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….

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

The New Pond

It was enrollment week this week, and the new pond was finished in time. It also fits in our big cupboard which is a relief.

The total cost came in at around £10 and it is built to last a long time. The back is securely fastened with duck tape, and the mirror is lovely and shiny, with the letters showing nice and clearly. We had flowers and leaves scattered around the pond, and I’m quite liking another Brownie tradition I’ve heard of which I’ll come to in a bit.

So here’s the pond! Minus the leaves unfortunately as we had to get into the ceremony so I didn’t get a picture this term.

Brownie pond, Enrollment ceremony at Brownies

I love this tradition and want to start it next term. Each Brownie is given a pebble to put their name on and decorate. When it is promise time, the new Brownie puts their pebble by the pond alongside all the others. When they leave they take their pebble with them, so it’s something which lives with them throughout their three years at Brownies.

We have 30 Brownies and a (hopefully) big enough pond.

Looks like I’m going to have to have a trip to the seaside (such a shame 😉 ).

A Thinking Day Game

This is stolen from the Girlguiding Brownie Leader Support Group on Facebook, and is played in a similar way to Mr Greenstrings Shopping bag (which I’ve never heard of, so I think when we play it, it will be like Fruit Salad).

The characters are:
Robert Baden Powell
Olave Soames
Agnes Baden Powell
Girl Guides

The Game…
The 22nd February is the Joint Birthday of Robert Baden Powell and Olave Soames. With the help of Agnes Baden Powell these are the people who created Scouts and Girl Guides. This day is also known as Thinking Day.

Robert Baden Powell set up Scouts in 1908. They were just for boys and based around things he learned in the army. The Scouts grew and grew; Robert Baden Powell organised a camp for the Scouts at Brownsea Island. The Scouts who attended had a great time.

Robert Baden Powell then organised a rally in 1909 for the Scouts at Crystal Palace in London, but all did not go well. A bunch of girls turned up wanting to be Girl Scouts.

Robert Baden Powell liked the idea of the girls having a group similar to the Scouts so he asked his sister Agnes Baden Powell to help in setting up a group for the girls.

Agnes Baden Powell worked hard with Robert Baden Powell to create this group, and the decided to call them Girl Guides.

The Girl Guides took part in activities like the Scouts, and Robert Baden Powell and Agnes Baden Powell ensured that both the Scouts and Girl Guides had lots of fun.

In 1921 Robert Baden Powell met a lady called Olave Soames and in time Robert Baden Powell and Olave Soames got married. Agnes Baden Powell was very happy for them.

Agnes Baden Powell asked Olave Soames to help her with the Girl Guides. Olave Soames really enjoyed doing this, and in 1914 both Olave Soames and Agnes Baden Powell with the support of Robert Baden Powell set up a group similar to Scouts and Girl Guides for their younger sisters. This group was originally called the Rosebuds, but they did not like this name and Olive Soames and Agnes Baden Powell renamed them Brownies.

The 22nd of February, which is the join birthday of Robert Baden Powell and Olave Soames is known as World Thinking Day. It is on this day when Scouts and Girl Guides from all around the world join together to celebrate the Scouts and Girl Guides Organisations and remember their founders, Robert Baden Powell, Agnes Baden Powell and Olave Soames.

(I would recommend making the Scouts group ones that need a good run around!!)

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

Twist Me and Turn Me and Make a new Pond…

It’s Enrollment week next week at Brownies, and our pond is looking a bit old… and a bit like a tin foil cooking tray (because it is). At the end of last week’s meeting I mentioned this to Tawny Owl, who agreed we should get a new one.

So inspired by some of the Brownie Facebook Groups I did some research… and our new pond is in the process of being made! Even better, it doesn’t cost much other than time.

I wanted to keep it simple. To try and use any old elements of the last pond (there are some leaves we could reuse, for example, Tawny Owl suggested) but make it look and feel like a pond.

Ebay was my first success – some mirror board which is nice and bendy, so no chance of broken mirrors in our cupboard (which is likely as our cupboard needs a good tidy). An A4 piece of acrylic mirror which is 3mm thick, and cost £3.73 with free shipping. Looking good!

A lunchtime trip to Tiger Stores and OH MY GOSH! They have some Grass Table Runners for sale at £3 each. I bought two. This is perfect!! (they wrecked my scissors though, so if you get some use a knife)

Tiger Grass Table Runner

Then I just needed some letters to add to the mirror. Poundland had some nice sparkly ones – I think I’ll only be doing the ‘I looked in the water and there saw….” part so bought enough to do that – cost £1.

Then it was just getting some MDF to put this lovely new pond on. Fortunately there is a yard over the road from my work so I headed there and got an offcut of 60cm x 60cm. I asked how much, but they donated it for free! So very kind of them and much appreciated – so far the total cost for this pond is £7.

Then all I had to do was work out where the mirror would go. As it hasn’t arrived the grass hasn’t been completely glued down yet. I had some Tiger Stores Hyldepapir with leaves on, so thought it would make a good background for now, and if the mirror wasn’t big enough (it should be!).

Brownie Pond, Tiger Stores Grass Table Runner

The biggest issue was finding a glue strong enough. The Tiger Stores grass is tough to cut and even tougher to stick. This isn’t glue gun territory, it’s proper heavy duty glue territory. Fortunately we had some in the cupboard at home. I taped down the grass underneath with some Duck Tape (as it’s nice and strong) and we glued the top in place, not too close to the edges. For added strength Shaun placed all our heavy books on top (mainly old Brownie and Guide annuals from the 1970s and 1980s). So now we have to wait…

Oh, and I need to tidy up those ends too… the grass was messy while cutting it but seems to be sticking together and not falling off now. I’ll post another update when we’ve finished the job – there’s still some way to go!

Brownie Painting Book

Brownie Painting Book 1970's WAGGGS Print

Back when I was a Brownie I was obsessed with a set of six books. They were something that grabbed my attention but also made me realise I was part of a much bigger thing around the world.

Brownie Painting Book 1970's WAGGGS Print

York had a Guiding shop and they sold for 15-25p each. The very wonderful Brownie Painting Book.

I’ve since managed to pick up two and the memories came flooding back.

The Brownie Painting Book, 1970s WAGGGS Spain

The Brownie Painting Book is still pretty useful these days. While the uniforms have changed a lot, the names of the Brownies are still the same (as far as I could see).

The Brownie Painting Book, 1970s WAGGGS India

I picked up books 3 and 6, and may have a book 1 on the way as well. The books were printed in 1970 by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Check these pictures though!

I want to work on the World Traveller Badge from September and want to use as much information from these books when we take our ‘flight’ around the world. I’m trying to think of a game which uses all the different Brownie names, but haven’t quite found the right thing yet… bear with me!

This picture is taken from the Brownie Guide Handbook from when I was a Brownie.

The Brownie Guide Handbook - Some Brownies of Other Lands