We had a really successful meeting with our Guide level unit last week – a Percy Jackson theme night. Percy Jackson is the star of the Lightning Thief series of books by Rick Riordan, that feature lots of action, fun, and info about the Greek Gods.
Only about a quarter of our girls had read the series but they were really excited for this night. The others had a great time learning about Greek Gods and doing our fun activities.
Here’s how we laid out the meeting.
We sorted the girls into “cabins.” In the book, Percy is a demigod – the son of Poseidon and a mortal mother. He is sent to Camp Half-Blood to study and live with other half-gods. Each of the 12 major Greek Gods (except Hades) has a “cabin” at the camp for their own children to live in.
To do the sort, I made up a “which Greek God are you” quiz, which the girls took. Then we had buttons for the girls to wear that identified their cabin, and posters up on the wall, one for each cabin, with details about that god or goddess. Once they knew which cabin they were in, most ran to read all about the god they had been identified with.
Downloads in the library: Percy Jackson Quiz, Percy Jackson Quiz Answers
Links: Unfortunately I can’t offer my “buttons” file for download as it contains proprietary artwork, but if you want to make your own, I used pictures of each god and goddess from the Riordan Wiki website. I still have my own set if you’d like to borrow them.
Borrow Items: The posters I made for each cabin are also copyrighted, but I have my set if you’d like to borrow them (use the contact info from this library entry). If you want to make your own, they came from this page on the Olympians Rule website – click each god name to download their info poster. This Pinterest Page also had a few more.
Once we finished our opening, I read them a passage from the first Percy Jackson book. There is a scene just a few pages in where Percy is on a field trip and is pulled aside by one of his teachers, Mrs. Dodds. She turns into a demon, he is thrown a pen by another teacher that turns into a sword, and he kills the demon – all this packed into just a page and a half. In my copy of the book this starts on page 11, so no matter what copy you have, it’s early.
At our guide-level meeting, we have time for three “stations” of about 15 minutes each. The girls are divided into three groups and rotate through the stations.
Station 1 – Artemis Cabin. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, so this station was about target practice. The girls were able to try:
- hitting a target on the wall with Nerf guns of various sizes and shapes; we also had a few Nerf bows and arrows to try
- tossing bean bags into a bucket and a target with holes cut into it
- hitting the bullseye on a magnetic dartboard
Firm rules of Artemis station:
- no shooting or aiming at other people, or you will be banned!
- respect the weapons expert (my older daughter, owner of all the Nerf stuff) at all times or you will be banned!
- when out of ammo, call a “CEASE FIRE” – all girls to stop shooting and gather ammunition
Downloads: PDF files to print your own Artemis info poster for this station
Borrows: I have my own Artemis poster for borrowing if you prefer – use the contact info on the Download link above. I also have my homemade targets for the bean bags and Nerf guns.
Station 2 – Poseidon Cabin. Poseidon is the god of the sea (and also Percy’s father), so this station was about water. The girls were able to try:
- making boats – we made boats from sponges, skewer sticks, and paper to cut sails. The girls experimented with different shapes and thicknesses of sponge; different lengths of stick; and different shapes for the sails. We then put them in a large flat tupperware bin and raced them by blowing on the sails, either with their mouth only or with a straw. We discussed which was the best boat design.
- sink or float test – we had a bag of items for the girls to first guess whether they would sink or float, then actually test in a pail of water to see the results.
Tips for this station:
- have lots of towels and paper towel on hand to clean up spills
- the sponges got really wet – perhaps experiment with foam or cork bottoms as well as sponges
- the boats stay upright better if you push the skewers all the way through and have a few inches sticking out of the bottom.
Downloads: Sink or Float guessing sheet, Sink or Float recommended items list, Poseidon poster materials
Borrow: Poseidon poster – use contact details from the download link above.
Station 3 – Dionysus Cabin. Dionysus is the god of wine, so we had the girls play with mixing drinks.
They had to first design their “recipe” for a perfect goddess – would she be honest, energetic, wise, beautiful, love animals, or some combination of all of these?
Then, they’d take a small amount of various drinks (juice, pops, lemonade) that corresponded to each personality trait for their goddess, mix up their drink, and give it a try!
Tips for this station:
- have LOTS of cups as you might need some to help with measuring in addition of a cup for each girl.
- have LOTS of measuring cups and spoons for the girls to use.
- have LOTS of paper towel around for spills.
- have a leader manning this station at ALL TIMES to make sure girls are not just guzzling pop! At the end of the station time, grab all leftovers and rush to pour them down the sink or else every girl will try to drink as much of the leftovers as possible.
Downloads: Recipe cards for inventing your perfect goddess and deciding how much of each drink to add; Dionysus poster materials
Borrow: Dionysus poster – use contact details from the download post above.
We close our our meetings with a group game. We played Capture the Flag – this was the “Ares Cabin” as Ares is the god of war, and there is a prominent Capture the Flag scene in the first Percy Jackson book.
We are lucky to have a large gym for our meeting space, and we used gymnastic mats as various obstacles for hiding. The “flags” were two stuffed dogs as dogs are one of Ares’ signature animals.
Downloads: Ares Cabin poster – or borrow mine if you like.
Some Other Ideas
Before we chose these activities for our meeting, we had a huge list we’d brainstormed, and some of these sound really fun. Here are some other ideas we had for a Percy Jackson themed night or camp.
Opening activity ideas:
- make Camp Half-Blood t-shirts – the campers in the Percy Jackson book wear orange shirts with Camp Half-Blood on them, which would be fun to create and decorate with fabric markers
- make Greek god bracelets – each god has a colour, so make a bracelet with one bead for each god, or use only one colour of your favourite god
- make a laurel leaf or olive leaf crown
Athena Cabin ideas:
- Invent your own greek god – what will she look like? What will her powers be? Draw a picture of her and images that show her powers.
- OR, do a mind puzzle of some kind – decode a message or do a crossword puzzle or solve a code.
- OR, learn to write in the Greek Alphabet – which is different than ours. Can you write your name or a secret message?
Dionysus Cabin ideas:
- Invent your own magical animal – what will it look like? Draw a picture of it or create it out of clay.
- OR, drink mixing station as described above!
Aphrodite Cabin ideas:
- Make a lovely piece of jewelry
- OR, make a pretty work of art or a craft
- OR, use paper dolls to design your own outfit
Hephestus Cabin ideas:
- Build something with tools! We probably don’t have time for each girl to make their own. But we could construct one item per group. Could be a birdhouse, a toy truck, a shelf, a wooden box – we would need to pre-cut the pieces and have everything ready. Girls can hammer or use an electric screwdriver to assemble.
- OR, play a game where one girl draws a card, then tries to sculpt that item with playdoh, while the others guess what it is.
Artemis Cabin ideas:
- Target practice with nerf guns and/or bows and arrows and/or bean bags. Anyone caught shooting other people will be punished with three running laps around the gym!
- Or, make a bow and arrow swap
Zeus Cabin ideas:
- Make a kite
- OR, make a craft that showcases the sky in some way
- OR, try making sparks with wintergreen life savers
Poseidon Cabin ideas:
- Make blue or green slime; add some ocean-themed beads or figures
- OR, make boats out of sponges and paper sails, and have races where you have to blow on the sail to make it move (as described above!)
- Or, do a water themed craft, like making your own seahorses from paper, paint, and jewels; or making little turtles from egg cartons, or waterlillies from torn paper and cupcake liners, or raindrop suncatchers using wax paper and melted blue crayons
Hera Cabin ideas:
- Learn about the 12 main gods – what are the powers of each, what are their signature colours/animals, which ones have a planet or constellation named for them.
Hermes Cabin ideas:
- Practice writing messages in secret code – or decode some messages. Who will you write a secret message to?
- Or, do a relay race of some kind
- Or, make a craft: wings to add to your shoes
Ares cabin ideas:
- minute to win it style games
- pin the eye on cyclops
- capture the flag (as described above!)
- singalong or karaoke
- make or invent a musical instrument from recycled items