For my first post on this new blog, I will share a little bit about our most popular school age kid's program: American Girl Club. The basic idea of the program is that we learn about a different American Girl each month during the school year. It is geared towards 3rd-6th graders. It is one of the few programs where I have to be pretty strict about the age limit, mainly because it fills up so fast.
The girls often bring their dolls, but it is definitely not required. The dolls usually end up sitting to the side and watching the rest of the festivities.
We start each meeting by talking about the girl's time period and books. I always ask who has read the books, and what they know about the time period. Reading the books is not a requirement by any means, but I usually have a least one girl who has.
At this month's we talked about the Girl of the Year, Isabelle, who is from 2014, so this part was a little shorter than usual. For the historical girls, I will usually fill in historical events and context. I try to keep it as fun as possible. For instance, I might throw out ideas of few objects or inventions and ask if they existed in that time period.
After that brief discussion, we move on to the fun and games. Isabelle is a dancer, so that meant I had the girls doing several dance themed games. I always try to include at least one active game in my school age programs, to get the kids up and moving, so this tie in worked well.
We played "Pass the Dance" first. In this game, one girl game up with a dance move, which the next girl had to remember. She would then add her own move. It continued in succession with each girl adding her own move while remembering the moves that came before.
Our second game was a simple freeze dance game. I chose two girls to be the "dancemasters", and they were in charge of stopping the music and catching the girls that didn't "freeze" fast enough. I think the girl's favorite part of this game was that I had them dancing to the "Hamster Dance" song.
The highlight of this program was creating our own fashion designs out of aluminum foil. In addition to being a dancer, Isabelle wants to be a fashion designer, so this tied in perfectly.
Here is one of my favorite designs the girls came up with:
As always, we ended with a craft and snack. With the historical girls, I try to come up with snacks from their time period, or food mentioned in their books, but this time I got off easy.We ate cookies, chips and pink lemonade. I figured a ballet dance themed program needed something pink :)
For our craft I printed out some blank tutu and dress patterns for them to color and design. As a take home I printed out some word searches and activities from the American Girl website. For many of the dolls this site has teaching guides, which have come in handy many times for this program.
When it comes to planning, I've also used the "American Girls Party Book" and the "American Girl Club Handbook". They have game ideas, recipes and a lot of other great information about several of the earliest American Girl characters. Both books are both older, but still seem to be available on Amazon.
Feel free to ask questions about this program, or borrow these ideas for your own use :)