Meetings · Posts

Science Investigator Badge

As I promised last year when I started this blog, uni would take over my life and I would neglect it. I’m hoping to make up for it with a lot of posts tonight but no promises!

In November I ran the science investigator badge for 12 of the girls. This post may become redundant with the new programme incoming but oh well, I’m writing it anyway.

Because I am currently not in the same room as my badge plans, I’m doing this from memory but shall try to do it as well as possible. Most of my meetings filled an hour, as we spent half an hour singing ready for our visit to the care home for Christmas.

Week 1: Spaghetti and Marshmallow towers (Easy, cheap, and the girls loved them!), and then we made cress in yogurt pots. It was easier to transport than eggshells, and I don’t even like eggs. The effect wasn’t as good but the girls seemed happy decorating the pots with tissue paper and feathers. Overall, it was a good night.

Week 2: Slime. Need I say more? I only planned to do this badge so they could make slime, as they’ve been asking for ages. It took 5 attempts to get a working recipe, but I promised slime so I wasn’t going to give up. Eventually I determined the optimum recipe was PVA glue, a small amount of bicarbonate of soda (out of date works fine!) and slowly adding contact lens solution until it comes away from the sides of the pot. Food colouring can be added if you want to make it colourful, I’m sure glitter or other things could be too. They absolutely loved it! Was definitely worth the utter stress to see them enjoying their slime. Suddenly they weren’t so bored with the idea of doing science!

Week 3: Space. I needed a filler week, so we made straw rockets (template, you put a piece of a big straw on the back, and then put a smaller straw in it and blow. Relays down the hall is great fun!) The small straws were normal ones, I may have borrowed 6 wider straws from McDonalds for the big back ones and cut them in half. I looked very sad eating alone with a large amount of straws! We also did a space quiz, because space is cool, and I also made it about famous people who did things with space. A lot of the girls thought Louis Armstrong went to the moon!!

Week 4: Indicators. We made red cabbage indicators (I nicked the flat’s kettle, and hoped they wouldn’t want a cup of tea for a couple of hours, oh the woes of a student house), and tested loads of things for acid and alkali. Each girl had a different thing to add to the solution, such as lemon juice, soap, berocca, washing up liquid, coke, vinegar, laundry powder, fabric conditioner, and a couple of other things I found in the house. They absolutely loved seeing the colour change, and I like to think I taught them a bit about acids being sharp and alkalis being soapy. It was a really great activity and I’m glad they enjoyed the badge. Below is my experiment at home before I decided to do the indicator – if there’s one thing I know about science its that you need to make sure it works before you try to impress people!


Meetings · Posts

First week back

What a strange week it was. Started off with paperwork for our five new girls getting all mixed up and a very confused mess trying to find whose was whose (stupid GO for putting the girls names on them instead of leaving them blank – but that’s a rant for another day) and then we went into the hall. After some long winded introductions and tangents about who did what in the holidays, we sat down to make some ‘helping hands.’

The girls drew around their hand, cut it out and coloured it in, then wrote on each finger a different thing that they could do to lend a hand. In the palm they wrote ‘XXXX’s Helping Hand’ and stuck it up on the wall. It was a very simple activity but helped to teach the new girls about the Brownie Guide Law. The girls then tidied away?????????!!!!!!!!! and played games for the rest of the night, until it was time to go home and sing the birthday song four times.

It was a good meeting to start off on, but very very very strange that they were so helpful tidying up. Shame they couldn’t be as well behaved in the circle, but I’ll take what I can get!!

Meetings · Posts

Badge planning

I am either brave or insane. A couple of brownies mentioned to me last term that they wanted to make slime, so I’m running with it and doing the science investigators badge! I have four weeks planned (as, like the craft badge I did, we’re running it alongside the cook’s badge with the girls who are soon to leave having the choice which one they do.)

Luckily we haven’t gone back yet (start next week, when I’m back in uni because, as second leader, they kind of need me with the other one off sick) which means I’m able to leave my planning so late. We also have two weeks of settling back in and getting the new girls involved with promise activities etc.

I haven’t planned it into separate weeks yet, but the gist is fingerprinting, lemon juice invisible ink, making red cabbage indicators, spaghetti and marshmallow towers, keeping malteasers up by blowing them through a straw, chromatography, lava lamps, cress heads, making up plays about famous scientists (idea stolen from and of course, slime.

My next job is to actually do some of them to make sure they work and to see how long they take so I can plan it in individual weeks. Which means, I’m going to town with a very strange shopping list, of aldi BLUE laundry detergent, red cabbage, coffee filters or similar, effervescent tablets and many other things. I’m also seeing my friends in town, so who knows what they’ll think of my list of things to buy. I feel like only fellow guiders will understand the strange things we buy in the name of guiding.

Obviously I’ll post as I do the activities with info about how they went, and all of our other brownie meetings, but until then,

Yours in guiding,


Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Dream Catchers

How this took them an hour and a half I do not know, but this is the craft we did to finish off their craft badge. 

It required a paper plate which I cut the insides out of and hole punched beforehand (it took me quite a while so the brownies would’ve taken ages) and the girls then decorated it, some took 45 minutes on this and I wish I was exaggerating. Nevertheless we ploughed on, attaching the feathers with simple knots in 3x 15-20cm lengths of wool. Another length of wool that size was used to make a hanging loop. 

Then the fun began. I cut 150cm (approximately, I was using my arm as a measuring device), lengths of wool and told them to weave it through, adding beads if they wanted to. This is apparently impossible and none of them could do it because they were all bored and gave up, but eventually we got there and, once they had tasted the food the girls doing the cooks badge had made, we were ready to leave, only 15 minutes late! (I didn’t get home until 8.50 that night, oops) 

Overall, the craft was super cute, and it looked really good, the brownies were so excited until I told them that I wouldn’t be doing it for them. They still enjoyed it though and it was good fun had by all. 

Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Salt Dough Part II

After a week of air drying the Salt Dough in my student bedroom, resulting in zero space for me and limited drying due to the position of my window, I put some in the oven on Tuesday night when I realised they wouldn’t be done in time. THIS WAS A DREADFUL IDEA. Idiot owl (what I should actually be called) used SR flour and forgot that the wet bits of the beads would rise but the dry bits wouldn’t, causing a very strange shape and colour. Even better, some of the holes sealed over.

Nevertheless, I powered on and after several “I can’t do it”s and a very frustrated leader later, we had a vague approximation of bracelets and necklaces. All that was left to do then was to try to clear up and get them sat down ready for a miracle – achieving a craft in half an hour.

Now, this week I had great plans. Luckily (in hindsight with regards to fitting everything into a meeting, not at the time), I had an absolutely hideous exam on Monday, so decided to do my time consuming prep work next week to maximise revision time and came up with a quick solution, sun catchers. My inspiration for this filled me with hope, and I thought about making a simple version that took half of the effort. I whipped up a prototype in five minutes, which definitely looks like a prototype, but it was good enough to give the girls an idea of what to do. In my defence, I had lost my glue and tape so had to use washi tape, and literally threw the paper on in any random pattern. Its exam season, okay?

Photo 17-05-2017, 20 53 37

So. After telling the girls to draw a shape on folded in half black card with a smaller shape inside it, I then got them to cut it out. Letter openers are the best way to stab a hole in the middle bit so they can cut it out. I was given one by my old Owlet after finding they were a great way to punch holes in yogurt pots, card, anything, and it was the first item in my guiding arsenal.

When half of them had successfully made 2 outlines, I let them loose with the tissue paper and tried to fix the others. Eventually (after telling them to hurry up, there’s only 5 mins left, shut up, if you don’t finish this you wont get your badge, shush, get a move on, please listen), we glued the second black outline on to the first, sandwiching the tissue paper between them and added a handle out of tissue paper. At 25 to 8 we finished Brownie Bells and they all left, only 5 minutes late.

Overall verdict: It’s my fault that the salt dough was such a time consuming disaster because I well and truly ruined it, but the girls did a great job considering, I just wish they would have more confidence and not say they can’t do it before they even start. The sun catchers only took half an hour which is amazing and I’m very happy with how well it went. They are definitely a good filler craft and are very cheap and easy to do, but the girls liked it and were happy with how they turned out.

Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Successful Salt Dough?????

Yes, you heard right. This salt dough was not actually too painful. For week two of the craft badge, I decided to attempt the clause ‘Make two matching items of jewellery from home-made beads or pendants.’ and my stupid brain decided that the messiest craft ever would be fab.

Fast forward two weeks, and I’m posting on the brownie support facebook group asking for advice because it is the day of salt dough and I’m scared. Having bought the salt and the flour, but forgetting the food colouring, bowls, baking paper and straws, I had to make another shopping trip (instead of revising for next week’s exams, what a shame), and then I spent the rest of the afternoon weighing out ingredients. I gave each group of four two bowls with 200g SR flour and 100g salt in each. once they’d got the bags open and mixed the powders, I added the water to prevent any disasters and also the food colouring (saves having to paint them if they’re pre-coloured.)

Pro-tip here: use liquid food colouring here not the gel tube things, it doesn’t stretch as far and the colours are a lot less bright.

They then shaped the dough into beads, and after being bored of making beads, many just made random shapes. at 7.35 after telling them to pack up for about 20 minutes and them making ‘just one more bead’, we finally got to brownie bells and once they’d gone the sweeping began. I would definitely recommend keeping it as far away from carpet as possible, but eventually we got there. The beads are now air drying on my desk because I’m too tired to cook them, but I can’t complain at all seeing as the evening went a lot better than I expected.

Photo 10-05-2017, 20 01 27

If you decide to try salt dough, then I have some advice. Measure out quantities beforehand because it takes too long, DON’T use gel food colour, definitely DON’T use poster paint to colour the dough (I experimented before brownies, the colour was rubbish and the dough too liquidy), and have a hand washing bowl in the hall, bonus points if there is a towel as well so they can dry their hands. (Yes I forgot all about this.) Also make sure you have some way of transporting them home, a baking tray or ten is ideal for this purpose.

Overall, mess factor was lower than expected, stress was lower than expected and I think the girls really liked it! I’m still undecided on if I will cook it or not, but I’ll see how it goes over the next day or so.

Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Bookworm bookmarks!

This is a nice easy craft to start off the craft badge. Or so you would think. On the whole, it worked really well and was easy for the girls to do, but not so much for the chatty table. 

It took from about 20 minutes for the quick ones to an hour for the really chatty girls to do, but they didn’t find any of it particularly difficult, although I had to do the ribbons. They had different choices of background card and they all did the stripes differently so each one was unique. 

The girls that were finished quickly played Fishes, and also the game where you sit on eachother, which for some reason, they seem to love. Overall it was a good meeting despite my paranoia that it’d be a disaster and everyone would know how incompetent a leader I am. 7/10 would do again but would factor in timings a bit better. 

Template can be obtained here: Bookworm bookmark