Every year, American Girl releases a new "Girl of the Year". The "Girl of the Year" has stories set in present day, and is only available for one year. This is kind of a good news/bad news situation for my library's American Girl Club. The good news is there is a new American Girl to focus on, which always seems to excite the kids that attend. The bad news is coming up with new activities can be difficult, because there is no historical time period to fall back on. I kind of have to pick a theme or two from the girl's stories and run with it.
The theme for this year's "Girl of the Year", Grace Thomas, turned out to be Paris, France. This worked out particularly well because I was able to pull from the ideas I compiled when our summer reading theme was "One World, Many Stories".
|Image from openclipart.org|
Here is what we did when we learned about Grace:
We started out discussing Grace, her trip to France and love of baking. The girls were pretty familiar with the stories, which is always a good thing. I asked questions about the good and bad aspects of travel, and talked about how Grace and her friends want to start a business. We followed up with the "Which Cupcake Are You" personality quiz from American Girl's Grace Event Kit. Unfortunately this quiz is no longer available on their website.
Next we played a game called "The Beret". It basically involves breaking the kids into two groups and assigning numbers to each. There are two people assigned to each number. Each child must try to be the first to grab a beret from the center of the room when I call their number. The kids got pretty active with this one and seemed to really enjoy it.
Our third and final group activity was trying to make the Eiffel Tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks. I gave each table a pack of marshmallows, a box of toothpicks and a picture of the Eiffel Tower and told them to see what they could come up with.
Here are some of the results:
|Even the dolls ended up in a sugar coma.|
We closed out the program by having a snack of French bread, macaroon cookies, sugar cookies and grape juice. While eating their snack the kids could work on an American Girl coloring page, or do a wordsearch about Grace. Unfortunately, these resources were also later removed from the American Girl website.
One of my favorite things about this program was the fact that it exposed the kids to the culture of a new country. The ideas would definitely work well for any France themed programming you may be planning. They would also be great to include for any programs held when Grace's new book comes out in May.
- Samantha, from 1904
- Caroline, from 1812
- Kaya, from 1764
- Addy, from 1864
- Josefina, from 1824
- Isabelle, 2014 Girl of the Year