Guide Guider White Oaks Area
LDP & Commissioner/Admin Trainer Highland Glen Area
My experience with working with Sparks was to structure the meetings in small chunks. Average 10 minutes per activity (crafts often need a little more time). Our order of activities rarely changed so the girls knew what to expect. A typical meeting was as follows:
Gathering Activity: Usually crayons and play dough for girls so they had something to do while waiting for others to arrive. We also put out books and the felt board to keep them busy.
Opening: Sing Buddies and Pals and say the promise.
Circle: Choose the Sparkle for the night. This consisted of picking a name (names already picked go into another container so it's fair). The Sparkle wears a necklace with a large sparkly medallion and stands in the middle of the circle and the group says: "Stand in the middle and don't be shy. We like you and this is why". Each person in turn tells why they like the Sparkle. We found it to build self esteem and get the girls used to talking in front of the whole group. The Sparkle also collects the money while we sing the money song (we sang pop goes the weasel). The Sparkle also gets to take home the Spark doll that week.
After stand in the middle and the money song we had our sharing time. Basically show and tell with the rule that if it was something to show it was to be passed around the circle so everyone could touch it. We also made a microphone from a dowel and styro ball painted gold and you could only speak if you were holding the mic. Guiders often brought in sharing that tied into our weekly theme. Kids (and leaders) actually talked into the mic - cute.
Craft: Usually did one every week, again tied to our theme.
Game: Active game. Often the girls would pick the game. One week a Spark brought in her skipping rope for sharing and we ended up skipping that night (or trying to). We played a lot of singing games such as the type of thing in Sing a Song/Dance With Me. Very popular.
Story or Singing: Never seemed to have time for both. The game often goes a little over time. As much as I *love* to sing myself, I never ended up with a group that liked to sing (go figure).
Closing: Sing the Spark song and say the promise
The above meeting took an hour and we tried to make as many activities as possible fit into our theme. We found the five and six year olds quite similar and did not need to adjust our program a lot when we went to the two year span. Interestingly, some of the five year olds were more mature than their six year old peers.