Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Girl's History Club: Felicity Merriman (1774)

To continue the American Girl History Club Series, we are going to focus on Felicity Merriman. I chose to showcase Felicity in the month of April largely because of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride. I remembered how much I like the poem as a child and decided April would be the best month to talk about the Revolutionary War.

To prepare for the program, I visited the Colonial Willimasburg website: and . I also visited the American Girl's website: and the Mount Vernon website (did you know the Mount Vernon site has a link to "Harpsicord Hero"  how cool is that?!). I wanted to make sure I found some cool things for the girls to do and learn.

Two books that were extremly helpful in finding activites for the girls were Little Hands Celebrate America! by Jill Frankel Hauser and Colonial Kids: an Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Laurie Carlson.

The crafts I chose to use for the program were paper lanterns (to go with the poem Paul Revere's Ride by Hendry Wadsworth Longfellow), churning butter and making Wampum.

For the paper lantern craft, I found the instructions at . I found the instructions to be simple enough that on the third lantern I made, I no longer need to look at the instructions and felt comfortable teaching the kids how to make the lantern.

For the butter, wampum and rag rug crafts, I found them in the Colonial Kids book.

The wampum was really fun to make because I learned that you can dye pasta noodles with a little rubbing alcohol and food coloring. Since the wampum the colonist used when trading with the Native Americans was purple, I used red and blue food coloring. I tried a few different shades, and the one I like best was made of 10 red food coloring drops and 4 blue food coloring drops (the same you would use if you were dyeing eggs). All you have to do is drop the UNCOOKED noodles into the food coloring and let it sit for awhile. I let teh noodles sit for at least 10 minutes. Once they were dry, they were really cool!

The butter was really easy. All I did was put some heavy whipping cream in a baby food jar, tighten the lid and shake it vigorously until it thickened into butter. The liquid you see in the picture is just the buttermilk residue that comes when the butter seperates a little.

Monday, April 05, 2010

American Girl's History Club: Addy Walker

In February, I did another American Girl's History Club program and in honor of African American History Month, I chose to showcase Addy Walker. Addy Walker is the Pleasant Company's first American Girl of non-white origins and is still the only African American Historical figure for the company. Addy is a young slave who runs away on the Underground Railroad with her mother during the Civil War. Since quilts were such an important part of slave life, I had the girls design their own "Freedom Quilts" for their dolls. I had patterns that would have been used in the Freedom Quilts slaves owned, but also allowed them to make their own patterns. The girls had a blast creating quilts for their dolls.