Last night was our first *actual* Daisy meeting. My troop is now at capacity (12 girls), though only 11 girls were present. It was also an incredibly stress-free meeting, which I’m chalking up to a combo of 1.) being a new situation for the girls, so their behavior was better, 2.) my experience as a children’s librarian, and 3.) I was a Daisy leader for my older daughter as well. These girls will benefit from the mistakes I made with Bean’s troop.
I am not going to do a flag ceremony with my Daisies, but will instead do a simple opening circle, saying the GS Promise. I showed the girls how to hold their hands (easy for some, hard for others, they’ll all get it eventually), then I said the Promise. One or two of the girls said it with me, but the rest did not, which isn’t surprising. I was more surprised that there were girls who said it with me. I went through the Promise again, line by line, having them repeat it after me. We also talked about what promises mean and why they’re important.
When we were done, I pulled out my trusty Daisy Petal board and went over the GS Law with them, explaining how we’ll earn Petals and how they already live by the GS Law (are you friendly? are you strong?).
Name Balloon Ice Breaker
I don’t want to keep the girls sitting for too long. They’re too wiggly at this age, and I want GS to be about having fun (while slipping the learning in on the sly). My AL for my other troop gave me the suggestion for this idea, and she did it with my Juniors at our last meeting.
I wrote each girl’s name on a balloon, threw them into the center of the room and had them find the balloon with their name on it. When they found it, they stood against the designated wall. We played two more variations, first with the girls finding a balloon that didn’t have their name on it, and then finding that girl (I read the names to them as needed). For the second variation, I put half of the balloons away (the girls whose names were on those were the “finders”). The rest of the girls stood against the wall with their balloons. The finders went to the other side of the room. I took the girls’ balloons and threw them into the middle of the room. The finders had to get a balloon, find the girl it belonged to, and ask their favorite color – pink and purple were the favorites, followed by blue. One girl’s favorite color was yellow. The girls loved the game, and most took their balloons home at the end of the meeting.
Without knowing the girls’ dynamic, I can’t come up with official troop rules yet, but we sat back in our circle and talked about rules and why they are important. I tied needing and following rules into the balloon games we had just played. The girls came up with good basic rules (be nice, be kinds, only take out one toy at a time), and we talked about consequences (a warning, 5 minute sit-out, calling your parents to take you home).
The original idea comes from Blue School House, but whereas hers tied into the My Promise, My Faith Award, I changed the the animal from a whale to a bug – a GS Promise bug.
I kept it simple by spray painting the egg carton beforehand (Krylon ocean blue). While painting is fun, it can be messy and time-consuming if there are any perfectionists in the bunch. The girls added antennae (adults poked holes using small nails) and googly eyes. We also tied on a copy of the GS Promise. The idea is that the bug will serve as a reminder to live the GS Promise.
Daisy Islands Game
When the girls finished their bugs (left safely in the craft room), we played one of my favorite games – Daisy Islands (a variation of musical chairs). I don’t remember where I first learned of it, but my older daughter’s troop loved it. My new Daisies loved it as well. It’s incredibly simple, and makes the girls work together.
To start: lay out the same number of mats (they need to be different sizes; I use towels) as girls. Play the music. When it stops, the girls stand on a mat. Remove a mat each time. The girls are never “out”. As fewer mats are left, the girls have to start sharing mats. By the end of the game, they are all squeezed, squealing and holding to each other, on one mat.
I’ve always done a friendship circle, singing “Make New Friends”. There are variations of the song, in lyrics and tune, but I do it the way I remember from when I was a GS. I sing:
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end.
That’s how long, I will be your friend.
For the friendship circle, the girls crossed their arms right over left, and held hands. I sang the song through once, then sang it again line by line with the girls repeating after me. When we were done, I explained the friendship squeeze (this looks like it will take some time for them to figure out the “passing on” part instead of all of them squeezing at the same time), and we spun out.