Tuesday, April 28, 2015

American Girl Club: Best Friends

For this month's American Girl Club, I decided to focus on some of the lesser known characters in the American Girl universe: The American Girl's best friends. These characters mainly come from the original series of American Girls. For my purposes I classified this group as Elizabeth Cole, Nellie O'Malley, Ruthie Smithens, Emily Bennett, and Ivy Ling.

My display of books and handouts about each friend.

My main reason for coming up with this program is increasing the number of American Girl programs I am able to offer without repeating a character. This is important because this program has many repeat attendees, and many kids who stick with the program all through 3rd-6th grades. Even with putting the program on hold each summer, there are only so many available characters we can learn about.

Another benefit of focusing on the best friends is that it allows me to highlight different aspects of each original American Girl's story. For instance, when we learned about Julie (from 1974) I touched on her celebrating Chinese New Year with her friend Ivy. In this program I was able to focus a little more on Ivy and her Chinese heritage. This adds a little diversity to the program, which is especially important considering the fact that the rest of the American Girl line is pretty lacking in this area.

  • Two sessions of 12 kids were registered. 
  • Age group: 3rd-6th graders.
  • The only cost involved was for our snacks (about $10 for each group).
What we did:
  • We had a discussion about the best friends. Each girl received a handout with information about each of the five best friend characters (taken from the character information websites linked above). I was pleasantly surprised with how much the kids remembered about these characters. 
  • The kids took a quiz from the American Girl website: "What is your friendship style?". Unfortunately this game has been removed from their website.
  • Our active games included British Bulldog (for Molly's British best friend Emily) and Catch the Dragon's Tail (in honor of Ivy)
  • Our final game was writing a collaborative fairy tale, in honor of our fairy tale fan Ruthie. I wrote the first sentence and each child added a sentence on to that. I have to say I was quite impressed when they wrote in a trip to Hogwarts!
  • To close out the program we made Chinese lanterns. We also enjoyed a snack of scones, fortune cookies Fritos (invented during the 30s, Ruthie's time period) and lemonade. I offered  a wordsearch for them to do during this time period as well.

How it went:
American Girl Club is always a hit at my library. This was the first time I have had to do two sessions because the demand was so high. The second session didn't fill up as much as I would have liked, but overall I think the attendees had a great time!

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

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