Archive for the ‘Songs & Games’ Category

Last summer I did a post on String Games and other independent things kids can do at camp.  I like planning crafts and doing things together, but making sure that the girls can play independently (without electronics) is just as big a deal.

I’ve got a few more:

  • Test out the perfect “high five”.  Starry Owl showed us that if you’re looking to do the perfect “high five”, look at the other person’s elbow and you’ll never miss. We filled a bit of waiting time trying to disprove it… something to keep in your back pocket for a time filler.  Not quite an independent project, but fun.
  • Make a Spinner!  These are fascinating and really easy to make.  You need string and a two-hole button (or sturdy cardboard cut into circles or squares with two holes poked in the middle).

    2013-07-01 10.52.35 String Spinner Game

    From a book at Mom’s house – I’ll update with proper credit next time I’m home.

  • Make an origami jumping frog (or buy a bunch of plastic frogs from the birthday party section) and have a jumping contest.

  • Similarly, a leaf blowing contest is great too – rip up paper to resemble a leaf, and have the girls blow it across the floor.  (Works for Key to the Living World: Plant Life and Weather Watcher)
    2013-04-09 19.43.15 leaf blowing

How is your summer going?  I’m still not good at “Brownie Free Tuesdays”, but I’ll get there.  I hope.

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Time to catch up on on all of the things I meant to do the last couple of months.  The first in line is to explain H2O tag.  We’ve mentioned it a few times and many have asked.  Here you go…

Snowy Owl made up a game called H2O Tag for Key to the Living World: Water All Around.  It requires a bit of an explanation (about elements and science) and goes pretty quickly, but the girls like it.


  • Pre-made cards, sticky labels or cutouts with enough H, and O shapes for one per girl.  (if you have 18 girls, you’ll need 12 H, and 6 O shapes or labels – an odd number will need a Guider or two to join the game – multiples of three are essential).
  • Safety pins or tape to pin or stick the letters or numbers to the girls shirts.
  • prepare something to do that will get the girls mixed up.
  • Whistle or other signal that it is time to make water molecules (maybe music)

Game Setup/Explain the science:

The DC Water and Sewer Commission has a good site about explaining the water cycle to kids – they say:

A water molecule is called “H2O”   It’s made of 2 hydrogen atoms (H + H) and one oxygen atom (O). H2O can be a VAPOR (a gas in the air), a LIQUID (what we usually think of as water or a SOLID (ice).

Then, play the game:

The girls each have an “H” or an “O”.  They are spread around the gym doing another task (examples: play tag, free dance to music, a game of beans or anything that gets them mixed up).  When the whistle blows (or the music stops) they have to make teams with two H shapes and one O shape.  That’s it.

The DC Water and Sewer site also has a really good maze puzzle for kids that goes through the water cycle that I think we’ll print next time we do this Key.

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Ever have a week where you look up and it’s almost Tuesday again (or whatever night your unit meets) and you’re not prepared?  We’ve been pretty good about putting together meeting plans – but for some reason, last night’s plan was pretty sketchy.

hearts game 2013-02-12 20.01.09

Snowy Owl setting up the Stack the Hearts Game

With the power of the internet and www.Activity Village.co.uk, Snowy Owl Christine turned our vague notes (ditty bags, and maybe Valentine’s Day??) into a pretty awesome meeting.

6:30 Arrival ActivityValentine’s Day Grid activities from Activity Village  HEART Puzzle …  Solution  LOVE PuzzleSolution.  These were very well liked.     Explained it to the first arrivals – then they were to show the next girls to arrive how to do it.  And then those girls were to show the girls after that.  Worked really well.

6:45 – Brownie Circles – TASK in Circles – talk about what you’d like to do and eat at camp – in addition to regular circle activities.

6:55 – Brownie Ring

7:00 – Program

  • Camp Discussion – what to eat & do?  Talk about what you do at camp and then what you eat at camp.
  • Discussion about Ditty Bags (Leader needs kit lists and show and tell about Ditty Bags).  We need three or four kits – with regular Ditty Bag stuff with some ringer items (non-marked plate, small toy, ceramic mug, empty pill bottle, hair comb)
  • Ditty Bag Relay (from Ditty Bag post)hearts 2013-02-12 20.04.37

7:20 – Craft Origami heart from Activity Village.  Simple paper folding.  Cute.

7:35 –Game

7:45 – Campfire

7:55 Close

Snowy Owl told me she misses being involved in writing up the plans… and last night proved that she’s great at it.

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I participated in a Guider Training on Saturday and one of the sessions was on Music and Dance.  So. Much. Fun.  Thank you to Peggy and Lynn for leading it!  I am really looking forward to trying something other than the eight songs currently in our repertoire.

  • My big takeaway was an intro to Melinda Caroll – an American (I think) musician with a series of Girl Scout CDs, all available on iTunes.  You can buy whole albums (they come with two versions of each song – the sung version so you learn the words – and a karaoke version with just the music) or just the songs you want.  You can also listen to the preview of the song to get gist of the tune too.

    Melinda Caroll – Music for Girl Scouts

  • Ottawa has a fantastic music resource team (Peggy and Lynn are awesome!!!).  Consider inviting them to your unit to lead a music meeting … but you need to book them early.  So cool!  E-mail me at brownowlcara at gmail dot com and I’ll connect you to them.
  • Song List: Thinking Day Song (Songs for Tomorrow), Listen to the earth (Celebrate with Song), Dona Nobis Pacem (Songs for Canadian Girl Guides) (LOVE this one – I learned it in Church, but it means “Give us Peace” in Latin so it is completely relevant to Guiding and non-denominational too!), Lend a Hand (Sing a Song with Sparks and Brownies), Sarrasponda (Let’s Sing New Zealand), If you should meet an elephant (Sing a Song with Sparks and Brownies), Jubilee Hey (Canciones de Nuestra Cabaña), Merry Go Round (Musical Fun), Lu La Le (Jubilee Song Book), and Taps (French).  You can also look these up on Becky’s Song Resource and on BC Girl Guides.

Since we’re talking about where to learn songs…

  • I like the CD “Sing-a-long for Sparks and Brownies” from Guides Ontario (go to the Click here to submit your order link and find the CD name).  It is a teaching CD – not a listening one (e.g. the Brownie song is sung once, then line-by-line, then all together.)  Perfect for a new Guider!
  • I wrote a piece about Sung Graces and Thank Yous (Christian and non-denominational) that you may find useful.  Susan Witchers’ site is great (and includes tunes!)

Big thank you to the folks who ran the January Thaw Guider Training!  I did three sessions – one on Games for Brownies & Sparks, the music and dance session, and then Safe Guide (I really recommend a refresher if you haven’t taken it in a while).

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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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