American Girl: Melody Ellison (September 2016)

For my fall kick-off, I picked Melody Ellison to celebrate. I’ve known since last Spring that I would like to create a program around her.Melody’s books are full of different ideas and approaches. I decided to focus on her singing and gardening.

Melody is active in her church. An element of many churches, not all, are stained glass windows. I immediately decided to tie-in stained glass artwork. I gave the participants examples of different stained glass windows. Some of them were religious while others were just pretty windows. I did do a traditional template of church window to keep it some what tied to Melody, but I let the kids go wild with their designs.

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The second portion of the program was the gardening aspect. I really struggled with what I wanted the kids to plant. Do I do flowers or something easier? What about the cold weather? I actually decided to do grass! It’s fairly easy to grow in cups, and I told them if they took care of their grass they could cut and style it. I ended putting out sharpie paint pens and allowed to them decorate their cups.

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Our snack was pretty simple. POPSICLES! I let the kids and parents have at least two of them.

American Girl: Felicity Merriman (April 2016)

My last American Girl session was based on Felicity Merriman. Felicity’s doll has been retired since 2011. However, this did not stop us from putting a program together. My AMG helper, Haley, will be leaving for college in Fall, and I gave her the opportunity to help plan the last session. She decided on Felicity and it was absolutely terrific.

We both loved the idea of doing a general store in honor of Felicity’s family own store. We opted to tie the general store in with hat making. Hats and ribbons were extremely popular during Felicity’s era, and we wanted the participants to get a feel for how someone might have decorated their hat and purchased items from a general store.

We gave the girls buttons to use as their money, and Haley set the prices. She ran this store the entire time. There were ribbons, feathers, and little decorations available for “purchase.” It is awesome to see kids weigh how they want to spend their money.

I wanted to keep the cost down fairly low, and I realized that true hats were going to be a bit expensive for 60 people. Haley and I came up with the idea of taking a paper bowl and flipping it over. We figured that the paper substance would lend itself to being decorated better than Styrofoam. I did paint them yellow to give them a “fancier” look.

I also wanted to provide the participants with a decoration that they would not have to buy. Solution: paper flowers! I had tiny tissue paper that worked perfectly with making tiny flowers. The kids could either put them on their hats or make a bouquet. I will warn you that the tiny flowers take lots of patience.

Our snack for this final session was fruit punch and flummery. Apparently, flummery was very popular during Felicity’s time and we wanted to give everyone a taste of it.

Overall, one of my favorite AMG sessions. It was super easy to put together and everyone had a nice time.

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