Wednesday, January 28, 2015

American Girl Club: Meet Samantha

Our American Girl Club met again this January, and this time we learned about Samantha. Samantha is one of the original four American Girls and her stories are set in 1904. She was one of my favorites as a kid and remains among the most popular American Girl dolls. I personally like the focus Samantha's stories put on equal rights, as a big part of Samantha's narrative involves fair labor conditions and women's suffrage.

We started out with a short discussion of Samantha's stories. We had some good sharing from kids who had read Samantha's books, which always makes things go more smoothly.

It is hard to come up with an active game to fit Samantha's time period because for the most part it seems very prim and proper. To get the kids up and moving I included two activities I thought fit: a note passing game and a relay race.

Samantha and her friend pass notes in school by wrapping them around a pencil and sliding them from one pencil to another. I had the kids practice this as a group, but it could also be done in pairs or as an individual center activity. I got the idea for this game from the Samantha Event Kit, which has unfortunately been removed from the American Girl website.

Because Samantha's social standing and time period involved a lot of etiquette training, our next activity was meant to demonstrate the idea of "proper" posture. We had a mini relay race that involved walking with books on our heads. In the past I've combined this kind of race with a short curtsey practice, but decided to skip that part this time.

I found the inspiration for our final game here. I modified the game "Please I've Come to Learn the Trade" by turning it into a game of what I called "Job Charades". I wrote jobs on slips of paper for each attendee to pick and act out for the others. My favorite was "rock star". This was a fun game and seemed to be the hit of this program.

We ended the program by making "calling cards" out of pieces of tagboard. The concept of having to leave a card for someone if they weren't home when you visited seemed to be a little hard for the kids to understand. They still seemed to enjoy decorating their cards.

While they decorated they had a snack of cucumber sandwiches and ginger snaps, both foods mentioned in Samantha's stories. These snacks were the only thing I spent money on for this program and cost less than $10.

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

Our next American Girl Club will focus on Grace, the Girl of the Year for 2015. Any suggestions for games or activities would be greatly appreciated!

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