Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Resolve to Rock 2015: Final Checkup

At the beginning of the year, Storytime Underground was encouraging youth services librarians to share their professional goals for the new year. I reflected a little on my progress in this post, but wanted to provide an end of the year update for the ones I hadn't fully accomplished as of that point. Now that the year is over, I'm able to see exactly what I've managed to accomplish in the past 365 days.

Goals for 2015:
  • Offer more night and weekend programming. In 2015 I definitely will be trying more to accommodate working families by including more programs that work with their schedule. 
    • This is one I feel like am starting to make pretty good progress on. In 2015 I managed to include evening programs during storytime breaks (such as our Frozen Party), and a few very successful Saturday programs (like our Baby Sensory Time). In what I have scheduled of 2016 so far I've managed to increase my evening and weekend programming even more.
  • Expand our graphic novel collection. This is a popular format, and I am determined to find a way to overcome limited shelf space and make it more prominent.
    • Space constraints have continued to make this a difficult goal to accomplish. Definitely going to keep doing my best to expand this collection.
  • I want to try new preschool/toddler programming this year, such as a parachute play program and a dance party. I am going to try to combine this with my first goal by scheduling these as evening programs during storytime breaks.
    • I think I succeeded in trying some new and fun preschool/toddler programming in 2015. A parachute play program will likely require purchase of a larger parachute than my library currently owns.
  • Do more outreach to local preschools. I feel like I am developing a closer relationship with local elementary schools, but need to expand my efforts to younger kids as well.
    • In 2015 I managed several preschool tours throughout the year. I recently made a valuable connection with a local childcare center that I hope to explore further.
  • Make changes to our summer reading program. I have been debating how I want to go about this, but haven't come to any firm decisions. For sure I want to make changes to how I do reading logs for the youngest participants. A greater variety of non-reading literacy activities will definitely be included.
    • The changes I made to our reading logs were a great success. Participation in the program has continued to increase. 

Overall I think I accomplished the majority of my goals for 2015. I truly feel like I've continued to grow as a librarian, in large part due to being a part of a wonderful online community of other children's librarians. I truly appreciate the support, friendship and ideas shared. Wishing you all the best in 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

American Girl Holiday Party

The holiday season means one thing for our American Girl Club: Our annual holiday party!

The theme of this party is showcasing all the different ways the characters in the American Girl books celebrated the holiday season. We do games and crafts related to these celebrations and just generally have a great time. It is definitely one of my favorite programs I do with this age group.

We started out with our usual short group discussion. I went through each of the characters and gave a quick summary about which holiday they celebrate and what happens in their story. The holiday focused books were only published for the earliest groupings of American Girls, so this mainly focused on about 8 characters.

Our activities:


Human Dreidel

Image from

I found this game idea here, and it sounded like a great tie in to the celebration of Hanukkah. The version I came up with was pretty simple. I divided our program room floor into four spaces using masking tape on the floor. I wrote the words corresponding to each side of the dreidel on pieces of tagboard and taped those down as well. The kids were each given 8 gumdrops as their "gelt". I also set aside a small pile of gumdrops for them to prospectively win. Each child would spin around with their eyes closed, and the space they would land on would determine what happened to their "gelt". For more specific directions you can see the basic directions for the dreidel game here. The kids seemed to enjoy the activity, even though a couple were not a fan of the gumdrops.

Ornament Shuffle 

Photo from
This game was based on one called Steal the Treasure. Because I already had the floor divided into four parts I broke my group of 15 kids into 4 groups (I played on one team to make things even. Definite job perk!). I took four hula hoops and put 6 plastic bulb ornaments in each. The teams each had to steal ornaments from the others' hoops, all while following a few simple rules. For instance, they couldn't guard their "treasure" and they couldn't steal from the same teams hoop twice in a row. It was definitely a pretty fast past game, and a good one to get a little bit of the kids' extra energy.



 Gift exchange

Photo from
As a present to each girl I gave them each a paperback copy of an American Girl holiday book. These books came from an extra stash we've had since I started at my library five years ago. The club used to be ran in a more traditional "book club" format, and I guess at some point extra copies of many of the books were purchased. I've been lucky enough to be able to give these books away at every possible opportunity. If you do not have extra books to give away you could also substitute candy or other small prizes for this game. 

For our gift exchange game I try to do something different each year. This year we played a game I called "If you...". I can't remember where I found it, so if it sounds familiar please let me know. The basic idea is that you have the kids sit in chairs in a circle. One wrapped gift is on each chair. The kids all choose a chair and switch chairs based on "If you..." questions. The gifts stay on the chairs. For instance you could say "If you have a brother." and the kids who had brothers would have to get up and move to another chair. At the end they open the gift at whichever seat they are currently at. It is not only fun, it also helps the kids learn a little bit about each other. 

Snack and craft

Our craft was to decorate a printable template for a doll party hat. I used the one found here. As our snack we had a few different snacks representing some of the American Girl characters. We had popcorn (because Rebecca wanted to be in the movies), gingerbread cookies (because Samantha makes a gingerbread house), Fritos (invented during Kit's time period), and apple juice. This was also a time they could do a wordsearch or enjoy playing a Holiday ABC game. Feel free to use these printable activities in any and all programming.

Another great year of our American Girl Club has ended. To look back on some of the things we did you can head on over and check out my other American Girl related posts.

If you ever have any questions about this or any programs I'd love to answer them! Feel free to comment here, reach me on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets), or email me at marrak at

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ATLAS: DIY Gift Making with Tweens

Everybody loves presents, right?

Making presents is pretty fun too, so I figured it would be a good choice for December's ATLAS (At The Library After School). Gift giving is a pretty universal aspect of the holiday season (and a good thing to do year round), so it also provides a festive program that doesn't exclude any group that may not celebrate Christmas.

For this program I had three ready to make gift suggestions for my 3rd through 6th graders. I also gave them the freedom to make whatever else popped into their minds with the supplies. The goal was for the attendees to be as creative as possible, but at the same time make sure kids that were stumped for ideas had something to fall back on.

Supplies for this program were basically already on hand, although I did need to buy a box of Popsicle sticks. The only other cost involved was for snacks. Snacks are not necessary, but I chose to provide them mainly because I had hinted to a few kids that we may decorate cookies at this program but nixed that idea in my final planning. I figured as long as the kids were given some kind of treat they wouldn't be too disappointed! As it turned out nobody even brought it up.

The crafts

Fabric bookmarks:

I had leftover fabric from making superhero capes over the summer, so I cut it into bookmark sized rectangles and let the kids draw on it with fabric markers. I also provided string to make a tassel for bookmarks, which as it turns out was not the best decision because our hole punch couldn't go through the fabric. For the kids that wanted a tassel I ended up using scissors to cut a small hole myself.


Popsicle stick coasters

I found this idea at No Time For Flashcards. The basic idea is taping or gluing a group of Popsicle sticks together to create a homemade coaster. This was surprisingly one of the most popular gifts made.

The rainbow version.
The football themed version.

Candy cane ornaments

Inspiration for this craft came from The Fountain Avenue Kitchen. I decided to use it mainly for the purpose of getting rid of some unused pony beads in my craft cupboard.

In addition to these three main craft ideas, I also made additional suggestions such as Popsicle stick stars (made by gluing six Popsicle sticks into two triangles then gluing into a star), and Popsicle stick sleds (inspired by seeing pictures such as this one on Pinterest). I also provided construction paper, crayons and markers in case anyone was inspired to make a card for their loved ones. Brown paper bags were available for any gifts the kids wanted to keep secret. 

The atendees were all able to take gifts home, and some presents were given to their recipients on the spot. I was happy to provide an opportunity to supply holiday gifts that are both free and from the heart. If you've got any other creative gift ideas feel free to share them!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Booktalking 2.0: Books for Kindergartners and 1st graders

I truly enjoyed sharing the books I promoted at two of my local schools during the last school year. I have been back at it again, so I figured I'd start a new series of posts to cover this year's books. Because the schools have been so accommodating, the booktalking visits have been speeding along at a little faster pace than last year. The pace has been fast enough that I should be able to update you all two grades at a time. Without further ado, here are the books I shared with Kindergartners and 1st graders.

Books for Kindergartners:
  • Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio: This picture book chronicles the rise to fame of Bacon (the main character and "hero"). I like the retro style illustrations and the humor in the story. I am also all for anthropomorphizing food.
  • I'm Cool by Kate McMullan: A picture book on about a Zamboni seemed like it would have natural kid appeal, especially in a town so close to Detroit (aka "Hockeytown"). Vehicles and sports are always a winning combination. 
  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton: I wanted to include a picture book with a strong female character and this one about a warrior named Princess Pinecone fit the bill. As an added bonus it mentions farting. The first few pages made for a great read aloud; her big battle beginning was a natural cliffhanger.

Books for 1st graders:
  • Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka: Jon Scieszka is one of my all time favorite authors, and this is the first in his "Time Warp Trio" series. I wanted to include something on the upper end of the difficulty spectrum for first graders and this seemed like it would work perfectly. Comparisons to the popular "Magic Tree House" series seemed fitting, because both involve time travel. The first chapter of this book was my read aloud selection for this age group. It involves the characters being threatened by the Black Knight and definitely grabbed the kids' attention!
  • Don't throw it to Mo! by David Adler: This beginning reader is about a boy named Mo who loves playing football but isn't all that skilled at it. It also has a diverse main character, which I try to include in my booktalks as much as possible.
  • Frog and Friends celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve by Eve Bunting: I've shared "Frog and Friends" books in previous booktalks with first grade because it seems to fit well from a difficulty standpoint. With the holiday season approaching I figured this latest addition to the series would be a good choice.

Books shared with both grades:
  • We're in the wrong book! by Richard Byrne: Bella and Ben get bounced out of their story and into a variety of others. The tie ins to other stories (such as Red Riding Hood) make this a picture book with pretty broad appeal. 
  • I really like slop! by Mo Willems: I love all things "Elephant and Piggie" so I am always happy to share a new one as part of my booktalks. The gross out factor of slop was definitely a point in this book's favor.
  • How to swallow a pig by Steve Jenkins: This was my nonfiction selection for both grades. Animals are always a popular subject, and the kids seemed appropriately awed that a snake could swallow a pig whole. 

As usual, I've tried to include a range of difficulty levels and topics in my booktalks. I've also tried to include both fiction and nonfiction, and stick with newer titles as much as possible. Six books works well to fill my 15 minute visits to each class.

I hope these titles are of help for other librarians planning book talks, and anyone looking for book suggestions for this age group! I will be updating you on the titles I chose for 2nd and 3rd graders as soon as possible. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why I'm Thankful to be a Children's Librarian

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would share a few reasons I'm thankful to be a children's librarian. We all have rough days, so I figured a little reminder of the positive is always in order.

Reason #5: Children's librarian Twitter and blogs are the best.

The community of children's librarians on Twitter is incredible. They are a great source of amazing ideas and overall awesome people. As the only children's librarian at my library my Twitter friends also provide me with an invaluable system of support. I may have never met the majority of them, but I am so glad to have them in my professional life.

Reason #4: Children's librarians are always willing to share ideas.

One of the most important things children's librarian Twitter has taught me is how willing the community of children's librarians is to share their ideas. Many of the best ideas and programs I've done at my library have started with ideas taken from other wonderful children's librarians.

Reason #3: I get to do fun things just about every day. 

When I started out at my job I never could have guessed how many fun things I would get to do on a daily basis. I get to do things such as make a bubble wrap walkway, make slime and play with bubbles. What more could you ask for in a job?

Reason #2: I am able to work with books all the time.

I grew up as a reader so it is wonderful to get to work surrounded by books. Even if I don't necessarily get to spend my work day reading, I still able to enjoy books in so many other ways everyday. And even better I can share this love of books with children everyday.

Reason #1: The kids!

The kids I work with bring me so much joy. I am am honored to be able to make whatever difference I can in their lives.

Do you have any more reasons you are thankful for our profession this year? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, November 20, 2015

ATLAS: Diary of a Wimpy Kid "Old School" Release Party

Wimpy Kid fans are still plenty at my library, so of course we had to celebrate the release of the newest book. The "Old School" theme was easy to work with and definitely lent itself to a variety of fun activities. I had 12 3rd-6th graders attend, and they all seemed to enjoy the experience.


Here is what we did: 

Group discussion:
We started out with a discussion of what "Old School" is all about. The major theme of the book is that Greg's mom wants the people in their community to "unplug" from electronic activities and interact. As you'd suspect he'd be, Greg is against this. Because he is Greg Heffley he winds up in trouble and ends up having to do it against his will on a class camping trip.

Next I did a brief reading from the book. This was a great opportunity to fit books into the program, and show all attendees that reading aloud can be enjoyable with older kids. I probably only read about the first 10 pages, but it definitely was enough to give a taste of what the book was about.

After that I showed the kids some "old school" technology. I printed pictures of an old devices and asked the kids to identify them. This wound up being a hilarious addition. The 8 track player and pager had them particularly stumped.

Games and activities:
Our first game tied into the camping aspect of the book, and was called "bug bite" tag. I had sheets of circular stickers that I called "bugs". Each "it" had to place a "bug" onto the other players to tag them out. This was a game I found awhile back, so I'm not sure of the source. A great version of tag, one I will definitely use again in the future.

Also to fit in with the outdoorsy theme I decided to have the kids build "shelters" out of boxes. In order to challenge them to work together on this activity I broke them into two teams. I have to say I was impressed with both teams. What they came up with turned out really well!

For our craft I decided to have them make their own "diaries" out of construction paper and computer paper. This is a common craft that I've read about many other libraries doing at their "Wimpy Kid" parties, but I had yet to do it here. I like that it encourages writing and creativity!

As we were creating our diaries we had snack. To fit with the camping theme, I provided s'mores granola bars and chips. For our drink we had lemonade, because Greg has a lemonade stand in the story. While eating, kids could also do a wordsearch I created. I also asked a few Wimpy Kid trivia questions as they ate and worked.

I think the kids enjoyed themselves at this program and learned a little too. Most importantly they got to engage with one of their favorite books. Hopefully this will help them see how fun books can be, and encourage them to keep reading in the future!

Next month's ATLAS will be a DIY gift making party so if you have any suggestions feel free to share them!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Baby/Toddler Sensory Time

I'm always on the look out for fun and different activities to do with babies and toddlers, so when I read about the great sensory activities that Brooke, Laura, Mallory and others have done with babies I knew I had to try some of them myself.

One major reason I knew I wanted to try a program like this is that I wanted the chance to impress upon parents that sensory activities provide great benefits to babies and toddlers. Sensory experiences are how babies and toddlers learn about the world. They also provide a great opportunity to introduce new vocabulary and early scientific concepts. The other big reason I wanted to do this program is that getting messy with babies sounded like my idea of a fun time.

As I started out planning this event, the biggest obstacle I ran into was scheduling. I've been doing my best to include more evening and weekend programming for the sake of working parents. This seems to be particularly tricky to do for babies and toddlers. Afternoon and evening programs seemed like they would be difficult to do with this age because of bedtime and naps, so I decided to do the program on a Saturday morning. This seemed to work well. We had 10 babies and toddlers in attendance, which is a pretty good number for our small library.


The majority of supplies used for this program were ones we already owned. I spent about $10 on hair gel, pudding and other miscellaneous stuff at the grocery store. My big ticket expense was the $14 I spent on bubble wrap at Staples.  


What we did:

I started out the program with a short storytime in our Storytime Room. We read "Five for a Little One" by Chris Raschka and did a few simple songs and games related to our senses. These songs and games included "Five Fat Sausages", "Peekaboo", "Popcorn" and the "Touch Game". Words and sources for all these songs are available on my Storytime Page. This ended up being a great way to start the program because it gave people extra time to arrive before the fun and mess began.

Our stations:


Finger painting:

At a messy program like this, fingerpainting seemed a given. My main addition to the sensory experience was some scrunched up paper I took for a recent book delivery we received. A major bonus of this station is it gives the families something tangible to take home with them.

Water table: 

This station was something I used at a previous science storytime I did. Water play is always a hit, and creates minimal mess so it was definitely a great sensory experience to include.

Pool of scarves:

The idea of filling a pool with a sensory element came from Brooke. Instead of using balls I used our storytime scarves and extra scrunchy paper from the finger painting station. We've always used this pool for bubbles at our end of summer party, so I was very happy to get more use out of it.

Stained glass windows:

To create a "stained glass window" all you need to do is attach tissue paper to contact paper. I originally got this idea from Laura. I had extra contact paper leftover from covering numbers on our Children's Room ramp, so I was all set for this station as well. It ended up being a great one to keep older siblings who were tagging along occupied.

 Baby "car wash":

This "car wash" was another one of Brooke's ideas I used. Definitely fun for the babies to crawl under or just chill out.

Play area:

I put out our parachute and the toys I use for playtime after our Baby Storytime. I also put our our rhythm sticks, shaky eggs and bells. I especially loved seeing the babies use the toys and instruments as they explored other areas of the program.

Sensory bags:

The idea of taping baggies of full of sensory materials down and letting babies write on them is one I've seen on several of my favorite blogs. For my baggies I used chocolate pudding, paint, and the cheapest hair gel I could find. I also added magnetic marbles to each bag for an extra sensory element.

Bubble wrap walkway:

Last but not least, the hit of this program, my bubble wrap walkway. This was something I read about from both Laura and Brooke, and I am so glad I tried it. The babies loved it! It was the most expensive part of this program but totally worth it.

Here it is in use!

All this was an easy and fun program to do with my babies and toddlers. I'd give it a "thumbs up" for sure!

If you have any questions about this program I'd love to hear them! You can comment here or reach me on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets).

Thursday, October 29, 2015

American Girl Club: Meet Molly

This month's American Girl Club focused on Molly, an American Girl character from 1944. Like Felicity, she is one of the first American Girls, and therefore will always be a favorite of mine. She is also easy to plan for, especially if you search for activities that are related to celebration of the USA's Fourth of July.

The program started out with our usual discussion of the time period and Molly's books. Participation was even better than usual, because the kids seemed pretty familiar with the events of World War II. In particular, we talked about the hardships Molly and her family faced and how each family was required to do their part to help the war effort.

For our active game we played "Prisoner's Base", a game I found in the always helpful "American Girl Party Book". It is a version of tag that involves putting players from the opposite team in your team's "prison" and rescuing your own teams players from the other team's "prison".

Next we had a little contest to see who could make the most words out of Molly's full name: Molly Jean McIntire. This is always a fun little activity that can be adapted for use with any word/theme. The "winner's" treat was getting first pick of the free books I gave out from our stash of extras.

We ended with a craft and snack as usual. The craft was making flowers our of plastic bags. All you need to do this craft is about 4 plastic bag per child and some pipe cleaners. It did take a little assistance for the younger kids in the group, but most were able to do it pretty independently. Here are the instructions I gave each child.

As our snack we had star shaped jelly sandwiches, carrots (because Americans many grew "victory gardens" during World War II), M & Ms (invented during Molly's childhood), and juice. I was very impressed with the child who pointed out the M & M could stand for Molly McIntire because I hadn't even thought of that when I purchased them!

For information on my other American Girl related programs go to these posts:

If you ever have any questions about this or any programs I'd love to answer them! Feel free to comment here, reach me on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets), or email me at marrak at

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ATLAS: Spooky Science

Science programs are always a huge hit with my 3rd-6th graders, so this month we combined science with a Halloween theme to do Spooky Science.

I had five experiments planned, including making slime. As usual, I registered 12 kids for this one hour program. The biggest issue I ran into was that slime making was way more time intensive than I remembered from doing it a few years ago. We didn't have time to go through all five experiments, but the kids seemed to have a fun time anyways. My handout of instructions for each experiment is linked to in the title of each.

Experiment #1: Wiggly worms

Picture from
For this experiment you soak gummy worms in baking soda water then transferred them to a cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction is supposed to make the worms move. Word of warning, it only works if you slice the worms very thinly. This is also a good experiment to do first and come back to, because the worms do take a significant amount of time to soak.

Experiment #2: Magic Pumpkin

Image from
This is an optical illusion I found on Steve Spangler's website. There is a template of a pumpkin that you attach to skewer so that when you spin it you get a moving jack o lantern face. The explanation on the website was slightly confusing so I simplified it on my handout. The basic idea is that you glue two of the four pieces together, glue the others in half, and tape them on the skewer in a "plus sign" formation. For my skewers I used some leftover chopsticks I had in my storage cabinet.

Experiment #3: Slime

As I mentioned, this was the most time intensive part of this program. It still was messy, fun and definitely worth doing. There are many recipes online, and many variations you can make. One of my favorite variations is using clear glue, adding a paint called GlowAway and making your slime glow in the dark.

Experiment  #4: Ghost cup

Image from

This was one of the experiments I sent home because we didn't have time to do it. I found it on the website "Science Bob" listed as a chicken cup. It is a lesson in friction, as well as sound amplification. I don't remember how I figured this out, but if you pull the paper towel in a longer stroke, it sounds like a ghost. My tip for this experiment is to make sure to cut holes in each cup ahead of time.

Experiment #5: Dancing ghost

Image from
This is a simply activity done with a tissue and a balloon. You cut a ghost out of the tissue, rub the balloon in your hair, and use the static energy to lift the ghost. This was definitely the easiest and most simple experiment we did. It was another one I first found on Science Bob.

How it went
We accomplished three experiments in the program, and I sent two of them home. The slime seemed to be the most popular activity, followed by the magic pumpkin. Overall, this was a fun program that was relatively inexpensive. It cost about $20, but only because I had to buy new containers of glue and Borax for slime making.

Feel free to use these experiments and handouts at library programs or any other opportunity you may have. I would love to hear about how they have been used! You can comment here, email me at marrak at libcoop dot net, or find me on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets). 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Frozen Family Fun Night

The idea for this recent program began from two separate goals I had. The first was to include more evening programs for working families. The second was to find a high appeal program that would draw large crowds and combat the beginning of the school year attendance dip. I figured I might as well take advantage of  the kids' remaining Frozen fever and kick of the school year with a bang.

To add to the draw of the program I hired a performer to be our Elsa for the night. I think it worked pretty well, because we had about 70 children come! We started our program by having Elsa read a story to the kids. The book I chose was called "An Amazing Snowman" by Barbara Hicks.

After the story we broke into six different stations. In choosing the stations I did my best to accommodate a wide variety of activities and age levels.

Snowball Toss

Supplies needed:
Foam balls (found at craft stores)
Plastic bins (purchased at our Dollar Store)

This was a simple activity where kids had to throw the foam balls into the bins. The younger kids stayed occupied throwing the balls, while some of the older kids liked the challenge of getting the balls into the farthest bin.

Pin the Nose on Olaf

Supplies needed:
Printable template (found here)

Kids used tape to give Olaf back his nose. A fun addition, but I think more kids would have done it if I had an adult available to consistently help them.

Make an Olaf puppet

Supplies needed:
Paper plates
Cut out noses
Popsicle sticks

I had the kids add a noses, eye stickers and black circular stickers to create an Olaf face. A popsicle stick taped to the back and you've got a pretty cute little puppet. This also creates a great opportunity to encourage developing literacy skills through imaginative play!

Build a Marshmallow Castle

Supplies needed:

I've done marshmallow building with school age kids several times. It is pretty inexpensive and is always a big hit. I wanted to include something that appealed to older kids, so I figured this would work well. The only problem was that the ten bags of marshmallows I bought didn't appear to be quite enough.

Craft station

Supplies needed:
Frozen coloring pages
Foam snowflakes
Construction paper

I happened to have extra foam snowflakes and stickers in my craft cabinet so I figured I'd put them out to be used up. I supplied glitter glue, crayons and construction paper for the kids to create as they wish. I also printed out some Frozen themed coloring pages.

Pictures with Elsa

I wasn't going to let the kids leave without a picture with our Elsa. She was multi-talented and also made balloon animals for us. The backdrop was a last minute addition, made by painting over some large foam snowflakes I had on hand.

To complete the party, I also provided snacks, including carrots (Olaf noses), pretzels (Sven's Antlers), and Frozen fruit snacks.

Overall, I think this party was a success. It was fun and definitely brought in the large crowds I was looking for. If you have any questions about it, I'd be happy to answer them. I'd also love to hear about what programs have been big draws at other libraries!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

American Girl Club: Meet Felicity

For this month's American Girl Club, we learned about Felicity. She is one of the first American Girl's that came out, and I remember her fondly from my childhood. For this reason I try not think about how long it has been since she was released.

Here is a quick overview of what this monthly program usually looks like:
  • One session of 12 kids were registered. 
  • Age group: 3rd-6th graders. 
  • Length: One hour
  • The only cost involved is usually for snacks (about $10).

Felicity is a spunky and independent girl from 1774, and also seems to be a favorite among the kids at my library. Her stories focus on the period before the American Revolution and are set in Colonial Virginia.

As usual, we started out with a brief discussion and overview of Felicity's stories. It is always nice to talk about a time period the kids are relatively familiar with, so we had some good discussion. I brought up events like the Boston Tea Party, and themes such as patriotism and independence.

Once our 10-15 minute discussion was over, we moved on to our Felicity themed games. Our first game was found in the American Girls Party Book, and is called Frog in the Middle. It is a simple game that involves one child sitting on a chair while the other children walk around them. The child in the chair must try to tag the others without getting up out of the chair. I thought it was a good example of a simple parlor game that would have been played in Felicity's time period.

Image from

Our second game was my simplified take on badminton, which has been played in Europe for centuries. In the Colonial times it would have been called battledore and shuttlecock. Instead of rackets we used paper plates with Popsicle sticks taped to the back as handles. Instead of birdies/shuttlecocks we used balloons. We broke into partners and had to hit the balloon back and forth as many times as possible. The kids had a great time, although we did get two balloons temporarily stuck on our meeting room ceiling.

Image from

Our last activity was decorative paper cutting, also known as Papyrotamia. This was another activity I found in the American Girls Party Book. They provide templates in the book, but there seem to be other templates available online if you search paper cutting patterns. The craft seemed to work well from a difficulty level standpoint with this age group.

We closed out the program with a snack. I served apples, gingersnaps, scones and apple juice. The apples were chosen because in the books Felicity's mother uses them to illustrate the idea of beautiful things and acts remaining unseen. She cuts an apple and shows Felicity the shape that appears inside. Scones served as a tie to Britain, and gingersnaps are a cookie eaten during that time period. As a snack time/take home activity I provided a wordsearch I made about Felicity.

For information on my other American Girl related programs go to these posts:

So glad to be back doing this series and getting the school year programs up and running! Let me know if you have any questions or ideas to share.