The 10th Kettering Rainbows are celebrating Chinese New Year.
This involves a number of games and lots of shouting and giggling.
Their first game involves mastering the art of chopsticks. In groups of five, they have one bowl full of raisins, Cheerios and chocolate buttons, one empty bowl and a pair of chopsticks. They must transfer as many items from one bowl to the next using only their chopsticks.
There is a look of serious concentration on each of the girl’s faces as they take on the challenge, but several of them are laughing too much to be any good at the game.
After a bit of practice, they line up in three queues and take it in turns to see how many sweets they can transfer with the chopsticks in 30 seconds, all overseen by a ‘master of ceremonies’ – a Rainbow wearing a Chinese-patterned jacket.
As soon as she shouts ‘Go!’, the girls start cheering for the Rainbow at the front of their line. In all the excitement, there aren’t many sweets that make it from one bowl to the next, but the girls have fun regardless.
The evening also includes a dragon dance, where the Rainbows take it in turns to wear a Chinese dragon head, and they make red envelopes, which are traditionally filled with money given to loved ones. The Rainbows’ envelopes contained a chocolate coin, which they seem to like better than real money.
Harriet Wells, six, has been a Rainbow for more than a year.
She said: “It’s fun and I like playing games.”
Scarlet Cumming, six, says her favourite game is the hedgehog game. She said: “We get the parachute out and everyone throws their teddies in the middle.”
One in seven six-year-old girls in the UK is in the Rainbows, making it the most popular youth group for that age in the country.
The Rainbows, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is for girls aged five to seven and caters for children too young to join the Brownies.
There is a uniform, which consists of trousers, a t-shirt and a hooded top, and they make a simple promise: “I promise that I will do my best to love my God and to be kind and helpful.”
They take part in a programme called the Rainbow Jigsaw, which is made up of four areas – look, learn, laugh and love.
Through a series of games and activities, the Rainbows learn about their own environment and cultures around the world, they learn new crafts and skills, sing songs and learn about caring for other people.
They also work towards badges, such as the Royal wedding badge where the girls had to design a wedding dress for Kate Middleton and a Princess badge where you hold a princess party.
The group is currently working towards the Big Birthday Challenge badge to mark the Rainbows’ 25th anniversary.
Jo Nevett has been a Rainbow leader, or Blackbird, for five years.
She said: “My daughter was a Rainbow and she really enjoyed it. The pack was going to fold because they couldn’t find leaders and that’s when I decided to get involved.
“It is not too difficult to amuse them. They just like being together, it isn’t rocket science to make them happy.
“I hope that they learn something and I hope to inspire them and help them to have fun.
It is not school so it really is all about fun.”