Last week at Brownies we were working on their healthy heart badge. It is always interesting to see their different responses to healthy lifestyles and actually is quite encouraging that government campaigns to tackle obesity are getting the message across. The girls were all very well informed. Better than I would have been at their age probably having been a Brownie when turkey dinosaurs and potato smiles were de rigeur for lunch and tea, with maybe some peas if we were feeling really healthy!
I had been given the food allergy clause to do with them. It was a challenge to come up with an activity that would be different to the others and not just talking about it. I remembered a game about germs spreading in Guiding magazine last year so wondered if I could adapt that. Unfortunately allergies are a wee bit more complex than the spread of germs so it took some serious adaptation.
So it turned into an extremely involved version of stuck in the mud! Half the girls were one of the top four food allergies (milk, nuts, fish, eggs) and the other half were allergic to one of them. The allergens were then given four reaction cards that they could give to those they caught who were allergic to them. If caught those with an allergy then had to sit down and wait for someone else to bring them an appropriate medication card. We had moderate reactions (itching, rash) and severe reactions (difficulty breathing, throat and mouth swell), and antihistamine and adrenaline. The idea was that the best way to stay in the game was to avoid the allergen!
We did have quite a nice discussion at the beginning about allergies. I was really impressed by what they knew and how well they listened! I’m not always sure about how well I can keep control of them all at once when we’re talking, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It also meant that they were all able to meet the badge clause because I wasn’t sure how much they would actually learn from the game, but it’s the sort of badge that can end up very discussion-y and ours aren’t quite ready for that yet!
It also let me bring in a bit more science, which is always a GOOD thing! I did manage to refrain from teaching them the bits in my A-level biology course, but I brought it down to a more basic level, with the idea of big blobby things stop you from getting ill, but sometimes they get a bit overenthusiastic and attack something that won’t make you ill. It’s not the best explanation but I think they sort of got it!