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Help Needed with Filler Activities....

BigBlueCanoe

Beginner (10+ posts)
#1
I’m looking to restructure our Brownie meetings in the Autumn term and the start in particular (we suffer from drift at the moment!) and I was hoping that you might be able to provide some ideas of quick, standalone, constructive fillers that require minimal kit and have simple instructions….

At the moment at the start of meetings I deal with the parents/register/subs etc. whilst the girls are involved in some sort of game by my Unit Helper. However I know that my Unit Helper is desperately trying to bow out gracefully but when I was left in the lurch on my own last year by the previous leader she felt she couldn’t sidle out as she had so very very nearly succeeded in doing and she is now with me pretty much every week – and whilst having her around is handy it isn’t the best solution for either her or the girls. I’m also finding these games are starting to drift and if I’m not careful start taking up far more of the meeting time than they should. Not only that but I’ve had feedback from the older girls that the games they play are in their words ‘Boring because we always play the same ones!’ so they are a bit reluctant to join in. I also struggle to fit in pre-promise work with new Brownies so often end up doing this as a group activity (Which is fine when we have an large influx of girls but when it’s one or two it makes the rest of the meeting a bit disjointed and clunky… Hence the need for a restructure....

So… what I want to do is tighten up the start of the meeting, give the Sixers more responsibility and get them to help more with Promise preparation with new girls, move the game to the end of the meeting when, if everything has been tidied up and put away (So I’m not left to do it all on my own), the girls can choose from a selection of new games and old favourites. We would then start every ‘home based’ meeting with two or three different stations which the girls can choose from for 10-15 minutes whilst I deal with parents:

So ideally at the start we’d have :
  • An active station – with a box of skipping ropes, bats, shuttlecocks, balls etc. for those who want to run around and expend energy. If my unit helper is not around the girls are happy to entertain themselves for ten minutes so I know this bit will work.
  • A Promise station – so that Sixers can help new girls in their six learn about their promise. They’re up for more responsibility so this bit should work if I give them the appropriate materials
  • A filler station with standalone constructive activities that those who don’t want to run around can do their own for 10 minutes or so. I had thought of phrasing it like a challenge so ‘Can you make an origami frog?’ ‘Can you tie a bowline?’ type of thing. With a final example so that they can see what they should end up with.
  • We’d then start the meeting proper bang on the dot of 5.45pm and actually get through things… I appreciate that there are sayings about best laid plans but a girl can dream can’t she!

Anyway, I’m hoping that the new programme and possibly the skills builders might help with the filler station but in the meantime if anyone has any ideas for quick constructive fillers that require minimal kit and have simple instructions that they’d care to share that would be marvellous.

Thanks in advance.
Blue
 

ker-stee

SGP Enthusiast
GuiderPlus
#2
My starters aren't that structured. We put all the balls/skipping ropes etc out for them to play with, and it's either that or they entertain themselves until Brownie circle!
 

Kochanski

Veteran (100+ posts)
#3
We have a rota for the duty six to do lots of setting up and the others have an activity to do lead by sixers. Sometimes it's do page x of your Adventures book. Or there's a printed puzzle on a theme. Or a challenge to prepare. I have a file full of starter activities - my main issue is getting the girls there on time. We have some very lax parents and gentle nags only have a short-lived effect. Sometimes I give stickers (we have a six point chart to earn prizes) to those there on time but it isn't really the girls' fault.
 

kingfisherblue

Veteran (100+ posts)
#4
We have a number of Brainbox games, which are very popular as a starter activity. Aldi sometimes sell them for £5.99, but usually they are £9.99. We use them for other things as well though - the Animals one was great for identifying some endangered species and learning about them.

Other times we have word searches or other printed puzzles, relating to the theme of the evening. Sometimes it's a page from a doodle style colouring book.

Older girls who are there on time can start singing - it's easy for other to join in as they arrive.
 

BigBlueCanoe

Beginner (10+ posts)
#5
Thanks everyone, those Brian Box activity packs look perfect!

Ordinarily I wouldn’t be so structured but I have one girl who in her words ‘Doesn’t really do running’ and can be really high maintenance if left to her own devices and I’ve also had one or two new girls recently join us who find the ‘mayhem’ at the start a bit overwhelming so…

B.
 

Batty Owl

Veteran (100+ posts)
#6
We did a term where the girls had to solve a code before being allowed in the main hall. Some simple like shifting the first letter to the end (hiftings het irstf etterl) or writing the message backwards,( sdrawkcab egassem) some letter or number transpositions. The girls enjoyed them and older often helped the younger ones where needed
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#7
Would it be possible for you to put the girls first? For instance, say your start time is 6pm. In that case any parent who wants a word can either see you before 6pm, or wait until you are free. You can then start the Brownie meeting at 6pm, and the girls aren't having their limited Brownie time wasted by parents. It's all too easy for 90 minutes to become 75 or even less if you let it!
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#8
We let ours skip/hula hoop/get balls out, but we have considered challenges to do in sixes, such as build the tallest tower from cards, playdo scenes etc so girls can easily join in when they arrive, but they don't involve too much room setup or preparation.
We have to get in and out of the hall promptly as it's booked before and after us (by yoga, so it's not like they are guides who understand about parent queries!), so I totally understand why you might have to deal with that kind of admin during a meeting. I try and organise myself by printing off tick sheets etc so it's super easy to record subs payments, so it minimises the time needed - just tick or date in the right column (I have one column for cash and one for cheques) and you immediately know what you've received. I usually issue an email reminder about subs the day before our first meeting, so I usually get 60% paid first night back. Obviously it doesn't help for the first night, but could reduce the amount of time dealing with parents the rest of the term!
Other ideas - can the unit helper start running the main activity while you deal with admin? Or can she deal with admin while you start? I know she's leaving soon, but if she helped with the admin she could leave early and still have been really helpful. Or can the sixers take on doing the register, or do you even need to do a register?
 

Hilary

Guide Guider and District Commissioner
GuiderPlus
#10
There are some 5 minute fillers on the website: Five-minute fillers
Not exactly what you were asking for but you could write out the instructions and let the girls run it themselves. Alternatively is there a parent who could collect in monies and forms while you start the meeting?