Growing Fun with Grassy Gnomes

It is always so much fun to see the creative activities that our fantastic volunteer Unit Guiders come up with to present Girl Guides of Canada programming (on a related note, we love Pinterest!!). Especially at the Sparks and Brownies level, girls love making crafts. Finding crafts that not only encourage creativity and self expression but also promote hands on learning is a great way to have fun with program.

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At one of their weekly meetings, girls from the 24th Brownies learned a bit about plants and their life cycles. How do seeds grow? What do plants need to be healthy? They put this knowledge to work by planting and watering some grass seeds in an especially creative way. Grass is fun to work with because it doesn’t take long to grow. When the leaders brought back the gnomes the following week they were already growing some pretty rad hair.

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The finished grassy gnomes are adorable! Want to know how to make them yourself? Check out some instructions here. At this regular weekly meeting, STEM + crafts = Girl Guides of Canada fun.

It’s the Simple Things

As the days of summer of stretch out before us, are you looking for a simple, inexpensive way to keep your kids entertained? Look no further than balloons!

An experienced Girl Guide leader always has a few tricks up her sleeve that come in handy when she needs a quick fun activity with very little preparation. Maybe the weather didn’t cooperate with an outdoor plan, or a guest speaker cancels at the last minute, or craft you’ve planned just doesn’t come together… whatever the case may be, there are always reasons to have a quick easy back up ready to go.

At the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks the leaders pulled out balloons on one of these occasions. And wouldn’t you know it — the kids had a total blast! There are so many things you can do with balloons:

  • Use them as a name game — pass the balloon to someone after saying their name
  • Find out how long you can keep one in the air using only “wind” power (i.e. air blown from your mouth, or with a paper fan)
  • See how long you can keep one balanced on one finger
  • Work as a group to keep many balloons in the air as long as possible
  • Use one as a ball for a game of soccer
  • Try to “juggle” 3 or more balloons at once
  • Create an obstacle course and complete with a balloon between your knees

Use your imagination to come up with activities that can be done alone, in pairs, or as a group. The possibilities are endless! And since balloons are inexpensive and can easily be stored (before inflation, of course) in just about any bag you might carry, they make for a great “rainy day” back up.

Sun Printing at Brownies

We love the summertime sunshine, don’t you? The girls in the 24th Burnaby Mountain Brownies did a cool science-related craft using 100% natural sunlight at one of their meetings earlier this year.

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The process is called Sun Printing. It uses special sun-sensitive (cyanotype) fabric to change colour. First, they laid out a design with various items items on the cyanotype cotton squares. They used a mix of natural materials like plants, and non-natural materials like foam craft shapes to make a design.

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After leaving them outside for about 20 minutes, the items which had blocked the UV rays from causing a reaction on the cotton left a negative print.

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The girls then rinsed the cotton squares in cold running water and then spritzed them with rubbing alcohol to quickly change the background to a lovely shade of blue. They then arranged the squares on pillowcases, carefully pinned them in place, and one of the leaders brought them home to sew them on.

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The finished products show each girl’s unique design, made with a super awesome sun-powered printing process.

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What a unique way to combine science and art in Girl Guides of Canada programming. This is just another example of what girls get up to at regular unit meetings.

Sparks Celebrate Canada 150

Last night the girls in the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks had a great time celebrating Canada in honour of our country’s 150th birthday this year.

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The meeting started with a great discussion about the flag and the singing of the national anthem. Then the group discussed different things they knew about Canada and asked some interesting questions.

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Everyone’s favourite part of the meeting was playing a fun game of “pin the tail on the beaver” — it was so fun they wanted to play again and again! One interesting thing about this meeting was that it was entirely planned by the unit’s Junior Leader, a Ranger who has been working with the unit for the past three years. The Guiders were happy to see how much she has learned about running a unit meeting and working with the girls. It was a great way for this Ranger to work on her leadership skills in a safe, supportive environment.

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The meeting ended with a couple more activities including a flag craft and some goal setting for the future. They sang a traditional Canadian song together before saying goodbye for the night. As an added bonus, this meeting allowed the girls to complete the Canada 150 Challenge, which meant everyone went home with a cool crest. Yay Canada!

Program fun

All units in Burnaby Mountain are back and meeting after the holiday break. Units are busy planning great adventures for the rest of the year including camps, sleepovers, trips, outings, community service, and more. Many units are taking advantage of the cold, wet, weather to focus on the exciting and enriching Girl Guides of Canada program materials designed for our girls.

At this week’s meeting the 47th Brownies tackled the Famous Five challenge, in which the girls learned about the five women who took part in the “Persons Case.”  In this famous legal battle, five women successfully convinced the British Empire’s highest court that several Canadian governments were wrong when they interpreted the British North America Act to mean that women were not “persons.” This is a great way to introduce Brownies to the important topics of politics, activism, and women’s rights.

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As a part of the challenge the Brownies invited a local female politician to talk to the girls about our right (and duty!) to vote and to be involved in change. The girls also decorated stylish 1920’s style hats, such as may have been worn by Nellie McClung and the other pioneers of women’s rights in Canada. The above photo shows the girls posing in their hats with the special guest.

On the very same day, the girls in the 2nd Sparks learned about life in another country important to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts — Switzerland! The girls had a blast playing a game where they pretended to ski around the hall and watched the Lonely Goatherd puppet show scene from The Sound of Music. Pictured below are the girls performing a concert with their homemade alpen horns. Switzerland is awesome! Maybe some of these girls will one day visit the WAGGGS World Centre in Switzerland, which is called Our Chalet.

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These are just some of the amazing activities being led by our creative and enthusiastic volunteers here in Burnaby Mountain. Every week our girls are engaging in creativity, self-discovery, and hands on learning about the world around them… and all in a safe, empowering environment!

Brownie restaurateurs for the night

This week, for their last meeting before the winter break, the 54th Brownies had a great meeting where they got to take on the roles of restaurant owners and chefs. The girls worked together to make their menus, set tables, and do the prep work and cooking to share a great meal together.

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The food was simple, but full of crowd favourites. The girls prepared veggies and dip for their appetizer, mini pizzas for the main course, and a creative dessert of cookies and grinch kebabs! Everyone took great care to use the kitchen equipment safely and because they were cooking for all of their friends, they took great attention and care to their jobs!

The Brownies showed lots of consideration for each other. Two girls took initiative and decided to write names on the drink cups so they didn’t get mixed up. Great idea girls! This was very helpful when they set the tables.

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Cooking with Brownies is always an adventure and the leaders say this was a contender for their favorite meeting so far! As we know from camp, our girls love to eat! What fun 🙂

Sparks Making Friends with Critters

Last night the 1st Burnaby Mountain Sparks got to practice the part of their promise that tells them to “be a friend” — with awesome animals! The group welcomed a special guest, Mike (from Mike’s Critters), who brought with him lots of critters for the girls to touch, hold, and learn about.

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The first animal was a chinchilla, which is the world’s softest animal. Her fur was soooo soft to touch! Everyone got the chance to touch her, and some even got to hold her. It was a very exciting start to the presentation.

Other animal guests included a chameleon, a turtle, a hedgehog, and a bunny. There were even some kind of scary animals: a tarantula and a snake! But every animal was very friendly and safe to be around. Mike did a great job of teaching the girls cool things about every single animal that he presented. They learned what kinds of food the animals eat, what kind of environment they live in, how they stay safe from predators, and other interesting facts.

The girls also showed great interest and critical thinking skills when they asked some really good questions. One girl asked why the chameleon has a big ridge on his head (answer: to collect morning dew so it can flow into his mouth) and another wanted to know why the chinchilla had whiskers (answer: so it it can tell if a hole in a cave or tree is big enough to climb into safely).

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It was a really fun day and everyone — even the leaders! — learned a lot. Thank you, Mike, for bringing your awesome critters to our Sparks meeting.

Art Project at Guides

At a recent Guide meeting the girls of the 22nd Burnaby Mountain Guides tried out making their own scratch board art. The process was reasonably simple, but allowed for great creativity.

One girl used the project to demonstrate her interest in world travel. What an awesome rendering of the Eiffel Tower! Maybe one day when she’s a little older this Guide will get the opportunity to participate in an international trip with Guiding. Every year, lots of Canadian Pathfinders and Rangers go on Nationally and Provincially sponsored trips or plan and fund raise for their own independent ones as a unit or district.

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If you want to try making your own scratch board art, it isn’t too hard! All you really need is some card stock, crayons, black paint, and liquid dish soap. You can find some instructions here.

Girls loved this activity because they could choose their own color schemes and scratch out their own unique designs. This simple art project was done at a regular unit meeting and is a good example of the cool things that girls get to do each week in Guiding.

Brownie Flag Meeting

Sometimes it is fun to catch up with one of our units during a “normal” meeting — that is, something that isn’t a special event like an outing, sleepover, or camp. At our regular weekly meetings, girls participate in all kinds of fun, hands-on programming. Recently, the 54th Burnaby Mountain Brownies had a meeting about flags and heritage. Jenn, one of the group’s leaders, describes the meeting below. 

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Tonight we worked on our Key to My Community which involved a flag ceremony and learning about Canada! Our circle leaders got to be in charge of the flags. We learned how to hold a flag, we learned they never touch the ground and we learned how to carefully roll our flags back up for storage. They loved seeing them (and do did I! We have a district flag? COOL) and learning about them all.


The last photo shows the girls together around their “where do we come from” map. The stones are decorated like a flag, some say “I love Canada”. They are all unique and each Brownie has marked where her family comes from to the best of her knowledge. (Note how many chose Canada)

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We also played a little basketball free throw tonight and learned a bit about the Canadian guy who invented it! Before we played, we had a lacrosse stick and a hockey stick and asked which one is our national sport? They all chose Hockey! Which is actually just the sport we are the best at, not our national sport. It was a good meeting and I know we sent home some tired Brownies tonight!

Thank you, Jenn, for sharing about your Brownie meeting. It sounds like the girls were really engaged and had a great time doing this GGC programming. 

What happens at a typical Guide meeting?

Most often we here at Burnaby Mountain District like to post about the really super awesome outings, events, and meetings that our girls are getting up to (stay tuned for a post in the next few days about the amazing district sleepover at the planetarium!). But sometimes it’s good to post about a regular weekly meeting. You might be wondering what does a Guide group do at an average meeting?

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The girls at the 22nd Guides recently decided to answer that question for local Brownies who will be advancing to Guides in the coming year. They invited some second year Brownies to see what Guides is typically like.

The answer, of course, is that there is no “typical” night at Guides! These girls like to do all kinds of things from arts and crafts, to cooking, to community service, to planning for their upcoming events, to playing games, and more.

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As a special treat, the Guides treated their Brownie friends to an activity of cupcake decorating, showing off how they have honed their decorating (and eating) skills.

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And it wouldn’t be Guides without the fun and friendship of hanging out with your Guiding buddies. This is a unit that knows how to giggle!