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Mancala is a game of sowing seeds or stones around a board.  The goal is to clear the board and get the most seeds in your store. We tried it at camp for some quiet time and the girls were completely enthralled.  We had to stop them after about 25 minutes. 

Girls play in pairs so for each pair you’ll need:

  • 1 egg carton
  • 2 stores or wells (we used coffee filters, but cereal bowls or cups would work)
  • 48 beads, stones, seeds or marbles (the bigger the better – easier to pick up.  Colour doesn’t matter).

Set up: Put four beads in each egg cup and put a well on each end.  We pre-set the first game.  The girls took it from there.

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How to play (the internet explains it better than I can):

Explaining it to Brownies:

Some of the girls already knew the game so I played with one of them to demonstrate.  Then we distributed boards and let them go.  It was so successful that we have kept our beads and egg cartons for a “just in case we run out of stuff” moment at regular meetings.

Who can play:

The game is rated for ages six and up.  I think Sparks might struggle, but it should be fun for older girls starting at Brownies but on up to Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers.

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Skit Ideas

We’re at camp as I type and the girls are making up skits (they LOVE skits).

We asked them to make up their own TV Show…here are the types of shows we suggested

  • Kid’s Show
  • Music Show
  • Cooking Show
  • Weather Report (during a storm)
  • News Broadcast where something amazing happens
  • Travel Show

I expect to be entertained and amazed in a few minutes.  And on another note, look what one of the girls had in her bag! (Remember, my name is Cara).

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Last week our second year Brownies went to visit Guides and the first year girls invited Sparks to be honourary Brownies.  The split is necessary in our neighbourhood because the Guide unit here is huge and their space isn’t big enough for all of the Brownies to go to Guides.  We also like that it gives our younger girls a chance to be the leaders.

Here is a two meeting plan for a really nice Sparks visit Brownies bridging meeting:

Meeting One (Key to Active Living – Say No, Key to Guides – Moving up (2nd year girls), Key to Guides (1st year girls) – Helping Sparks)

One week before the bridging meeting we all had  a lesson on teaching.  The idea is that the first year girls would hone their knowledge on an activity, and then work out how to teach it.

6:30 – arrival game

6:40 – Brownie opening activities

6:55 – Program

  • Say No discussion – how can you say no to someone who suggests you do something that is wrong  or that you don’t want to do?  Girls into 4 groups 6 each. Each group gets a skit to act out. Practice. Remember to face the audience and speak clearly and loudly.  We did this as “on the spot” no practice skits.
    • Some kids are playing at the playground. Your friend tells you that you should go and push one of the kids off the monkey bars. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are getting popsicles at the store. One of your friends tells you to steal a chocolate bar. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are playing outside. Everyone decides to go into one friend’s house, but you don’t have permission. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are selling cookies in the neighbourhood. Someone you don’t know asks you to come inside to wait while they get some money to buy some cookies. What should you do?
  • 2nd Year Program – go through the Moving up bit of the book – when you’re done, join the first year girls as stand-in Sparks.
  • 1st Year Program
    Group 1 – Teach a Game (they picked Ladders- even though the Brownie teachers did a good job, the wiggly Sparks had trouble sitting still while they explained it)
    Group 2 – Teach a craft - Hawk Owl provided an option for a paper weaving craft and a glue and drawing craft.  The paper weaving won.  (I’ll have to ask her for instructions)
    Group 3 – Teach a song – My group chose to teach Sparks Quartermaster Store.
    The girls explained the song “This is a song about a man who goes into a store without his glasses – spectacles are what glasses used to be called – and he sees some strange things”
    Then then sang the verse – sang it line-by-line, then invited everyone to give it a try.

7:40 – Everyone plays the game – finish with the song.  Campfire.

7:55 – closing

Meeting Two

6:30 – Arrival game – once everyone was there, we did a round of Brown Owl’s Rules.

6:40 – Brownie Circle activities – split Sparks into the circles.  Have the first year girls teach the Sparks their circle songs.

6:55 – Program – Learn a Song and Learn a Craft (we’ll do the game for everyone at the end). Sparks are split into two groups.  They’ll get to do both activities – 15 minutes per activity.  Craft and Song teachers split up, game teachers join a group of Sparks.

7:30 – Learn a game – As I said above, Ladders was a little tough for the Sparks to sit still and learn.  But there are always lessons in failure – and our girls know that sometimes it doesn’t work.

7:50 – Short campfire – everyone sings Quartermaster Store together.  “Owls…eating paper towels” is our favourite one.

7:55 – Closing with Grand Howl for the Sparks.

And that’s it.  It is a simple program, but it really works!

Our neighbourhood Campfire last year.  (because it was a shame to not have a photo with this post).

Our neighbourhood Campfire last year. (because it was a shame to not have a photo with this post).

I shared my Why every Brownie unit should have a rubber chicken (or two) post with the Girl Guides Can Blog today.  Thanks GGCanBlog for making Mr. and Mrs. Chicken a little bit famous.  They’re humbled.  =)

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Do Brownies Braid?

I spent most of my childhood fascinated with Laura Ingalls and pioneers.  I read the Little House Books.  I was a little cooky for braids like Melissa Gilbert had.  I had braids in my hair, as did my Barbies, dolls and sisters (if they’d sit still long enough), and long skirts, sun bonnets and covered wagons were the best things ever (tape some paper over the handle of a fruit basket for an instant covered wagon) .  I’m sure my Mom often questioned my sanity.

So fast forward a bunch of years later to Brownie winter camp.  We had yarn out for the girls and it turns out that only a few of them knew how to braid!  Starry Owl Chan to the rescue with some duct tape and some yarn. Most of the girls took to it (although I don’t think they were nearly as nutty as I used to be which is probably a good thing).

Here is a video tutorial for How to Braid with three strands.

Teaching Brownies to Braid (Jan 2014)

Teaching Brownies to Braid (Jan 2014)

I’ll start by saying that I’m very sensitive to noise (I hear really well) so this Harmonica Craft from Housing a Forest looks super cool, but I would probably plan it as the last craft at camp before we send girls home.

Noise sensitivity (aka, my superpower) is a good trait to have as a Brown Owl – I can hear girls conspiring to do something I don’t approve of from great distances and am able to intervene in a way that makes them think I have eyes in the back of my head (so much fun – for me).  So, while noisemaker crafts are not my thing, the girls will love these.

If you live in Ottawa you can contact City Wide Sports through the City of Ottawa to get them to come to you to offer a sport clinic.  The cost sounds very reasonable.  The site says it is geared towards birthday parties and Guide and Scout meetings, etc.  Fantastic.  (Thanks to the Guiding Communities of Eastern Ontario Facebook Group for this awesome tip!!!)

Go to http://www.citywidesportsottawa.ca/Home/DisplayPage?PageID=4&TopMenuID=4

 

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