Sunday, 1 April 2012

Springtime crafts with the Brownies & Guides

One of the fantastic things about being a blogger is the opportunities you have open to you. One such for me is joining the Baker Ross Bloggers network. Both my Brownies and Guides love Baker Ross craft kits, in the past we've made Mum cushions for mother's day (which we scented with dried lavender bags, craftily hidden inside the kapok stuffing), made jointed reindeer at Christmas, and used countless tubes of fabric paint to decorate t-shirts and pots of beads for points on camp. The nice thing about the craft kits are that for Guide age girls (10-14) it can provide them with Patrol time, where they follow the instructions independently, adapt the craft to their design desires and combine that with a good gossip with their patrol.

This was just how we used the gifts for Mothering Sunday, each Patrol got to choose one type of craft from Mum keyrings, to Mum phone cases, flowers in bottles, and decorated cards (Girls in the lead and all that). We gave them 45 minutes to chat, craft, and go wild with the glitter. The nice thing about the variety is that no one felt the need to 'keep up' with anyone else, and as the crafts were quite straightforward they could in essence lead themselves. The girls were then tasked by taking their crafts home to give to their Mum's a week later. Here's hoping that remembered. I think if you had a younger Guide unit than we do (we have quite a spread of ages, and the 14 year olds definitely found these a bit babyish) then more supervision would be required for some of the crafts, but the flowers, keyrings and phone cases were real winners.

The Brownies were - because of their age (7-10) a slightly different kettle of fish. Craft for them, is more closely supervised and supported. An age can be spent on colouring, the variety of stickers must be equally distributed and activities can take much longer or shorter than you expect. That said, they loved the idea of choosing their craft - normally we would all do the same. One group made Easter cards and bookmarks, One made Easter mobiles and the other made jointed figures. The jointed figures were the most straightforward craft and I had two of our littlest girls with me. Lots of fun was had with the colouring, and the girls managed the split pins without a problem. The table doing Easter cards, loved the sticky jewels for the cards, and enjoyed making a bookmark to keep as well as a card to give away. The table doing Easter mobiles ran out of time for theirs, so Wise Owl and I (Snowy Owl) tied the cord onto the Easter figures. A small criticism of this pack was that the string was much too slippery for our girls to tie their much loved reef knots, and it was a craft that would probably be better suited to a Brownie Holiday owing to the amount of figures to be coloured in. That said all the girls were looking forward to doing some craft over the holidays. I was a little circumspect about the Easter cards and mobiles as we are a multi-faith unit, but as the girls chose which crafts they wanted to do, we had no issues with that. 

Ratios for Brownies are higher than Guides (purely because of the girls age) and this works better for craft, where a leader needs to be on hand for the fiddly bits. The Baker Ross kits are a hit with both groups of girls - they get different things from the experience of crafting, and have different experiences. However, I think part of the success of the kits is up to giving girls the choice about what they want to do. Giving girls of any age a sense of control is always going to lead to success provided they're supported along the way. 

Now for next term - is it naughty to say I'm already drawn towards some of the Diamond Jubilee crafts - the Guides have asked for a Street Party so it has the potential to be lots of fun! 

It's worth remembering that as a Guider you get 10% off at Baker Ross, simply enter your membership no in as you're ordering.  This discount makes resources much more affordable, especially when you've a bigger unit. 

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