For January, we covered Caroline, a young girl during the War of 1812. I've been trying to familiarize myself with the stories before holding the programs, so I read 5 of the 6 Caroline books while we were planning our program. I can see why kids like them, but they were pretty torturous for me to read. Caroline's story, in particular, is disappointing because it moves so slowly. I skipped one book in the middle (because all our copies were out) and it really didn't seem like I missed anything. Anyway, here's what we did in the program.
We started, as always, with a short presentation on the time period. The War of 1812 is a particularly difficult one to explain because no one really won or lost and the girls didn't really seem to understand why anyone was fighting in the first place. We told them the "Star-Spangled Banner" had been written during the war and we tried to get them to sing along to it, but that wasn't terribly successful.
Since Caroline's father is a sailor and owns a shipyard and Caroline dreams of someday captaining her own ship, we taught the girls a very basic sailor's knot - the Flemish knot. We gave them each a short length of rope and showed them multiple times how to tie the knot. We explained that different knots are used for different purposes, particularly when sailing.
Our craft this time around was a simple decoder, which we found in a Caroline activity kit online. We created a coded message and the girls were to assemble their decoder and translate the message. Some of them struggled a bit, but of course we were around to offer help as needed.
Snacks have become a beloved tradition of our American Girl club and this time around we served them gingerbread bars. They went absolutely nuts for them, which is always good for my ego, and I had many a tiny girl clamoring for the recipe.
I am pleased that this program has continued to be a success and I'm glad that we get to teach the kids a little history with the dolls.