pipecleaner but looks more like a bendy twig.

After that, tie some wool to one side and weave it from side to side. Different colours look good too. We found that looping it around each edge helps hold it tighter too.

We then got a section of wool and threaded some beads onto it. These were fastened to the top of the heart once the wool threading was done.

After that we threaded some card stars to a piece of wool and did a loose knot on each one. This was tied to the bottom of the heart.

As a nice little Mother’s Day treat, H was given a tag to write a message on. I haven’t seen this bit yet, but she loved making it and writing the message.

It was a really simple craft to do – you don’t need a lot and it looks really pretty. There are so many different ways of doing this too – this is just a basic heart. I want to do this next year for Mother’s Day at Brownies anyway. It shouldn’t be too challenging for anyone.

Woven Love Hearts

Tissue Paper Candles

I have to admit, I have wondered how this would work. I’ve read a lot of units on Facebook did this as a Mother’s Day craft which sounds great, and is so much more personal too.

This is one we’ll be trying in future – I have some pillar candles at home so I might give this a go at home beforehand – after all, if it’s just tissue paper, a hairdryer and a candle… well, it does sound fairly easy doesn’t it?

Here’s a link.

Shrinky Dink Necklace

H and I had a trial run at the Shrinky Dink paper to see what colours worked the best, and how small what you’re colouring would end up being. My idea is now for all our girls to make a necklace with their name on – which should be a quick activity. All I need to do is bring the shrinky dink papers home to bake and bring back in the following week to finish off.

Shrinky Dink COllage

H and I drew a design, making sure it filled as much of the paper as possible. Where there were letters we made sure they were clear too with careful colouring around them.

I opted for my Brownies name, Snowy Owl and a heart which said “I heart Girlguiding”. H did one that says “I heart Mummy”.

So we sat, coloured on the rough side of the paper (I used pencils, H used felt tips – both worked fine), filled in gaps and made sure it looked as clear and even as possible.

A hole punch was used to make a hole for threading later on, and we trimmed carefully around the design.

trimmed shrinky dink

Warm the oven to 170 degrees (I did it a bit less as we have a fan assisted oven) and put the creations on some tin foil on a baking tray. Watch them curl and twist about, until finally they stop.

shrinky dinks in the oven

This should be no more than a couple of minutes, tops.

finished shrinky dinks

Take them off the tray carefully. We put them onto a tea towel, making sure they were still hot, and flattened them carefully with a book. Hold for maybe 10-15 seconds, not too long.

That’s it!

After that I put a metal hoop through the hole (easier than threading) and tied a piece of cord around the hoop and in a knot. Voila, a super easy necklace which has shrunk loads in size!

shrinky dink necklace