Getting used to different online platforms and how they work

At first, girls might all be speaking at once with nobody being heard. Ask girls to raise a hand or wave if they want to speak to avoid this.

Be prepared for background sound being picked up which is difficult for girls to avoid. You should have the ability to mute everyone so you’re able to be heard. Girls can only be heard if they can unmute themselves or the leader speaks or asks a question then unmutes the group for a response.

Making decisions via video chat

Voting yes or no: To get an honest vote from participants, get them to vote in the virtual meeting. Some programmes have functionality to let you run a poll and if not, the girls can use Yes and No cards, which lets them give their honest opinion without being influenced. To get an honest, instant vote, girls should show the yes or no card after a count-down to the vote “3, 2, 1, vote!”.

Girls can make and decorate their own cards to vote with, cut two circles or square shapes out of some card (using a cereal box, shoe box, delivery box etc.), one for YES and one for NO. Decorate these on both sides with the words YES/NO, with happy and sad faces, etc. Having markings on both side of the card make it easier for girls to see what they are voting for.

Quick typed responses: Some video chat programmes offer a chat facility that allows those on the call to share messages with the group, which can be great to use with older girls. Ask a question or raise a topic and girls can type a short answer in the chat. This distraction can be useful if you need to change topic or boost the girls’ engagement.

Get into 2 teams on video chat: If your chosen video chat programme allows you to break into smaller groups, this is a great way to engage your group. Girls should have their paper and pen to note which team they’re in. Leader or girls decide, some girls are team A and others are team B (they note A or B), then note down who’s in team A and B to avoid confusion. Teams can race against each other on easy challenges to energise girls.

Easy team challenge: To help girls learn to work together as an online team, set your teams an easy challenge e.g. drawing challenge (draw 50 stars, which team gets a total of 50 first – they need to communicate or agree how many to draw each) or a singing challenge (team sings a favourite song all together, then the other team sing it quicker) or a quick quiz to help girls learn to cooperate.

Special consideration for Rainbows

Girls of this age group may not have as much video chat experience as older girls, and may need more help. Here are some things to consider:
• Think of how you can let everyone be heard
• Agree on a silence sign
• Girls may not notice you putting your hand up
• Keep your meeting length short
• For familiarity, you could start and end with your usual song
• Some Rainbow leaders have read a storybook to girls or sing an action song with small actions
• Crafts need to be achievable by the girl, not too messy or high preparation for parents/carers
• Some Skills builders can be adapted to be done at home
• You could agree on themed meetings which, again, don’t require a lot of prep.

Action story idea: Write and tell an action story where girls make the sounds of the story. Everyone should practice the sounds before the story starts. E.g. Farmer Annie Handy (clap hands). Others in the story, the sheepdog (woof woof) puppies (high pitched woofs), cats (meow), kittens, chickens, sheep, cows, the tractor on the farm (engine noise) and every mention of farmer handy gets a clap all together. Another story is going on a bear hunt. Rubbing hands to walk through long grass, etc.

Post meeting ideas

  • Relax and have a cuppa!
  • Have a chat with your leadership team and talk about what went well and what you might need to tweak/change for next time.
  • Send an email to the parents to thank them for their help in making the meeting happen
  • Once you’ve successfully finished running your first meeting, we want to hear about your experience! What worked well? Do you need more support? Get in touch.