While I was doing research for this post, I was looking through the stack of books I inherited when I took over my current Brownie unit. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find this:
The observant among you will have noticed that the cost of this book is 9d – or 9 old pennies. A quick check of the inside cover revealed that it was first published in 1928, although this edition was printed in 1946.
So what games were Brownies playing in 1928? Chapter 2 is “relay races” and contains the following, very familiar, set of instructions:
HUMAN LADDER RACE
The Brownies pick sides and fall in in two straight lines facing inwards. At a given signal they sit down with their legs out in front of them, their feet touching the feet of the opposite Brownies. Their legs make the rungs of the ladder. The top Brownies start and climb in and out the rungs of the ladder. They have to go over each pair of legs. When they get to the end they run back to their places and the next Brownies start. This game is best played in soft shoes.
Personally, I find the last line to be the best – proof that Health and Safety was a concern back then, too!
The next thing that caught my eye was a game that someone on twitter recommended to me recently. I’d not come across it before, but it sounds like fun. We’re having a games night next week so I intend to try it out.
LOST SHOE RELAY
The Brownies all take off their shoes and put them in a heap at one end of the room. They fall in in Sixes, and the game is played like an ordinary relay, the Brownies running up to the heap of shoes, finding their own shoes, putting them on, and running back to their Sixes.
Other familiar entries included the “Human Wheelbarrow Race”, “Raining” (which sounds a lot like “All the fishes in the sea”, only with flowers in a garden), “Dressing Up”, and “Acting” (Charades).
There were also some completely new (old?) ideas which I’m looking forward to trying out, such as this one:
Brown Owl collects a lot of different leaves; these she scatters all around the room, putting some on chairs and some on the window-sill.
The Brownies are allowed five minutes to look at the leaves and ask their names. They then make a ring around Brown Owl, and she tells a story bringing in the names of the trees to which the leaves belong. As she mentions the tree, the Brownies run for its leaf, and the Brownie who gets it scores a point for her Six.
It is best to say that the Brownie who gets two leaves is not allowed to go on running, so that they all get a turn.
and this one:
This game can only be played in a wood or field on a summer day, and would be suitable for a Brownie picnic.
Each Six makes its own little house out of branches and sticks, and this will keep the Brownies happy and quiet for any length of time, arranging their houses, and getting leaves and stones for their “pretending” food.
Then Brown Owl becomes a wicked old witch and has a house of her own. The Brownies come and visit her and sing, “Wicked old witch, are you hungry to-day? ‘Cos if you are hungry, we’ll all run away!”
Sometimes the witch snores, but if she says “yes” she comes out and chases the Brownies. Any Brownie caught by the witch is turned into a stone and cannot move until the spell is broken. The witch says, “The spell can only be broken by a white stone placed on the prisoner’s left foot; or a dead leaf on her head.” Then the Brownies rush off to find the object mentioned, and the first Brownie to find it rescues the captured Brownie and takes her back to her (the rescuer’s) Six.
The winning Six is the one with the largest number of Brownies in it at the end of the game. Brown Owl can name anything found out of doors, and the more difficult it is to find the more fun becomes the game to the Brownies. It is better not to choose plants or flowers that might be badly damaged by hasty picking in the excitement of the moment.
There are also chapters with games to get girls ready for their first and second class tests, quiet games, ball games, and games which involve a lot of imagination.
And finally, if you want a book with more games in, don’t forget: