Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Garden Update

Well... the marigolds got run over by the petunias, and the morning glories have refused to bloom - but the garden still looks pretty awesome.

I'm moving!  I'll be joining a new Brownie unit in my new town (still Girl Guides of Canada Huzzah!)  Check back at the end of September for news of the new unit and what we're up to!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Planting Out

Yesterday afternoon we spent our meeting time planting a flower bed at the church where we meet.

The girls added the potting soil and peat moss, mixed them together, then planted the flowers and got them out of the pots by themselves!  The back row is morning glories, plus a small trellis to help them get up to the ironwork above the planter, then pink (for Sparks) spreading petunias, and the front row is marigolds.  Because deer hate marigolds and we're hoping they'll protect the rest of the plants!

Name Change

You may have noticed that the name of this blog has changed.  It's now Sparkling Sparks and Bouncing Brownies.  Next year I'll be leading Brownies, but we'll still be doing lots of stuff with the Sparks.  Anything we do with the Sparks will be so noted and added to the side bar, and Brownie stuff will be added as something you can search for.

For Brownie Keys, they will be noted as BK name of key.  Ex - BK Brownies
For Brownie Interest Badges, they'll be noted as BIB name of badge.  Ex BIB Be a chef.

I hope you'll like the new content.  Don't worry - I'll be back to Sparks soon enough.  I have another little person approaching that age right now!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Park Cleanup

Instead of staying inside today, the girls and I went down to the local waterfront/park property to do a cleanup.  I've found with the ages of Sparks (5-6), they need a reward after doing cleanups like that.  So after we picked up garbage for about forty minutes, we let them run around the playground after that.

For the trash pickup itself, I brought enough recycled bags for all the girls to have one, as well as plastic gloves (as I didn't want them getting dirty from the stuff they picked up).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Advancement 2015

As part of the Brownies and Beyond Keeper, girls should participate in an Advancement ceremony.

It is at this time that we give all the new girls (because if it's their second year in our Sparks unit, they already have it) their Brownies and Beyond Keeper.  This caused some debate between myself and my coleader the first year, as we wanted to make sure that girls who earned keepers got them, but how could we give the keeper to girls who weren't going Brownies and Beyond the next year?

We have erred on the side of caution.  If she's earned it, the girl gets it, even if it's her first year.  What happens if she decides not to do Sparks for a second year?  What it it doesn't work out for scheduling?  She earned it - she gets it.  Second year girls get their Fun and Friendship pin anyway.

For Advancement this year, we asked the girls to tell us what they'd like to make for decorations, and they chose Rainbow Clouds.  We drew the outline on half sheets of poster board, and they painted them.  I've cut them out since, and we attached them to the floor with painter's tape.

Here's our advancement layout -

Brownies sit by the toadstool by the mirror pond.  Sparks sit on the rainbow.  Each Spark gets called up, gets their Sparkling Certificate and badges, a small bag of goodies and sits back down on the Rainbow.  The advancing Sparks come up, get their certificate and badges, and then I tell them a little poem before they leave.  I got the poem from Becky at Dragon Sleep deprived (if you haven't checked out her songbook, you totally should).

You've learned to share and be a friend
but this by far is not the end.
Across the pond, not far away
Is where the Brownies come to play.
So now to cross the stepping stones
and meet the fairies, elves and gnomes.
The Brownie ring is where you'll land.
It's where you'll learn to lend a hand.

Then they cross the stepping stones, where our Guide helper is waiting, and the Guide spins them while holding onto one of their hands.  Twist me and turn me and show me an elf.  I looked in the water and there saw..." and the Spark responds myself.

The two Brownies then shout "welcome to the Brownie ring" and hand her the small bag of things she can use to get a badge over the summer.

Here's a look at what's in the bags this year.  The Advancing Sparks always get a bag of stuff they can use to earn a badge.  Last year was the Hiking badge, which had a pair of good socks, a water bottle, and a bunch of maps and guides for our area's walking trails.  This year is the All About Art badge, so girls are getting play-doh, suncatchers to paint and wooden stuff to paint as well.  Sparks get the same bag, but without the instructions for the badge.

At the end of the ceremony, I remind parents that they need to turn in their camp forms and thank them for a great year!

Then we break and have cupcakes and sparkling lemonade.

Instead of buying pop, I buy frozen pink lemonade, and mix it with a bottle of lemon sparkling water.

We do have three meetings left this year, all outside and doing stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Preparing for Advancement 2015

Every year we spend a meeting preparing for Advancement.  This is also a chance for the girls to help put their own touches on it.

Every year I set up one section of the rainbow we use for enrollment in the fall, boarderd by the white clouds.  I also have the girls decorate their own cloud in rainbowland.  So that's the first thing we did this week - painting our own clouds.  I cut white posterboard in half, and draw a cloud shape in sharpie on each half.

While half are busy painting away, the other half practice either coming up, getting their certificate and goody bag and going back, or crossing the stepping stones into Brownieland across the river (more on that next week).

Goodybags this year are themed around the Brownie badge "All about art".  We try to theme it every year, and give the girls the requirements for the badge so that the advancing girls can complete the badge over the summer, and bring it in in the fall and get a badge right away!

This year they have a small amount of playdough, a window suncatcher to paint and a magnet to paint.  Girls who are going up to Brownies also get the Brownie Promise on a business card sized piece of cardstock (so they can get started memorizing early).

After practice and painting, we had the girls complete the "what I want out of Sparks/Brownies next year".  Two Stars and a Wish.  (Again with two large pieces of cardstock - pink for Sparks and orange for Brownies).

Then we played girls' choice games and went home.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Instead of an inside meeting today, we decided to take advantage of some great weather and go bike riding.

Remember SafeGuide - kids need to be wearing helmets.  We also had a Guide helper with us, who led us in a fun game of follow the leader with the bikes.  For the girls, I asked that they bring something wheeled.  Skateboard, Rollerblades, Scooter, Bike, Trike etc.

So we got there first, and had all the girls show us how well they can put on their own helmet.  We demonstrated (with our Guide helper) how to properly put one on, and made sure everyone's helmets were on properly.  Then we looked at other safety equipment.  Knee and elbow pads, some people have mouth guards, some brought padded gloves in case they fell on their hands.

When we were finished, we looked at how to keep our bikes/trikes etc in tip-top condition.  Rubbing them down if they were wet, oiling chains, pumping up the tires and all.

We then played follow the leader on the bikes, in a line, with the Guide leading around the parking lot.  They were to practice their hand signals as they went.

Then we had about a half hour of free time.  I had a bunch of bubble wands, some sidewalk chalk, and, of course, we had the bikes to play with.