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

No comments:

Post a Comment