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Brownies participated in a Guiding Campfire tonight.  There were events planned on Parliament Hill and at a local mall.  Since parking downtown is tough anyway and because you can always predict the temperature and weather inside, we went with the mall campfire – and it was great!

Here’s what we sang:

Thank you to Guider Judith and her team for a great campfire.

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We’re all familiar with how a relay works, split everyone into teams and one at a time, the groups work through the task at hand – in this case, girls run to the other end of the gym and tie their ties – while the rest of the girls cheer and wait to for the tie-er to complete her task and get back to the group so the next girl can go.

Snowy Owl adds an “active wait” component to relays that are going to take a while.  (We do a Ditty Bag Relay that goes really fast – there’s not enough time to even roll the dice.)

You need:

  • Dice – 1 die per team
  • Prepared Index cards(6 per group/team) – or card of some sort.  Make enough sets for each team you plan to have.  (I made mine out of different coloured file folders that I cut up, so we had a green, red, and purple team).  Snowy Owl’s set of cards uses white index cards and she has printed the dots and actions in different coloured ink.
    • You’ll print Dice numbers one one side of each card, and an action instruction on the other.
    • Card 1 – Put 1 Dice dot on one side and “Jumping Jacks” on the other (make 3 or 4 – depending on # of teams)
    • Card 2 – Put 2 Dice dots on one side and “Hop on one foot” on the other
    • Card 3 – Put 3 Dice dots on one side and “Scissor Jumps” on the other (Scissors are like jumping jacks but with leg crosses)
    • Card 4 – Put 4 Dice dots on one side and “Touch your toes then clap when you stand up” on the other
    • Card 5 – Put 5 Dice dots on one side and “March in place and tap your nose” on the other
    • Card 6 – Put 6 Dice dots on one side and “Lift one leg then clap underneath. Now the other leg!” on the other
    • OR print this page and tape the text onto the cards.

Then the relay… on “GO”, the runner does her thing (tie a tie) while the rest of the group rolls the dice, picks the correct card, and does the action.  When the runner completes her task and runs back, the next girl runs, and the team rolls the dice again.  I think I’ll keep my new set in my regular Brownie Bag.

 

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I attended a Guider training in January and it got me looking for resources for storytelling and drama.

Stories suitable for Brownies (especially at bedtime):

  • The trainer recommended The Storytelling Handbook: A Young People’s Collection of Unusual Tales and Helpful Hints on how to Tell Them by Anne Pellowski (1995).  I’ve taken it out of the library and it is definitely a good book.
  • Be on the lookout for the book Campfire Activities (1993 Girl Guides of Canada) if you can.  In there you’ll find Lee Piddle Thrigs (a delightful tounge twister that the trainer suggested) and a number of other wonderful other story and drama resources.  Sadly it is out of print, but ask around to see if someone has it, or look at yard sales.  I have it and use the legends frequently for bed time at camp.
  • “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde – this worked beautifully to put a group of Brownies to sleep.
  • Also Riki-tikki-tavi from The Jungle Books, Volume two by Rudyard Kipling is good (but long)
  • Campfire Stories for Brownies has online links to stories.
  • Ten Tall Tales for Brownies by Ailsa Brambleby is just that… ten stories that take about 10 minutes each to read.  I was gifted this wonderful volume by a former Guider and it is one of the best collections of short stories I’ve found.  If you see it in a yard sale, give the seller money.  Worth every penny.
  • I also have a small personal collection of Brownie Stories from around the world (they all seem to have some variation of Twist me and Turn me at the end so the girls will recognize the theme).
  • A note about camp: we always recommend that girls bring a book or two to camp, but we NEVER read their stories as bedtime ones.  If you read one, you will end up reading em all.  Of course, a bedtime story is a good transition activity. I like to bring something like a legend that isn’t scary, but that is unfamiliar to them.  We tell the girls that they may read their own book, listen to me, or go to sleep.   When my story ends, lights go out.

If I was planning a drama or storytelling meeting, here’s what it would look like:

6:30 Arrival Game

6:40 Brownie Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

7:00 Program – Introduce Drama (or storytelling as a theme).

Icebreaker Game – as a group

Break into smaller groups – Fortunately, Unfortunately

Read a Story, practice it together, figure out how to present it?  Memorize and dramatize?  Read in parts?

7:30 – Presentations.

7:45 – Campfire and Close.

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Brownies and Sparks are going camping in a couple of weeks and we had our camp prep meeting last night.  This one is a particular favourite of mine – mostly because it means we’re going CAMPING!  =)

Here’s what happened…

6:30 Arrival.  The girls suggested Evolution. I had never heard about it before but it was cute, funny, and apparently fun.  The girls enjoyed it.  I bet we see this again.

6:40 Brownie Circle Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

6:55 Program

Part 1 – In small groups – Brainstorm what we want to Do and what we want to EAT.
In Circle groups, a Guider with a big piece of paper and a marker will brainstorm with the girls to get them thinking about what they’ll be doing at camp.  The thing is, we’ve kind of already got an idea too… the Guider needs to nudge the discussion a bit so that things on your plan show up.

Part 2 – As a Group – Go through the Kit List (DropBox).  Guider to bring a mostly packed bag and some samples of different waterproofing.

  • It is important that all your stuff is waterproofed – it is a walk from the parking lot to our building.  We may not be able to get in right away.  And we may need to pile our stuff outside to wait until parents pick up. You’ll be happier if your stuff is dry.
    • Option 1 Dry Bags.
    • Option 2 – a tarped Bedroll (note – this is clunky and a bit much for Brownie Camp – but it’ll keep your stuff dry).
    • Option 3 – Put your stuff in a plastic bag inside a duffel bag or sleeping bag bag.  No Garbage Bags on the outside!  Black Garbage Bags may get thrown out.
  • What is a Ditty Bag and what goes in it?
  • Talk about Sleeping Buddies – You can bring a friend to sleep with (doll or teddy bear) but we recommend that you bring your second best buddy.  I tell the girls that I have a Raggedy Anne Doll that I would be really sad if she got lost, or ripped or dirty.  So I bring Sheep instead.  Sheep is a bit banged up already anyway and, while I would be sad if he got lost, it wouldn’t be as bad as losing Raggedy Anne.
  • Then answer questions.

Ditty Bag Relay (Bottom of the post)

7:40 – Make a Camp Hat Bedroll Craft (piece of plastic garbage bag with fun foam, and felt to make up the bits of a bedroll – use a small “ouchless” hair elastic to put it all together)

7:50 – Campfire.  We taught the Twelve Days of Guide Camp (a favourite camp song).  I usually have them shout “Drop that Snake!”  Quite funny.

Then close.  A fun meeting.  =)

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This week we’re starting off Key to Active Living with Germ Buster, ZZZZ and Good Health. The three sections fit together nicely. And we’ve done this before and Snowy Owl brilliantly kept it, so there isn’t much work to do to prepare. (To give proper credit, I think Snowy Owl Christine and Grey Owl Kelly were the original meeting organizers… I am just the typist today – and I like it that way)

6:30 Arrival in two parts:

Part 1 – Guider gets secretly “germed”. We want to demonstrate how germs get spread and one person in the group will have their hands covered in sparkles. At the end of the meeting, it is likely that everyone will have a bit of sparkle on them – these represent germs and will hopefully encourage girls to wash their hands.  Note to future meeting organizers… this part only works if you BRING sparkles (we forgot).

Part 2 – Bandaid Tag. Fits nicely with the theme and is an easy game that will spread germs around well.

6:45 – Brownie Circles

6:55 – Brownie Ring

7:00 – Program

Germ Buster

  • How can you avoid germs – hand washing
  • When should you wash your hands? Before eating, before handling food, when you cough or sneeze, after you handle something dirty or dusting, after the bathroom.
  • Teach Brownie Clean hands song (?) (I think you need to wash your hands for 15 seconds – about the same amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday)
  • Practice washing hands (pretend) in circle while singing

Good Health

  • Why is taking care of your health important? Who in our community helps us stay healthy? doctors, pharmacists, dentists, nurses What are some important ways to keep healthy? (eat well, stay active).

ZZZZZ Good Night

  • Why is sleep important?
  • How much sleep do people need each day? (Kids need 10-15 hours)
  • Talk about dreams and dreaming.

7:15 – Stations – we have an Occupational therapist as an Owl and have invited a Nurse and a Pharmacist student in tonight. These are people who help you stay healthy. Show the girls different medical professionals and talk about being healthy in general.

Station 1 Doctor or Nurse – We had a med student last time we did this. Kelly brought in tongue depressers and a stethoscope. She talked about her job, what it’s like to be a doctor and how to become one.

UPDATE: We were unable to get a nurse to come in (I knew that when I typed it on Monday, but didn’t have an alternative) so I ran a station where we made old fashioned toothpaste (or really, toothpowder).  Kind of along these lines…http://naturallycheerful.blogspot.ca/2011/09/homemade-toothpaste.html.  Then we offered a wordsearch about teeth.

Station 2 – Occupational Therapist – She’ll have some splints, usually brings some neat helper things (her clients have neat aids that help them do simple tasks), what she does, and how to become an OT.

Station 3 – Pharmacist to talk about what a pharmacist does, how they help us, and how to become one. (No drug demos – although they did one another year where they had to pick out the pill vs candy)

7:30 – Sleep – figure out how much sleep you need. Figure out when you should go to bed in order to get that amount of sleep.

www.sleepforkids.org is a great resource for this part. Their calcluator is here http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/calcs.html

Remembering Game – Snowy Owl has a list of animals and how much they sleep. She tells the girls, assigns an animal to each, then asks them to line up in order of who needs the most sleep. This isn’t the same one, but the list works: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chasleep.html

7:40 – Sports Charades – One way to stay healthy and active is by playing sports – individually or in pairs, the girls will act out their favourite sports and the others will guess what they’re playing.

7:50 – End of Germ Game – reveal what the sparkles are…how many “germs” do you have on you?

7:55 – Close

It is a busy meeting. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Every year we approach our singing program in an unplanned, let’s see what happens kind of way.  The result of that is that we end up repeating about eight favourites through the whole year – and year-to-year.  Then we look at the Sing Ontario Sing program around Spring Camp – and we have a LOT of songs to learn. 

Guider Shawnna and Snowy Owl Christine had a suggestion  Let’s look at the Sing Ontario Sing program NOW.  We’ll incorporate the songs into our program through the year – and have a big SOS Campfire at Camp.  Brilliant!  (There are Owls around the internets saying “duh”.  And others like me agreeing with Brilliant!  Anyway, it shows that you always need a team in the Owl biz). 

The 2011 program is Eh to Zee, Sing with Me!  A song for every letter.  The Owls know some of the songs, but not all of em.  Try it.  We will.

What are your favourite songs?  We like: The Littlest Worm, Yogi Bear, Black Socks (and its Backward Day Meeting cousin White Socks), Make New Friends, Fire’s Burning, Tall Trees, and a few others that I can’t think of right at this moment.   What are the songs you sing?

See also Sing Ontario Sing! from April 2011

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In my post about what to do on a first night in 2011 we made up a new game that has been added to and adjusted as we go.  It is particularly useful for teaching and modeling rules (kind of like a fun fire drill).  And Guider Joanne and a few others have just made it better. (edited May 2014)

Brown Owl’s Rules
Objective – to teach common signals and rules at Brownie and Spark meetings
You need – a large open space (like a Gym) and a whistle.
Game is based on “Captain’s Coming

Instructions:
At the beginning of the game the caller explains the different calls (and their related actions) to the players.  When the game starts, the caller will call the commands out and the players will follow them.  It could be an elimination race, but I’m not a fan of that for the first couple of meetings when this game is most useful.

Commands/Actions (some are silent)

  1. Brown Owl Has her Hand Up (Silent) – You’re quiet and put your hand up too.
  2. Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap – Leader claps the sequence once, Girls join in for two more times through and then be silent.
  3. Buddy Up! – catch hands with a partner
  4. Someone Screamed! – Girls go shhhhhh and put their finger to their mouth
  5. Waterfall!  Girls respond by putting hands up over their heads.  They sweep their hands towards the floor and they say “SHHHHHHHHHH” (like water).  And then be silent.
  6. If you can hear me touch your ear (girls who hear touch their ear and quietly follow along).  If you can hear me, touch your eye… etc.
  7. If you can hear me, clap once.  If you can hear me clap twice.  etc.
  8. Why are you running? – Girls start running around and respond “Because it’s a Game Brown Owl!”
  9. Whistle Blows (you’ll need a whistle) – line up in front of caller ready for evacuation.  Check to make you’re wearing shoes.
  10. Brownies, Brownies, Where are you? – Girls respond “Here we are, Here we are, How do you do?” and run to whoever sang it. (in a moment of fun, Snowy Owl called this, and then started running – she had 20 little girls running after her chanting here we are here we are…and it was awesome!)
  11. Make New Friends – Make the Brownie sign and shake hands (left hand!) with the friends around them.
  12. North! (they run to the North side of the gym)  South! East!  West!  (so they get some running)
  13. Add any of the “Captain’s Coming” calls in there too randomly just for fun.  My favourite is “Rats on Board” (Stomp rats!)

Joanne also added these actions that will make the game appealing to the older girls. 

  • “Circle Time” – each girl finds two others and they hold hands and make a small circle
  • “Promise Sign” – each girl makes Promise sign
  • “Attention!” – each girl stands at Attention (could also add a salute)
  • “Going Camping” – Find a Partner, face each other, hold arms high and touch hands, to make a tent shape
  • “S’mores” – rub hand across stomach to show how good it was, and then rub hands over face to wipe off the chocolate and sticky marshmallow – keep repeating until the next “command”
  • “Paddle your canoe” – in groups of three – two sit on floor facing each other and extend legs with feet touching, the third person sits on floor between the open legs and pretends to paddle the “canoe”
  • “Hug A Tree” – two girls get together – must be of two different heights – and smaller hugs the taller (I really like this one)
  • “Go For a Hike” – group of two to four girls hold hands and skip a round in a clockwise circle
  • “Day is Done/Taps” – girls come together in one large circle and hold hands (could be the signal for the end of the game) – or actually sing it as the end the meeting …?
  • “Campfire” – three to four girls sit together in a circle and sing
  • “Fires Burning” through to the end – only once OR it could be the signal for a large campfire – and the small groups could be guided through to sing it as a round with each group given a signal as to when to start – and then move quietly into a larger campfire circle ?

 

 

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I am still composing my thoughts about camp – but it was a true joy to be there and I will write a full post on it.  For now, I’ll post links to my most Brownie relavant learnings.

  1. Edelweiss – Did you know that this beautiful song has ACTIONS!??  It does!  How did I not know this?
    They are simple, but need practice (Becky’s site outlines them well – read them carefully and practice.  But do it).  We’ll teach the song one week, then add the actions in one direction only for a couple of weeks.  And then introduce the switching directions.  It was a beautiful moment of camp to see everyone moving together.  At first I thought that this was going to be the most stressful Edelweiss ever, but it was simply lovely… as was the entire campfire, lead by the program team.  Thank you!
  2. Rope Craft – Kathleen gave me a really neat bracelet that is actually 10 feet of line that could be used in an emergency.  This looks like a really good tutorial – buckles are optional in my opinion.  http://www.survival-training.info/articles6/Paracord-bracelet-with-a-side-release-buckle.pdf.  I don’t know that it is a true Brownie craft, but it is just macrame knots – and the older girls would get it.  The idea is that the rope is compact and tidy, but, if needed the bracelet could be untied and would give you extra line in an emergency.  Cool.  This is the rope I’d use for this craft
  3. Car Window Shades as sit-upons.  (Another Kathleen Gem)  You know those silver things that fit onto the front windshield of your car to try to keep the summer sun out?  Well, imagine using them instead as a sit upon – for you and a buddy.  It is super light – especially compared to the milkbag with newspaper option.  Super cheap.  Very accessible.  Good for lining a bed in winter.  Excellent for wrapping around you at a campfire – it reflects the heat back to you. 
  4. And yet another Kathleen learning.  Stop teaching bedrolls.  Instead, line the sleeping bag bag with plastic bags.  Most of our camps are indoors – the waterproofness is only usually required between the car and the building.  Still very necessary, but much nicer to be able to tuck a plastic bag inside the girl’s rucksack – rather than tripping over tarps the whole weekend. 

 

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 I am looking forward to the end of the year (I always do), but I’m also always a little sad to see it go.  If I’m honest, (and as much as I love Brownies) the best day of the entire year is the first Tuesday without Brownies – June 7 is so close!

We have one more regular meeting  (tonight) and then next week is the End of Year Banquet where the girls advance.

Tonight’s plan:

6:30 arrival game (Girls Choose) – The went with Octopus.

6:40 Brownie Circles

6:50 Brownie Ring

7:00 Program

Brownie Memories – This is where we talk about the past year and make a Memory Book.

Memory Book template using the Pocket Mod idea (although the site was frustrating, it was fairly easy to figure out how to make it myself):

  1. I made my own Pocket Mod that looks like this…Brownie memories – It really is a simple table printed on one sheet of paper.  I made a template using PowerPoint…  Click here for my end of year booklet template. 
  2. Girls will need to cut off the two short edges.
  3. Then make folds (as shown in How to fold your Pocket Mod).
  4. Then make cuts in the centre of the page as shown.
  5. Girls really took to this project.  I will do this again.

Then we went outside to play a game:

Time Bomb was very cool.  It is the sixth from the top on this site: http://www.girlguidinghantswest.org.uk/games/30sec_1/menu.php

We closed with a Campfire – girls requested songs and we finished with Make New Friends.

Easy peasy.  Happy almost last night!

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April 26 was all about plants.  (Well, mostly – our games were not so plant oriented).  We had two plants to plant in different ways, and one experiment.

Notes: I attribute the success of this meeting to (1) Planning and pre-cutting and sorting; and (2) Tall narrow freezer bags (not the zip tops, but the twist tie ones).  Bags?  Yes, Bags. By putting each project into a baggie after it was finished, it was possible to send the girls home with three separate projects without major spills or wobbly trays.  These are the half quart sized – so narrow and tall.

6:30 Arrival Game – What time is it Mr. Wolf? 

6:40 Circle Time

6:45 Brownie Ring

6:50 Program 

Discussion: What do plants need to grow?  What makes things grow? 

Celery Experiment
Supplies: Plastic Cups, Celery cut up into stalks, Water, Food colouring, Plastic Bag

Then Game while we set up for the next – Something for Easter

Plant Cat Grass in Pots
Supplies: Cat Grass Seeds, Plant Pots ($0.34 at WalMart), Soil.

Then another game while we set up for the next.

Grow Sprouts in Jars
Supplies: Mung Bean Seeds, jars (I had baby food jars but bigger is better), Cheese Cloth, Elastics
http://www.i4at.org/lib2/sprouts.htm
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Growing_Edible_Sprouts/Jars

Then another game while we cleaned up.

7:45 – Campfire and Close

Reading: The Garden - from Dragon Sleep Deprived…
Green Grass Song

And that was it.  A simple, fun meeting that required a bit of shopping, but not really a lot of work.

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