Brownies are taking on the universe with the space interest badge

From Brownies to beyond! Two volunteers and a parent share the space and STEM adventures their girls have been launching off to.

26 January 2024

Before January comes to an end, why not sprinkle a little stardust on your new year’s resolution and get curious about space?

Thanks to the cosmic sparkle of the space interest badge, now sponsored by the UK Space Agency, Brownies have been exploring the expanses of the universe. And they're doing so in the most unique and crafty ways.

We caught up with volunteers and the parent of a young space enthusiast to hear about how their girls have been diving into space, STEM and working towards the space interest badge.

Bryony is a leader at 3rd Holborn Brownies and her girls got up to making little light up planets!

Creating light-up planets sound like a blast! Tell us all about the activity.

'3rd Holborn Brownies made light-up planets to tie into celebrating Space Week – a salute to science, celebrated every year in October.

First, each girl was given a worksheet where they could design and name their planet and we discussed different colours and why some planets such as Mars are red and why others like Saturn have rings.

The girls were fascinated learning the facts. Once they design their planets in 2D, they were then each given a ping pong ball to bring their planets to life. Using bright coloured permanent markers the Brownies drew various different patterns on their ‘ball’ to make their own personalised planets.

Once finalised, each planet was placed on top of a battery operated tea-light, so when turned on, they glow!

We asked them all to name their planets and we had some hilarious responses. One Brownie named hers Foodie Supernova.'

Did the girls discover any fun facts about the universe during this activity?

'The Brownies were so curious about space! After quizzing them on the different planets in our solar system, we looked at the colours and patterns of them on a big screen for inspiration. Many girls were curious about why planets are different colours so we learnt lots of facts about that too!

Many of the girls wanted to complete their space interest badge after taking part in the activity!'

Any advice for other units looking to get into space themed activities?

'Learning about space is so much fun! From Oreo moon phases to pin hole star signs there’s so many different creative activities you can do to get girls excited about space! My best advice is to cram your head with lots of facts yourself because the girls can be super inquisitive!'

At a young age, Lexie picked up an astronomical interest in space.

Sam, Lexie's mum, reached out on Twitter to ask for help with putting together space-themed activities for a badge Lexie was designing. To her surprise, her tweet led to a two-day event for Lexie and 200 girls in Gwent after a space technology company replied and offered to make a visit.

What sparked Lexie’s fascination with the universe?

'She learnt a song about the planets in our solar system and from there, she wanted to learn more about the different planets so we started buying her books on space.'

What did Lexie enjoy most about the two-day event?

'I think for Lexie, it was seeing other girls learning about space, when at school, it was mainly the boys. She told me about how the girls listened intently to the female space engineer as she explained all the different career options.'

Any advice for parents looking to nurture their child's interest in space and STEM?

'There are so many books that suit all ages that can help to learn all about space. We visited the capsule from Tim Peake’s return to Earth at Cardiff Museum and the Space Centre.

We also helped Lexie learn about the inspirational women already involved in space like Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Johnson. We even had the Lego figures for them. 

Every time there was something for space, it was usually for boys – bedding, clothes and toys which really annoyed Lexie as she always says space is for girls too.'

What’s Lexi up to now?

'She went on to earn her space interest badge when she became a Brownie.

As part of it, we took her to the Space Centre in Leicester. There was an astrogeologist there asking Lexie about how the moon was formed and the meteorite belt which Lexie happily answered and they couldn’t believe she knew so much when she was only 7.

Lexie at the moment (now 11) is keen to become an interior designer but her older sister, Carenza, is pursuing a STEM career and wants to be an engineer – eventually working with a space company like Skyora or at the space base in Cornwall.'

In Edinburgh, Helen helped put together a stellar sleepover for 85 Brownies.

What motivated you to help organise this sleepover?

'Tucked between Edinburgh’s Royal Palace at Holyrood and the Scottish Parliament is a futuristic building called Dynamic Earth. A real hands on science museum, I jumped at the chance to organise a large sleepover in 2023.

I worked closely with the education officer to put together an exciting evening, built around the Brownie Space badge and various skill builders.'

Can you share some highlights of how the sleepover went?

'The science museum offers an exciting interactive journey through time, all the way from the big bang: allowing the girls to see the way the world began and developed, and meet some scary dinosaurs.

All the girls enjoyed a planetarium show, learning about the planets, and afterwards they created their own constellations using packs of black card and sticky stars created by 2 Brownies who made up 100 of them for their Gold Challenge. They were presented with their awards on the night too.

The girls learned about the sun, solar storms and how weather systems travel around the globe.

They enjoyed a supper before bedding down in the centre for at least a little bit of sleep.

After breakfast, they played some games to explore more about the solar system and all left with a dynamic earth sleepover badge, and encouragement to make their sunspot viewers for the space interest badge. And we have seen many since.'