American Girl: Kit Kittredge (March 2015)

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

American Girl: Kirsten Larson (January 2015)

Kirsten Larson might be retired, but she made a reappearance as our very first American Girl for our series. To get the public excited I made a mini display at our American Girl table with Kirsten’s books.

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For my actual program, I started with a powerpoint about Kirsten Larson. I kept it fairly short, as all of the kids are in school. I talked about where Kirsten was born and why her family moved. I then very briefly talked about why they moved to Minnesota and what Kirsten’s family would have sought in this new land. This included what kind of chores Kirsten was expected to do and what she might have to do for fun.

I explained that Kirsten most likely did quilting as a fun activity. I did not want to hand out needles to little kids, so I found an alternative at Playdough to Plato. Scrapbook paper! I had a volunteer die-cut a bunch of one inch squares for me. I then made a simple quilt template for the kids. I then let the kids and their adults loose.

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I gave a good thirty to forty minutes for the kids to design and glue their quilt together. Once someone was done with their quilt, I came around with different colored card stock for their border. I did not do any funky colors, as I wanted the quilts to be more authentic.

There were some really cool quilts!

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After we were done making our quilts. We switched gears to the chores that Kirsten would have completed. One of these was making butter! I explained that she probably churned butter, but we were making butter with our shaking skills. The kids had a BLAST with this activity.

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Once we were done making butter I gave everyone bread to eat with their homemade butter. I actually some of the kids licking butter out of the jars!

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This was a very successfully program. I actually had several parents/guardians ask me for the recipe to make the butter, as they wanted to do it at home!