Full Disclosure: We are an Ontario group and all of our Brownies have been to Canada’s Wonderland. The nostalgia and reminiscing, not to mention dreaming together of a time we can once again become “Ride Warriors” was at least part of what made this meeting such a success. I think this meeting will still work in many ways if you are from another area, or you can adapt it to your local amusement park.
Gathering: A Lesson in Map Reading
For Gathering, I put up a map of Canada’s Wonderland on Screenshare. It is a great way to get the girl’s hyped about the meeting as it’ a super colourful and exciting map! The girls pointed out their favourite rides, and we talked about the advantages of using a map like this to explore places like amusement parks and zoos etc. We helped show them how you might circle all the rides you want to check out, and then make a plan to navigate the park efficiently to reach all those rides with the least amount of walking. It’s a great way to introduce map reading to this age-group both for the engagement and interest level, and the ease of use.
You can get your copy below:
Activity 1: What to Pack for a Day at an Amusement Park
Most kids Brownie-aged still have parents packing items for the day for them, but I encourage my Brownies to practice thinking about how they can be prepared for the things they want to do. I pulled out my backpack and had several items for them to choose from, as well as think of. We also talked about the best kind of clothing to wear.
Here are the items that went into the backpack:
- A travel-sized bottle of sunscreen
- Reusable water bottle
- A change of clothing if you plan to ride the water rides
- A Small amount of money for lockers, souvenirs or snacks
- A small, simple first aid kit
- A little sweater or hoodie for when you get cold
- A card with your adult’s name and phone number on it
- We encourage the Brownies to know their parent’s phone numbers etc by heart, but in an emergency, it’s easy to forget even the things you know the best. Also, they may not be going with their own parents.
- Any medication such as epi-pens or inhalers
- Hand sanitizer and extra masks (if you happen to be in a pandemic!)
Here is what to wear:
Activity 2: Safety First!
- A baseball style cap that fits well on your head
- Comfortable shoes that will stay attached to your feet, like Teva-type sandals or running shoes
- I let the Brownies choose from a variety of footwear: High heels, flip flops, etc.
- Comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the weather, preferably shorts or pants vs skirts and dresses, short sleeved, light coloured clothing in the summer, etc.
- Sunglasses (but probably not your favourite pair)
Next we discussed having a safety plan. It is easy to get separated from your adults in a big and crowded place like Canada’s Wonderland. Always have a plan for what to do if you get separated.
- Do not panic. We do a lot of training with our Brownies (and Sparks!) about what to do if you find yourself lost anywhere: a mall, a forest, a park, etc. The first thing we teach them is to:
- Acknowledge their fear. It is scary to suddenly find yourself lost.
- Remember that you know what to do, and you know how to handle the situation.
- Make a plan.
- Stay where you are. Your adults will backtrack to the last place they saw you, so if you stay where you are, they are more likely to find you.
- Ask for help. Tell a worker or an adult with kids that you are lost. Give them your adult’s name and phone number to contact them and let them know where you are.
- Never, ever, ever, ever leave the park with a stranger. We practised some scenarios where someone might say, “Oh, I saw your mom in the parking lot looking for you! Let’s go find her!” We explained that a responsible adult will never try to take a child out of the park without their parents. The only exception might be a police officer.
We also very briefly discussed what to do if someone tries to “take them”. You scream, you yell, “This isn’t my mom/dad!” and make it very difficult for that adult to quietly take you away. Don’t be afraid to yell and scream and kick and struggle, make it a really big event. This is the time when it is appropriate to yell for help and scream at the top of your lungs.
Activity 3: A Trip to the Top of Wonder Mountain
This is the part where I get to age myself, and tell the unit that waaaaaaay back in the ’80s when Rainbow Owl was a kid, we were able to climb to the top of Wonder Mountain. It’s unfortunate we can’t do that anymore, but one advantage to our Virtual Trip is that we can! It also gives them a bit of a chance to make the connection between the map and the park IRL, as the scenic view sweeps the park.
Activity 4: Let’s Ride Some Rides!
Now that we are prepared for a day at the park, let’s ride some rides! The Canada’s Wonderland YouTube Channel has a TON of POV rides! Throughout the meeting, each Brownie gets a chance to pick a ride, and during Activity 4, we did about 3-4 rides in a row! The girls were so excited. The screenshare works pretty well for this now, if you click the little boxes at the bottom of the screenshare function that say optimize for video.
During this, we talked a little about how to not die of bordem waiting in those long line ups for popular rides. Some suggestions were hand clap games, Girl Guide songs, Eye-Spy and other similar games, just talking about stuff or planning your next move at the park.
Activity 5: Physics Time!
How the heck do those coasters and riders stay on the track during a loop-d-loop??? We used this video from the Canada’s Wonderland YouTube Channel to help answer that question: It’s Not Magic, It’s Science. We only used part of the video, but you could run the whole thing and even have the Brownies do the experiment themselves! There are also many additional videos and resources to be found here, if you want to add more science: Canada’s Wonderland Classroom
Activity 6: Drawing Peanuts
The children’s area of Canada’s Wonderland is Planet Snooopy. The beloved Peanuts Gang can be found not only branding the rides and merch, but also walking around the park! The Canada’s Wonderland YouTube Channel has a really cool section with an artist leading kids to draw Peanuts Characters! He is really good and the Brownies all loved him. We drew Woodstock and found the directions really clear and easy to follow.
Here is a link to the playlist, so you can choose which Peanuts Character you want to draw for your meeting (I recommend either the Snoopy or Woodstock ones): Peanuts Sketch School
Activity 5: The Victoria Falls Divers
Wonderland offers more than just rides. They also have many shows and events. We took a look at the Victoria Falls Divers and ended up talking about water safety and how its fun and cool to try new things like diving or doing flips into the water, but first, we have to make sure everything is safe. Of course at this age, that involves an adult doing depth checks and supervising etc., but we explained it all to the Brownies and let them know they should never dive into water (etc.) without knowing first that it is safe to do so. We also talked about cool hobbies like trampolining, gymnastics and swimming/diving.
Activity 6: More Rides
Another round of letting the Brownies choose rides. This time we talked a lot about how to we can overcome our fears. We first discussed why rollercoaster and thrill rides are so appealing. Then we shared strategies for overcoming fears. These are some of the strategies our Brownies had:
- Have your friends or family hype you up
- Remind yourself that it is safe and it will be fun
- Make the decision to do it, and then don’t think about it anymore
- Think about how good you will feel when you accomplish your goal
- Ask for reassurances
Activity 7: Fireworks
Canada’s Wonderland always puts on fun fireworks displays, so we ended our meeting with fireworks. We all made wishes on the fireworks that this pandemic would soon end and we could visit Canada’s Wonderland for real in the near future!
We hope your Brownie Unit has as much fun as we did at this Virtual Trip To Canada’s Wonderland!