After 7 years of running our library's American Girl Club, keeping the program new and interesting can be a bit of a challenge. This is one big reason I am always happy when American Girl introduces a new historical character. This fall they introduced Nanea Mitchell, an American Girl living in Hawaii during 1941. Recently our club focused on Nanea for the first time.
To come up with ideas for Nanea I used the event kit put out by American Girl. These kits are a great resource, but tend to be taken down after a period of time, so if you are interested in these printables I would download asap them. In general I found Nanea a pretty easy to plan for, because you can draw from both Hawaiian themed activities and patriotic ones that are related to WWII.
We started the program with discussion about the time period, Hawaii and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I focused on Nanea's desire to help with the war effort by having them take the "Dip your Paddle in Quiz" found in the activity booklet.
Next we played a game of Hukilau. It is pretty similar to London Bridges, but involves the well known Hawaiian tune, "Hukilau". Two kids link arms to form a "net" that the other kids walk through as "Hukilau" plays. When the line about the "ama-ama come swimming to me" comes, they drop their "net" and trap whoever is underneath. It definitely seemed to go over well.
After that we did a version of Simon Says called Kuma Hula Says. Kuma Hulas, like Nanea's grandmother, are experts in their art and the kids got to take turns playing the part. We used hula moves as our actions, but you could let the kids get creative by including others.
Our last activity was making leis. We used the printable flowers that the America Girl event kit provides and pieces of colored straw to make them. They kids strung both on yarn to make their leis. I got this idea from The Bird Feed NYC. As we made our leis we had a snack of pineapple salsa, Rice Krispie treats (invented in the 1940s) and cookies with M&Ms (also invented in the 1940s).
It was definitely nice to change things up, and I think the kids at the program had a great time. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about this program or any others I have posted.