We’re meeting online and clambering for ways to make the familiar work for us. This week we played Captain’s Coming with the following adaptations.

  • Port – run on spot facing the left
  • Starboard – run on spot facing the right
  • Rats on Board – Stomp those rats
  • Captain’s coming – Stand at attention – salute the captain
    Try to refer to our Captain as her, she, or they. Of course captains are also he – but I want to reinforce that they don’t have to be. See What it’s like to be a cruise ship captain
  • Overboard – on floor- swim on tummy
  • Submarine – on your back – foot up in air like a periscope
  • Greet the Queen – Curtsy or Bow
  • Swab the deck – mop the floor

Drama and Storytelling

If you’re a Brownie Guider, I’m going to guess that you already know that Brownies love drama. This meeting was a good mix of experimenting with creativity and a chance to play.

  • Program Area: Experiment and Create
  • Theme: Art Studio
  • Activities: Unit’s Own Art Studio and What is it? (we didn’t actually do What is it, but it is similar to what we did do and it fits the time).

6:30 – Arrival Game – Girl’s Choice (picked the week before) Line tag, I think.

6:40 – Brownie Circles – off to your corners for attendance. This time we also asked them to discuss How does a good audience behave? How does a bad audience behave?

6:50 – Brownie Ring

7:00 – Program – talk about being an audience. Think about: How do you respond if you are enjoying a performance (cheer, yay, bravo)? What about if you don’t like it (bad example – boo, hiss and good examples – polite applause – constructive criticism)? How do you watch a performance (bad manners, good manners).

7:05 – Warm up – let’s act like animals. Be a cat. Be a snake. Be an Owl.

7:15 – Puppet Play – I’ve got a bag of Ikea Finger Puppets and we gave each girl a puppet. (You could make your own puppets – stick puppets would be easiest – download a template or have the girls make their own). Sitting in a circle we went through some exercises:

  • Step 1 (2-3 minutes) Individual activity – ask the girls to spend some time getting to know their puppet. Introduce yourself to the puppet. Think about: what is its name? How old is it? Is the puppet fun to be with?
  • Step 2 As a group, girls think about how they could convey emotion, show activity and demonstrate feeling for the puppet? Happy? Sad? Dancing? Scared?
  • Step 3 – go around and introduce your puppet if you like.
  • The activity went a little faster than I thought so the girls played for about 8 minutes. At the end of the playtime, we reconvened and did the introductions again – They had had more time to make friends with the puppets so the intros were much more detailed.

7:35 – Tableau Vivant/Family Portrait Activity. This is from my sister who is a primary school teacher. This was very successful and man did they love it. We moved through Jill’s instruction – started with individual activities, and then quickly moved to groups where we gave them a phrase or topic to make into a scene. We were able to do two sessions and it was a joy to watch.

  • Have a list of activities on hand:
    Practicing Karate, Eating Spaghetti, Climbing a mountain, Flying a kite, Feeding a baby, Building a snowman, Feeding ducks, Making Pizza, Driving a race car, Walking on a tightrope, Rowing a boat, Lifting Weights, Raking leaves, At the zoo, Making a sandcastle, Swimming in the ocean, Playing on the computer, Making pancakes, Watching a scary movie, Washing dishes, Performing an operation, Opening an umbrella, Marching in a parade, Skiing, Putting up a tent

7:55 – Closing and Goodnight.

Review – this went very well and the girls loved having some time to just play. The Tableau Vivant activity had a bonus win for us – we’ve got three painfully shy/nonverbal girls in our unit. There was no talking and that suited our girls nicely. We’re probably going to do this through the year. They had a lot of fun (and everyone was present so we don’t have to explain it to anyone).

Every November, Canadians focus on soldiers who made tremendous sacrifices and who did hard things protecting our freedoms. Tonight we turned the lens on how Girl Guides would have done their bit on the home front. We did this with the help of GGC Alberta’s Canadian Women of Valour challenge.

Photo Source: Edmonton Journal http://www.edmontonjournal.com/cms/binary/10371909.jpg
  • Girls First Theme – Connect and Question
  • Program Area – Canadian Connections
  • Look for Canadian Women of Valour on the Platform

6:30 – Game as chosen by the girls – Toilet Tag (yeesh – because that’s a dignified way to start a meeting about sacrifice – but the girls had fun and got out some wiggles)

6:40 – Brownie Circles

6:50 Brownie ring

6:55 Introduction – what is Remembrance Day (all outlined in the challenge document)

Then we split into our circle groups and did a round robin.

  • Group 1 – Learn about knitting – we had Lucets and a knitting project that girls could work on.
  • Group 2 – Learn about Childcare
  • Group 3 – Make a Valentine for a Veteran.
  • Group 4 – Learn about real Canadian women who served in WWI and WWII.

7:45 Wrap up – Talk about what we learned.

We closed with a suggestion that members of Girl Guides of Canada have the option to wear their Uniform to school on Remembrance Day. I got a little choked up when I told the girls that if they’re asked about their uniform, they should remember that they represent the girls who stepped up on the home front to knit warm things for soldiers and who took over the care of siblings in the household when their parents were called to the war effort. We stand in solidarity with our soldiers. We are forever thankful for their sacrifice.

This meeting is one of my favourites. We didn’t do enough to earn the crest, but we did learn a lot. And that’s what I wanted.

Oh! If you haven’t read it already, I recommend How the Girl Guides Won the War by Janie Hampton.

Sleepover Themes

Next week is our Enrollment ceremony and, as you know, we’re Baking a Batch of Brownies. Since my typical post would be mostly redundant, I’m going to look ahead a couple of weeks to our Sleepover and what we’ll do.

About Themes:

  • I’m not against themes, but they are not my favourite thing.
  • They’re good to tie everything all together.
  • The Girls usually love them.
  • But you shouldn’t get too tied up in them – For camp, I recommend a general theme like “go camping” or “be outside”. You can go overboard on the planning around a theme and then feel disappointed when you don’t get to everything – or feel beholden to rush things along. The girls just want to play.

Sleepover Themes:

  • We’ve done Tent Camping inside. It is the best of camping – tents that you don’t have to hang to dry afterwards, a proper kitchen, flushing toilets and, best of all, NO BUGS or MUD.
  • Puppets – A nice chill crafty evening where the girls make stuff is a dream come true for me.
  • This year, they’ve chosen a Space Theme. Alberta Girl Guides Bright Ideas is always a good spot to start. As usual, Bright Ideas has us covered with a Space Camp plan.
  • Check out 5 things I learned organizing a sleepover for Sparks – the lessons translate well to Brownies too. (Although Brownies do not bring an adult – they’re bigger girls now)

What a typical Sleepover looks like (for our unit):

  • 6:30 Friday night arrival (after supper on a full tummy) – Big hug at the door and an arrival activity – colouring or game depending on your group.
  • 6:45 Program starts – we’ll draw on ideas based on the theme
  • Around 8:00-8:30 Program ends – Snack before bed and program closing. Also time to get their last questions answered.
  • 8:30-9 start setting up beds and getting into PJs. Encourage Library Voices (including Guiders). If you’re tired, you may go straight to bed.
  • 9:15-9:30 – Quiet Campfire with everyone in bed – no Aunt Huva’s Chickens here – we want On My Honour, and Taps.
  • 9:30 – Lights out but flashlights permitted. No more talking. A Guider reads a story. Girls may read their own book or listen to my story. But everyone is quiet.
  • 10PM hard stop lights out.
  • 6AM Saturday morning – girls will start waking up (actually, it’ll be the week after the time change, so probably 5AM with our luck). If Brown Owl isn’t up, you aren’t up. And don’t slam the bathroom door!!!
  • 6:30 – get up and get dressed. Pack up
  • 7:30 – Breakfast and final clean up. Instant oatmeal, yogurt and juice boxes.
  • 8:00 – Closing and everyone outside to play.
  • 8:30 Family pick up (our facility is needed by 9AM and the girls have their own activities like hockey and swimming to get to).

Anyway, I hope you have plans to get out with your Brownies this year. The Girls love it, and Guiders, you CAN do it.

Enrollment Rehearsal

We’re almost through the getting started meetings. Tuesday will be Code of Conduct and an enrollment rehearsal. (I’m really looking forward to after enrollment when we get to more hands on stuff with Experiment and Create).

  • Girls First Theme: Guiding together
  • Program Area: Our Story, Spirit of Guiding
  • What the girls will earn: Unit’s Own Spirit of Guiding, and Code of Conduct, Know your Code Activity


Here’s the plan:

6:30 – Arrival Activity. The girls make Enrollment invitations.  (supplies: printed sheets, markers and pencils)

6:40 – Brownie Circle Activities – Last week on Facebook I asked for ideas about what the girls should do in their circles. There were some great ideas and we’re going to try them.

  • Idea 1 – Give the circles a task – set up the toadstool, pick a song, choose a game… we need a fourth task.
  • Idea 2 – Record a good turn to share with the circle.

6:50 Brownie Ring

7:00 – Meeting Business – we need to decide on a theme for sleepover. I’m hoping for puppets, but we’ll offer other ideas – Space was proposed or another challenge – possibly even the Quebec Chocolate Challenge. We’ll vote with our feet again.

7:10 –  Code Of Conduct: Know Your Code activity. We did it last year and it worked to convey the message at their level.

7:25 – Game – we need to practice a game that a big group can play.

7:40 – Rehearse Enrollment

7:50 – Sing songs and close.

I predict that you’ll be seeing this for years to come… “The girls want to repeat the enrollment ceremony from last year. Look at the 2018 Meeting 3 – Enrollment Prep plan for details” of this year’s enrollment.

  • Girls First Program Area: Guide Together
  • Theme(s): Our Story
  • Activities to look up on the platform: We’ll give them Unit’s Own (these are ways to give girls credit for things that aren’t on the platform – remember to check the Show Previously Used box) and maybe Enrollment Ceremonies

6:30 – Arrival Game of the girls’ choosing (likely some sort of tag)

6:40 – Circle Groups for attendance – What do your girls do in their circles?

6:50 – Brownie ring.

7:00 Program – as in 2018

  •  First years go over new Brownie things (promise, law, motto, handshake, grand howl, reef knot) Unit‘s Own
  • Second years plan enrollment Enrollment Ceremonies

7:30 Game to work out the wiggles (Handshake Murder perhaps?)handhsake

7:40 Enrollment rehearsal – this will give the first years a glimpse of what will happen – and for the second years a chance to see their plan in action – and a chance to change elements as necessary.

7:55 – Campfire if there’s time and closing (Pick a game for next week)

This week’s meeting was our third. We divided into circle groups and learned about Brownie History and how it relates to where we are now.

  • Girls First – Guide Together – Our Story
  • Look for Brownie History Activity and Amount Mingle

6:30 – The girls chose Dr. Mixup and regular tag (they felt that with all the variations, Toilet, bandaid, freeze, chocolate, etc, that regular tag was getting lost. =)

6:40 – Circle Groups announced. We tend to get girls into circles by the third meeting. Check out the Brownie Circles activity in Girls First. For the first day, the circles will learn their new circle songs and take attendance.

6:50 – Brownie Ring

7:00 Program – We’re doing the Brownie History activity (Girls First platform – Guide Together – Our Story). Another day of stations – but since we’re in circles for the first time they learn to work together.

Together – Imagine you’re a time traveller – set the stage for how it was in 1920 and through history. Brownies are 100 years old!!!

Four stations with about 9 minutes each – it ran long so I’d say maximum 7 minutes with a 2 minute transfer.

7:05 -7:45

  • Station 1 – About Badges. (see Brownie History in Girls First)

Active Transfer – This was very successful last week. This time we called different Animal Moves to do between stations.

  • Station 2 – About Brownie Uniform (see Brownie History in Girls First)be538beb7c695440602819e7854127c0

Active Transfer

  • Station 3 – Learn an old skill – Semaphore. The girls each learned a letter and the Owls had to decipher it. I’d recommend that you leave lots of time for this. Or each group learns the same word.

Active Transfer

  • Station 4 – Cookie Selling (history and skills) Look up Amount Mingle on the Girls First Platform

7:50 – Semaphore Demonstration

7:55 -Close

It was another fun meeting. We changed the active transfer so the girls went directly to the next station to save time.



It is tough to make some meetings fun. We struggle with the talky meetings like the promise and law ones tend to be. We need to convey the message while still being fun. Brownies isn’t school.

  • Girls First: Guide Together – Our Story
  • Look for: The Brownie Promise Relay and The Brownie Law in Action activities. Also look for the Brownie Story (Needs a password – look for it under All About Guiding > All about Brownies.)

6:30 – Gathering game – Tag – whatever the first girl to arrive decided

6:40 – Directly into Brownie Ring (we’ll announce Circles next week)

6:55 – Program – Read the Brownie Story 

7:00 – Four Stations with an Active Transfer (they have something fun to do that gets them moving between each station). The Beans Game should make the wiggles less of a problem. We’ll put the girls into the 4 groups that we think will be the circle groups next week.

7:05 Station 1 – I promise – everyone gets a copy of the Promise – we go through what it means to make a promise. What happens if you don’t keep your promise?

7:10 Beans to transfer to the next station.

7:12 Station 2 – Motto and Law – talk about what the two mean. Read through a couple of times. Then do a word scramble – have all the words on cards and the girls will organize them.

7:17 Beans to transfer to the next station.

7:20 Station 3 – Action Station! Silliness. Do the Animal Game – everyone has to silently be an animal (starfish, elephant, gorilla, snake, crab, dog, cat, bumblebee) and then we’ll talk about games at Brownies. What kinds of games do you want to play? How do we lead a game?

7:25 Beans to transfer to the next station.

7:30 Station 4 – Enrollment – Girls will be told about three different Enrollment themes from Becky’s Guiding Centre (Girls First wants girls to have choices). The Guiders are prepared to make them work. The girls will pick. (I personally hope for Toadstool or baking brownies – I HATE sparkles so much – my Owl team promises we can do the Wishing one without sparkles).

  1. A new batch of Brownies – we did this last year. The second-year girls will “mix up” the ingredients that are needed to be Brownies. The new Brownies will go into the OVEN to bake. Hopefully things will work out that they come out as real Brownies! ada97734-885f-4906-9c85-d3daa9aaddc6-8499140616_1b60f42dfe_b
  2. We could make our wishes come true with a Wishing Star Enrollment. We’ll transform the gym into a cloud and star-filled sky. The second-year girls will take the new Brownies from their cloud over to the magic mirror where we’ll find out if they have the stuff to be real Brownies.
  3. Or we’ll act out the Brownie Toadstool story. Second year girls will Twist and Turn the first years to find out if they are real Brownies.

7:35 Beans to get everyone back to the big circle.

7:40 – Everyone back together for the BIG VOTE. Baking, vs Toadstool, vs Wishing Star. Also we need to decide on a game for next week. Girls will vote with their feet (Go to Snowy Owl if you want Wishing Star, Go to Brown Owl if you want Toadstool, or go to Tawny Owl if you want to Bake Brownies) – Abby can participate best in this sort of vote. Result – Tawny Owl was very popular and we are baking a new batch of Brownies. (Score – no sparkles!)

7:45 – Try out some of the games the groups came up with and pick the game options for next week (Dr. Mix Up and regular tag – because plain old tag felt left out of the myriad of other tags – toilet, chocolate, unicorn, bandaid, freeze…). Kids are funny.

7:50 – Our first campfire – Fire’s Burning, Black Socks, Ricky the Rock, Yogi Bear, Chinese Fan, and then Closings

7:55 Close.

Review – this was a great meeting. Talking was necessary, but there was movement to keep the wiggles at bay. The word scramble was fun – they liked it and it was achievable. It also helps that we’ve got a chill group of girls. I hope your meetings go well.

First meeting 2019

Have you started your year yet? Is this week your first meeting? We started last week with our getting to know you meeting.

Girls first program covered: Guide Together – some Our Story and some Spirit of Guiding

6:30 – Arrival Game while everyone gets checked in with health forms and parent goodbyes.

6:45 ish – first Brownie Circle of the year. Just the opening song and promise – say and sing a few times so new girls can hear it. Don’t worry though if you don’t know it, you will hear it a lot and will know it very soon.

Guider/Owl Intros and a few housekeeping things about our space.

7:00 – Intro game – My name is ___ and I like ___ (something with the same letter as your first name).  This is my friend __ and she likes ___. Girls do just the one following, but Brown Owl has to say everyone.

7:15 – Stand up and do a walking tour of the school – where are the bathrooms. Do buddy up (everyone gets a buddy and is assigned a number – when we go places, the Guider yells Buddy up, and the groups yell out their number in order — unless someone is missing)

7:25 – What’s your favourite? Mixer game/activity.

Leaders shout out questions. Girls have to find others with the same answer to get into groups. Must keep searching until everyone has a group. Each group will say their names and their common answer.

  1. Favourite season
  2. Favourite colour
  3. Favourite food
  4. Favourite animal
  5. Favourite sport

7:40 – What do you want to be called and what do you want to do at Brownies this year?  Abby is back this year (she’s nonverbal and needs assistance) so we had some collage bits specifically with her in mind, but some for everyone. She was able to convey her message.


7:50 – Demonstrate closing – and then close. It worked well. Our group is pretty chill.

Happy new year!

Neighbourhood camp was this past weekend and we did a craftscravaganza that was targeted at all levels (Sparks, Brownies and Guides). A popular activity was the Lucet Station. Crafts fall in the Experiment and Create and How to sections of Girls First.

Check out this 2012 post about Teaching Girls To Knit for other ideas.

How to make a DIY Lucet.

Lucet knitting is like finger knitting but you can put it down. Do a search on Pinterest for videos and instructions. This one from Stitch Diva Studios does an excellent job explaining it.