Our March American Girl was Kit Kittredge, and I immediately wanted to focus on the Great Depression aspect of Kit’s life. I made sure to get some music for the entire program.
I once again did a Margaret Mildred Kittredge powerpoint. I gave a brief description about how the Great Depression started, how children “helped” during this time period, recycling, and past time amusements.
Our first activity was a Great Depression Store. I set-up a table with seven bowls (two of them not pictured) of broken crayons. I explained to the girls that people could not afford to buy new things during Kit’s period and had to reuse many items. If they did have money, people would have to weigh what was most essential to their families. I applied this idea to our own store. We were going to make new crayons out of old crayons.
I priced the blue, green, red, orange, and yellow bowls at one penny per crayon piece. My purple/pink and black/brown bowls were two pennies for one crayon piece. Each girl received 10 pennies and had to figure out how they wanted to spend their money. I also only allowed the girls to line up first. I explained that many parents would forgo necessities to allow their children to survive. The girls LOVED this activity.
After all the girls received their pieces, I had the parents/guardians line up. Many of these adults gave their pieces to their children in the spirit of the Great Depression.
We then had all the girls arrange their crayon pieces in a tin foil cup and placed it in our oven. There was definitely some cool color mixtures happening. My helper then placed all these tin foil cups in the freezer to speed up the process. Our final result was some neat crayons:
Our next project was kites! I explained how kites were a simple and very inexpensive amusement when no one has money. We had newspapers, straws, tape, yarn, crepe paper, and glue to create our own newspaper kites for the dolls. Some of the girls scoured for images they could incorporate in their design while others simple drew their own designs.
By the end of the program, I had girls running around with their kites. They actually do fly!
Overall, this might have been one of my favorite American Girl programs. The girls and adults seemed to really enjoy it.