The best things that Rainbows have ever brought home

From self-esteem and smiles to skills and – yes, really – slime, find out what parents had to say

Laura, Girlguiding Digital team
23 March 2020

Recently, we posted a call-out on our Facebook page asking parents/guardians of our youngest members, 5 to 7-year-old Rainbows, 'What's the best thing your daughter's ever brought home?' – and got more than 150 responses!

Having crunched the numbers, here are the top ten…

1. Confidence

Topping the list among a third of our members was greater confidence, self-esteem or independence.

My daughter has brought home so much confidence and the knowledge that she can do anything she puts her mind to! I haven't heard her say "I can't do it" once since she started going to Rainbows.’ – Maddy Matthews-Williams
Back in 2018, my niece Amelia had very little self-esteem and found it difficult to make friends. I hoped joining Rainbows would help – and it didn’t disappoint. Amelia wouldn’t go to her first meeting unless I stayed with her so I had a word with Fluffy Owl Joanne who was very supportive and made me feel so welcome. At first, Amelia was very shy but her confidence has come on in leaps and bounds. Fast-forward to now: she absolutely loves it, I’m still attending Rainbows as a volunteer and we have both grown in self-belief.’ – Katie Mellor
Rainbows has given my daughter more confidence within herself. She feels safe within her group and shares with the other girls – something she's reluctant to do in school.’ – Deborah McLardy
Honestly? Confidence. She’s very introverted and, although she only started in September, she is much more confident at dealing with social situations. She’s even stated that she wants to be a leader and eventually a Brown Owl.’ – Donna Fitch
It's the only club she just ran into without looking back, and she knew no-one when she started.’  – Sarah Phelps

2. Homemade arts, crafts, food and gifts

Parents, friends and family members love receiving their Rainbows’ hand-made creations, whether they're friendship bracelets, Valentine’s day cards, tea light holders, bouquets of flowers or sea creatures crafted out of recycled plastic bottles. Among our parents, holiday gifts, plants, edible goodies, art and poetry proved most popular.

Rachael Parry's daughter Eva, a Rainbow, in fancy dress as a plate with a homemade biscuit‘My daughter Eve just came home like this [pictured] and said: “I love that we do so many activities and my favourite is bringing food home”. – Rachael Parry
The best food-related treat had to be a spring roll as part of Chinese New Year celebrations!’ – Claire Lloyd
'My daughter made this [below] for Father’s Day... She stood and read it out to us on the morning and it was hard not to cry!’ – Donna Nunn

Walk With Me Daddy poem by Rainbow Helen Brush

My daughter came home with a beautiful craft that had kind words written about her by each of the other girls in her unit. We have stuck it up in the kitchen and, if she’s ever having a hard day, we go and read all the positive things it says, and it has never failed to help.’ – Robyn Armstrong

A couple guaranteed to make you go ‘aww’…

A box full of kisses for her Daddy.’ – Mildred Hubble 
My daughter knows I wear a heart necklace almost every day and so makes me things based around a heart: a heart-shaped Christmas decoration made from dough, a bulb planted in a pot with a sign that read “Mum” in a heart, plus lots more.’ – Emma Newell

And the award for most vintage Girlguiding craft goes to…

‘My daughter wrote this [below] when she was a Rainbow... back in 1988! She is now unit leader for Brownies and assistant at Guides, following her Nanna, Aunt and Mum. So proud.’ – Janice Smith

Letter from 1988 written by Rainbow Claire Smith

3. A big smile

Girls have a great time at Rainbows – it’s written all over their faces! – and a hard time keeping their Girlguiding adventures to themselves when they get back home.

The best thing I would say is the smile on her face after each session and how much her confidence has grown. She loves Rainbows.’ – Nicola Peters
She brings home the biggest smile in the entire world! My daughter asks if it’s Rainbows night every single day!’– Jessica Harris
Her own joy. My daughter is disabled and enjoys her Rainbows thoroughly with her entire heart.’ – Rebecca Jane Bell
Her excitement on ‘Rainbows day’ – seeing that smile is worth more than any gift.’ – Susan Martire
Happiness... My daughter comes home so happy and excited to tell us about her time at Rainbows.’ – Sally Brooks
My daughter never tells me what she's been doing at school, but she never shuts up about Rainbows!’ – Emma Wilkinson

Katie Mellor shared this photo of her niece Amelia's ‘beaming smile’: 

Katie Mellor's niece Amelia smiling in her Rainbows uniform

4. Badges and awards

According to parents, our wide programme of badges and awards are inspiring girls to try things they haven’t done before.

I love the variety of activities they undertake each month. It’s lovely to see my daughter interested in a wide range of new topics to gain her badges.’ – Emma Wells
For me, it's my daughter’s confidence – it has grown over the past couple of months since she joined – and her willingness to try something new for her badges.’ – Laura Tapscott
My daughter asked for her badges to be sewn onto a blanket and, every time she gets a new one, everyone has to see the updated blanket. She's so proud of it and it will be a lovely keepsake.’ – Hayley Burr

5. New skills

Rainbows is setting up girls with skills for life and igniting interests at a young age.

I love the variety of opportunities that Rainbows provides, like when she brought home a first aid kit (and the skills to use it) and learnt sign language.’ – Nicola Evans
As a Mum, it’s the sense of achievement when my daughter learns a new skill and is able to share it with others.’ – Sarah-Jayne Khwaja
My daughter loved the fact that she finally managed to learn to tie her shoelaces at Rainbows. She had tried for a long time but kept getting frustrated. The group really encouraged her to keep going and she’s finally cracked it!’ – Kati Ritchie-Roszkowiak
My daughters loved learning about using DIY tools at their local Girlguiding Girl Building day! That’s the way I learnt. So great to see so many girls breaking out of the stereotype. Rainbows rocks!’ – Emma Foster
We love the confidence Rainbows gives her and the life skills, all whilst having fun. It’s the best extracurricular activity going!’ – Kate Whittaker

And we love this anecdote…

When my daughter was a Rainbow, they were looking at first aid and she put my husband into the recovery position without hesitation that evening. Not bad for a five-year-old… He’s 6 foot 2 and didn’t help her!’ – Jillian Thorpe

6. Friends

A quarter of parents/guardians listed making friends and overcoming shyness or social anxiety as the biggest benefits their Rainbows have experienced through Girlguiding.

The biggest thing my daughter brought home from her time at Rainbows was friendship.’ – Daniel Notsevarg 
The confidence to go to – and love – her first sleepover, and the wonderful friendships she has made.’ – Emma Verrinder

Some parents even looked back on the friendships made during their own Girlguiding days:

I was the child of Army parents and moved regularly. For me, guiding was something of a constant and also a means of making new friends very fast in a new setting.’ – Jackie O’Sullivan

7. Unforgettable experiences

From toasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs to going on their very first sleepover and even seeing the Queen, Rainbows gives girls the opportunity to make memories they’ll treasure for the rest of their lives.

Amazing memories – waking up to lions roaring at safari park sleepovers, camping, meeting alpacas and a llama in the Guide Hut – too many to choose from!’ – Morag Eaton
The joy of toasting a marshmallow on a campfire.’ – Sarah Catherine
The best thing my youngest got from Rainbows was a trip to the Trooping of the Colour in London. Seeing the Queen was a huge thing to experience!’ – Harriet Wibberley
I love that both my daughters have learnt lots of my favourite campfire songs. We quite often blast them out together!’ – Elaine Cartney

8. Belief she can change the world

With badges on topics like Making change and Recycling, Rainbows are growing up with a passion for activism.

I’m very proud of her vigorous enthusiasm for recycling and protecting the planet, and also her growing independence.’ – Emma Osbourne
Her belief that she can make a difference in the world: she’s moved up to Brownies now but her Recycling and Helper badges were by far her favourites.’ – Rachel Louise
My daughter has a real passion for recycling. She is on a mission to save the planet. I love how her confidence has grown.’ – Denise Smith

9. Infectious enthusiasm that makes parents want to join in too

Many people commented on how Girlguiding has become a ‘family affair’ passed down from mother to daughter, or told stories about how they themselves had become involved off the back of their daughters joining Rainbows.

The leaders have all become friends of ours, and my daughter is now a Guide helper at Rainbows and wants to be a leader when she's old enough.’ – Rebecca Harrison
I am now a leader and my highlight was teaching a group of five-year-olds to skip. The smiles on their faces when they realised they could do it, just like the older girls, were priceless.’ – Elizabeth Jeffrey
I brought home a love for Girlguiding, same as my Mum, and I hope the same for if I have a little girl.’ – Raven Kneale
I became a leader in Rainbows a few months after my daughter began and I love it! I was doubtful in the beginning that I would be any good, but us girls can do anything – my self-esteem and belief in myself have certainly sprouted. It makes me regret not joining Guides as a wee lassie!’ – Denise Smith

10. Something… unusual

And finally… Slime? A brick? A pet haggis? Yes, these really are some of the oddities Rainbows have brought home to meet the parents…

An absolutely filthy top from a campfire day.’ – Natasha St
A brick from a trip to Bursledon Brickworks.’ – Shelley Harding
 A four-feet-high junk modelling robot! And, to make it even better: her friend’s parents had to look after it for the holidays, then brought it back to Rainbows to share with us!’ – Rachel Seymour
‘My daughter would say the best thing she brought home from Rainbows was the slime they made a couple of weeks ago.’ – Claire Moody-Grant

We'll admit that this little fellow is our favourite:

‘My gorgeous girl bought home with a little hairy creature and it was only after speaking with the leader that I found out it was a haggis. We had lots of laughs together!’ – Vicky Jacob

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