Sunday, 30 November 2008

Where's Wally, and Jelly babies

I was correctly identified as being in the back row of the picture, well done J!

And I have permission to publish the whole of the Jelly Baby Evening from the very talented Smartie, the Guider who created it.

Jelly Babies Evening (you need loads of Jelly Babies, cocktail sticks, paper and pens, 11 cards with JELLYBABIES in separate letters for each group, a ruler to measure the towers)

Begin by asking the girls how old they think jelly babies are. Tell them original name was peace babies, and were produced at the end of WWI. See if any of the girls know when that is. Had to stop during the Second World War – ask them why that might be. Explain a little about rationing and how it affected everyone. Reborn as Jelly Babies in 1953 (explain rationing didn’t stop as soon as war was over).
How many jelly babies do they think are made in a year? Answer is – Over 1 billion!!

Jelly Babies Packaging Quiz
Sit in Sixes. Bags of jelly babies are in centre of room. Read out questions, have to take it in turns to go and find out the answer – only one can go to the middle at a time.

  1. How many grams of jelly babies are in the packet?

  2. What colour are the words ‘jelly babies’ on the front of the packet?

  3. How many different baby shapes are there?

  4. What is the best before date on the jelly babies?

  5. What are the last 4 digits of the bar code?

  6. How many calories per 100g?

  7. Name three ingredients within the jelly babies

  8. What are the ‘storage instructions’?

  9. What five colours are the jelly babies on the packet?

  10. Who are they ‘specially made for’? (Half-Baked Guider note - We couldn't find the answer to this on the bags or box of Jelly Babies)

Design your own jelly baby
In sixes, you have been summoned by the Sweetie Company who wants to make a new jelly baby! In your groups you must design how this jelly baby is going to look, and what flavour it will be. Make sure you give it a name too! (All the different colours have different names! – Brilliant, Bubbles, Boofuls, Bigheart, Bumper and Bonny) Make sure you give them a personality too!! You have a short time to design this Jelly baby, and then you must present it to everyone else!

Jelly Babies are Active Game!
Jelly Babies love to have fun! They Like Skateboarding, Play in the Jelly Baby Band, and because they are babies they have to have lots of naps!
Girls run around. Leaders shout one of these messages and girls do appropriate action. Last one left wins, as slowest is out – or if they do the wrong action they are also out!
Skateboarding – Stand on one leg, pretend to be skateboarding!
Band Practise – play air guitar!
Nap time – Lie on floor
Hungry belly – sit on floor and pretend to feed yourself!
Playtime in 2/3/4’s – have to get together in groups of number called out.

Jelly Babies Spelling out Quiz
Each six is given a set of card pieces, each card containing one letter, so they have the set J, E, L, L, Y, B, A, B, I, E, S. Read out statement, and girls have to stand up and spell out the answer (give further clues if necessary)

  1. Something wobbly to eat with ice cream – JELLY

  2. What you tell when you aren’t being truthful – LIES

  3. Something you need to play tennis or footie with - BALL

  4. Where you may go if you break the law – JAIL

  5. Something that rings – BELL

  6. When shops sell things cheaper – SALE

  7. What you have on the inside of your clothes, tells you washing instructions and stuff – LABEL

  8. A loud shout – YELL

  9. If it isn’t difficult then it is – EASY

  10. Another word for a beach or sandy cove – BAY

  11. Part of your body where you have a button – BELLY

  12. Part of a boat – SAIL

  13. What hay is grouped together to make – BALE

  14. Stripy insect that makes honey – BEE

  15. A very young child – BABY

Jelly Babies Tower
Each six is given some jelly babies and some cocktail sticks and they need to see how tall a tower they can make! (make sure to explain how to be safe with cocktail sticks)

Finally…. Eat some Jelly Babies

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Can you pick me out of a line up?

A pic of me and the other women in my county who got a Guiding award recently. In the spirit of Where's Wally, Where's Guider?
(Jen is excluded from this as she's been in my house so if she doesn't know what I look like that makes her a burglar)

Friday, 28 November 2008

Fitting it in

Anon looked at our programme for next term and asked: "How do you fit everything in for badges in such short time?!? Brownie skills in two nights, right to be heard in one night and brownie traditions in one night? We don't get through anywhere near as many badges as your unit seems to - more like one per half term, or even per term. As it takes a few weeks to fit it all in."

We fit it in because we don't do the whole badge, so a girl only completes the badge if she wants to.

Brownie Skills for example, we'll do two clauses one night, two clauses the next then if the girls want to finish the badge, they have to do another clause at home and bring the proof.

Brownie Traditions we are actually doing over two nights, one before half term and one after. There are 5 different things to do for that, so again we'll do two one night, two another and have them do one at home if they want to finish it, probably the scrapbook clause.

Right to Be Heard - whenever I do a Rights badge, they always have to go the extra mile before I'll award it. We've actually done this one before, just over three years ago when it first came out. We spend half the night on an Ignite Minds activity, then the other half on Encourage Thought and Discovery. Then they are set a challenge for Take Action and Make a Difference. With Right to Be Heard last time, that was to write to their MP about an issue that mattered to them (we supplied them with his address and pre-warned him!) and they were only awarded the badge on bringing in their reply from him.

The only activity we have planned for next term that I think we have under-estimated the time for is Changing the World, I suspect we will need 3 or 4 nights for that, so we have deliberately scheduled a Sports Night so it can be easily bumped and we can go into the next term if necessary.

Hope that helps!

Thursday, 27 November 2008


Undaunted, I have today provisionally booked an event for the end of January and a sleepover for mid June.

The school can take me on but they will never break me!

More details after a proper planning meeting with the other Guiders tomorrow night.

Jelly babies rule!

I just did a jelly baby evening tonight with my girls, it was great fun!

It was invented by a really smart Guider who came up with info about when they were invented (1919, and they were called Peace Babies which also gets the girls talking about war, and rationing because they stopped making them from 1939 till 1953 when sweet rationing stopped and they were renamed Jelly Babies then), a packaging information quiz, design a new jelly baby, a word game using the letters in JELLY BABIES, an activity game doing jelly baby type actions and a game where you build the tallest tower you can with jelly babies and cocktail sticks.
It really was excellent team-building without the girls realising that's what they were doing!

  • The difference in heights of the towers ranged from 44cm down to a hasty 8cm after a tower collapsed!

  • The team who kept spelling their words backwards because they worked it out facing away from everyone else then spun round meaning BALL became LLAB etc.

  • Brownies hurtling themselves to the floor for Baby nap time

  • The new Jelly Babies as designed by the girls, particularly B-Active, a star-jumping jelly baby, and Baby Snow, a minty flavoured snowman jelly baby.

A great evening - and so low cost, there were 4 bags of Jelly Babies bought BOGOF from Tesco and a large box as well to let them each have a few to take home (also one Guider made some shortbread for the 2 vegetarians since there's gelatin in jelly babies), some printing out of letters and that was it.

Our district commissioner was visiting and she took the print out and bags of letters away so she could do it with her own unit!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


Just had a meeting with the other Guiders and this is what we hope to do Jan-Easter, as long as our phone calls over the next couple of days pan out:
Weeks 1 & 2 - Brownie Skills
Week 3 - Chinese New Year
Sunday between Week 3 and 4, visit Build a Bear to create a unit mascot and surprise the girls by telling them we'll also be letting them make a bear each!
Week 4 - Teddy Bears Picnic using the bears they made
Week 5 - Right to Be Heard
Week 6 - Thinking
Day/Brownie Traditions
Week 7 - Half term so no meeting
Division Thinking Day event one of the days of the weekend in between Weeks 7 and 8.
Week 8 - Brownie Traditions
Week 9 - World Book Day so we're hoping to go to the library, dressed as favourite characters
Weeks 10 & 11 - Changing the World - British Red Cross
Week 12 - Sports Night

There's community action, there's personal development (skills and also books), there's world stuff (China and Changing the World), there's individual growth (Right to Be Heard), small group growth (sports night), large group growth (changing the world, Brownie Traditions). So it's a balanced programme. We're spending big on the teddies and there will be a donation to the Red Cross and to the Division Thinking Day cause but other than that, fairly low cost term.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Specifically scientific

The Brownies had their sleepover at the Science Museum in London this weekend.

They had a fantastic time - experiments and fun and all sorts, a small amount of sleeping (not down to them, down to another Brownie pack nearby who eventually got shouted at by Notsonewbie Guider), an IMAX film and then home on the train.

The girls sang happy birthday to my daughter as well, even though it was the day before.

She had a blast - and I'm thrilled she's had at least one Guiding experience without me!

While the Brownies were in London, I was in Birmingham. Watching the fantastic Mr Leonard Cohen. Words can't express how amazing he was - and including a break, he performed for over three hours! Well worth missing the Science Museum for - plus I got to sleep in my own comfortable, warm, bed!

Saturday, 22 November 2008


  • Wales is looking like it will happen, just sorting a few things out then I will tell all.
  • A newbie Guider has appeared, which is great since one of our team is emigrating soon and another one moving down south any time in the next six months. I confess I was starting to panic a bit about how we were going to manage 24 girls with 2 leaders, a parent rota can keep the ratios correct but it is really better to be able to share the work among 3 or 4 committed adults. Just need to get her CRBed now and she can get started
  • Gutted

    Remember I was planning a Brownie holiday with another pack next Easter?

    Looks appealing, right?

    We have three that want to go. One is my daughter. One is Notsonewbie Guider's daughter. And one is another Brownie whose dad used to help us. And that's it. We could have taken 10 girls but only 3 want to go.

    It's the first time I have ever proposed a trip or weekend away and not been inundated with girls wanting to go.

    Why so few? Simple answer - school.

    The Year 5 residential in May is nearly £300 for four nights. So my daughter's not going, and about half the class aren't going either.

    That's why I found the weekend away with the Lancashire Brownies in Wales for the Easter Weekend, £60 for three nights, 10 places. After sending out the letter, I discovered the school has decided they will also do a Year 4 residential for the first time.

    Three weeks after the Brownie one. Two nights, £160.

    The vast majority of our Brownies are Year 4 at the school and the parents are sending them there despite it being £100 more and one night less, because the girls want to be with their class.

    So I feel like the school has hit me twice - once by making my daughter's residential so expensive we cannot justify her going and twice by luring my Brownies away from my replacement idea.

    The Lancashire Brownies have replied to my email filling them in by saying they still want us, but I wouldn't blame them if they tried to find a unit that could supply more girls. We'll have to see how it pans out.


    Sunday, 16 November 2008

    Sing song

    Our girls sang for the local old folks home tonight.

    They were fab. I was very proud.

    And we rewarded them with chips on the way back. Because that ALWAYS goes down well.

    Amended to answer questions!
    Yes, Jen, I think the girls did enjoy it, for many of them it was the first time they had been in a home so we had some questions to answer there, but they did try hard and they could see that most of the residents were enjoying it and singing along when they knew the songs. There was one woman up the back who insisted on reading her magazine instead but I thought that was quite funny, you can't make me want to listen to these kids just because they are here!

    TopChamp, we sang Daisy Daisy, which went down very well so we sang that again at the end, Cuddly Koalas, Jingle Bells, We wish you a merry Christmas (these last two because we were struggling to find songs the girls knew that the old folks would too), London's Burning (as a round), My Ship Sailed From China, the Bumble Bee song, If you're happy and you know it and there was a couple more. We were there about 30 mins, and they sang for about 15-20 mins. With only one week's practice, for a group that don't sing often, that was pretty good!


    I got an award today. From the Girlguiding Midlands Region Chief Commissioner, Lesley Knighton, for services to local Guiding.

    In Guiding in the UK, all the Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Ranger units in a small area are gathered together into a District (we have 3 Rainbow, 4 Brownie, 3 Guide units in our district and hopefully a Ranger unit opening soon).
    All the Districts in a certain area are gathered into a Division (we have 5 Districts in our division). All the Divisions within one County are gathered together under the name of that County.

    Then Counties are gathered together into a Region, our Region has nine Counties in it.
    So, I was one of 2 people from my District to get the award, coincidentally we were also the only 2 from our Division. There were 11 from our County though.
    It was very cool, made me feel very appreciated. And very young, unusual at 37, as many of the recipients had been Guiding longer than I have been alive!
    The award was a certificate, and a lovely little silver brooch of the central trefoil, above. I can wear it on my badge tab and show off!

    Thursday, 6 November 2008


    This weekend, we shall be looking for Nemo! There will be 36 of us - 22 Brownies, 3 leaders, 2 Rainbows, 2 Guides, 6 parents and 1 Division Commissioner.

    With 36 of us looking, we've surely got to be able to find that little fish!

    Tuesday, 4 November 2008

    Planning and plotting

    My letter going out to parents at the next Brownie meeting - so, would you send your daughter?

    XX Brownies first ever pack holiday and it’s in another country! Ok it’s Wales but that’s practically abroad!

    Our Brownies have been given the chance to join a unit of Lancashire Brownies at a pack holiday venue in Wales, over XX weekend.

    The four day, three night holiday will run from Friday XX to Monday XX and will cost £60 for accommodation, travel, food and activities.

    We will be travelling in two Guider cars so can take a maximum of 10 girls on the adventure.

    The holiday is open to any girl who has been on at least a sleepover with Brownies already and has behaved herself satisfactorily. If more than 10 apply, priority will be in descending order of age.

    Please bear in mind that we will be more than three hours from home, so girls must feel comfortable being away. They will also be expected to help cook and keep their dorm tidy.

    Depending on our own family commitments, we may run something small scale and locally during the summer term, but otherwise this is our big Brownie residential event between now and autumn 2009, as there doesn’t appear to be a county camp next summer.
    We’ve never done an old-fashioned proper pack holiday so we’re quite excited!

    If you wish to put your daughter’s name down for the holiday, please return the slip below on November 20th with a deposit of £20 (note who the cheque should be payable to).
    If she does not make the list of 10 girls, the cheque will be returned without being cashed. The deposit is not otherwise returnable as we have to pay the Lancashire Brownies for our places now.
    The next £20 will be due at our first meeting in January 2009 and the last £20 at our first meeting in March 2009.
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