Camping in the Rain

If disaster strikes and it pours with rain and you have access to some form of wet-weather shelter, here are some ideas to try besides your craft activities:

Story Bag : Each Patrol is given a bag with five or six assorted items in it and has to go away - to their patrol tent, own corner of the wet-weather shelter or somewhere else they can work together undisturbed - and prepare a short play incorporating all of the items in their bag. Give a time-limit for preparation - say half an hour - and then all patrols have to perform their play for the rest of the assembled camp.

Beauty Salon : Popular with Guides of all ages : an opportunity to do each other's hair - expert hair braiding is much in demand - and indulge in facials, either home made herbal preparations (oatmeal and egg-white face-mask, cucumber or used teabag eye pads) or commercial preparations (e.g. Body Shop – usually very generous with free samples). Lots of tissues, wipes etc. should be on hand for cleaning off!

Board Games : A selection of popular board games is useful : stick to well-known ones to avoid problems with rules, but introduce a few new ones with supervision until the rules have been learned. We have learned to avoid Monopoly (they call it Monotony in my unit) – there are too many bits to lose.

Beetle Drive: Take plenty of blank "Beetle" forms, spare dice and plenty of pens and pencils; give prizes for highest and lowest overall scores. (Game description below)

Skipping: (also a fine - weather activity!) - Many of the girls will not have had much experience of "Long Rope" skipping so girls must be prepared to demonstrate. After practice in running under, jumping over, and "keeping the pot boiling," try skipping a set number of jumps, coming in to join the skipping at a signal - "birthdays," "initials," - and simple rhymes. After the girl's have exhausted the girls' childhood repertoires, they might be able to add some of their own.

Indoor Sports Day :
1) Sock Wrestling : (long pants recommended) two girls kneel facing each other, preferably on a large mat, with shoes removed. Make a great show of "psyching out" opponent, before commencing, at a given signal, to attempt to remove one of the opponent's socks. WARNING - this can get very boisterous so make sure pairs of girls are reasonably evenly matched, supervise closely and be prepared to intervene if necessary, and ask for volunteers - "Challengers" - rather than nominating. Some girls may enjoy watching and encouraging rather than actually taking part.

2) Blow Football : An old favorite - two girls kneel at opposite sides of a small table and try to score goals by blowing through a straw to put a ball - either a ping-pong ball if available, or a ball of crumpled foil - through a goal (or off the table). Keep bouts short or the girls will get out of breath; a messier variation is to have a shallow tray of water as the "pitch" - much splashing will ensue! If everyone wants a go, organize a knock-out tournament, with a prize for the overall champions.

3) Broomstick Walking : this is deceptively difficult : hold a broomstick or similar with hands apart, step over between hands and without letting go with either hand, bring the broomstick up over the head and eventually return the broomstick to its original position. If anyone actually manages this feat, time with a stopwatch to find a champion!

4) Sumo : a pair of protagonists faces each other, adopting the "Sumo Wrestlers'" stance and each, without touching, tries to make the other girl laugh. The winner is the one who keeps a straight face longest (difficult when all the spectators are helpless!)

5) Penny race : they say the simple ones are the best. (Only suitable if you have a flat floor.) Each girl takes it in turn to roll a coin, either across a line or (better) into a target circle.  Nearest wins a small prize – could be the coins if it’s a small camp and you haven’t got 100s of girls!


The Beetle Game (referred to above)
This is an active game that can be played anywhere, by anybody.  Each "team" chooses a table to sit at. One person at each table will be staying at the table throughout the game.  The rest of the team will be moving from table to table after each win. Each table has one dice, scrap paper, pen or pencil that works, and a diagram of a "beetle" . (I use scrap cardboard from cereal boxes and laminate). The beetle is a large oval abdomen, smaller head, feelers/antennae, two eyes, four legs, and a tail. Each body part has a number from 1-6, just like the dice has numbers 1-6. The abdomen is 6, head is 5, tail is 4, legs are 3, antennae are 2, and eyes are 1. Number all the parts clearly on the body, although as the girls get experience with the game, they remember quite well without looking.

Each team is playing at the same time. The one person at each table that stays (Beetleguise) is the one that draws the parts on the paper. Each team member at the table take turns rolling the dice. You have to be quick because the first team to complete the picture first, hollers "BEETLE", play stops and the teams move to the next table in a round-robin fashion. The rules are much like a cross between parcheesi and hangman.  The dice is rolled, and you need a 6 to start. Makes sense, body first. As soon as a six is rolled, Beetleguise will quickly draw a body on the paper, while the other members frantically continue rolling the dice to get a five. Once the head is on, then it doesn't matter which numbers come next, as long as you get 4-3's,2-2's, and 2-1's. Again, once the body is completed, holler 'BEETLE" and play stops. Players move to the next table and on a signal, play resumes again.

You can either keep score and award applause to the team that had "BEETLE" the most times, or you can use this game at snack-time at camp and hand out little treats. Just make sure everybody gets something!!  I find this game can be quite crazy and noisy as the girls get older, but it is also wonderful to use larger dice for 5 & 6 year olds to help them with numbers. Of course, they won't play as fast.