Summer Camp: Craft Projects for the American Girl Doll Kirsten

Every June, I spend two fun-filled weeks teaching at a local summer camp. My fabulous team teachers and I always try to make learning as hands-on and entertaining for our campers as possible and this year’s lineup of activities certainly did just that. I’ll share our projects with all of you on the blog over the next few weeks. {Subscribe to our email feed here and be the first to know when our next post is published.}


Inspired by one of my tutoring student’s love of American Girl dolls, I was excited to pull together an American Girl doll class packed with crafts and activities based on two popular characters:


1. Kirsten, a pioneer girl whose family moves from Sweden to far away Minnesota, USA and


2. Samantha, a turn of the century orphan being raised by her wealthy grandmother.  {I’ll share Samantha’s projects on Thursday.}


Felt Rag Dolls


During our first week, my students and I spent each hour long class reading a new chapter from the book Meet Kirsten and then completing a fun follow up activity. Our first project {and one of the girls’  favorites!} was this rag doll activity inspired by Kirsten’s favorite doll, Suri.


To make them, I gave each girl a black poster board doll template I’d cut out, a pair of scissors and a fabric marker. Each girl chose her own piece of brightly colored felt to use for her doll’s body.
American Girl Rag Dolls {Playdough to Plato}

Then she was ready to get started:

American Girl Rag Dolls {Playdough to Plato}1. She traced the doll onto her piece of felt.

2. She cut along the line she’d drawn to make her doll.

3. She cut out other colors of felt to make hair and facial features. Then she glued the cut outs onto her doll’s body using No Sew Glue.

4. Finally, she created interchangeable clothing and accessories that she could mix and match to create various outfits.


Paper Quilts


Next on our to-do list were these simple and beautiful paper quilts. To start, I gave each girl a paper quilt template {available in the right hand column of this post}, a pair of scissors, a glue stick and a pile of 1 inch square scrapbook paper cut outs.

American Girl Paper Quilts {Playdough to Plato}

 With her supplies ready, each girl began working on the craft:

American Girl Paper Quilts {Playdough to Plato}

1. She cut around the outside border of her paper quilt template.

2. She picked out her favorite scrap book paper squares and glued one to each open spot on her template.

3. When the entire template was covered, she glued it to a larger piece of 8 inch x 8 inch scrapbook paper to create a quilt border.

Chromatrope Toy


And our final project of the week was this simple paper chroma trope toy.


To start, I gave each girl colored pencils, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, a piece of black poster board with a circle template and a copy of the chroma trope printout I found in Kirsten’s Craft Book.

American Girl Chromatrope Toy {Playdough to Plato}

With their supplies in place, each camper started working on her chroma trope toy.

American Girl Chromatrope Toy {Playdough to Plato}

1. She used colored pencils to decorate her chroma trope printout.

2. Then she cut around its outside border. She also cut out the circle I’d stenciled on a piece of black poster board.

3. She glued the front and back of the printout to her black circle.

4. I used the sharp tip of her scissors to widdle two small holes side-by-side in the center of her chroma trope. Each girl then strung a 12 inch piece of yarn through the holes and tied the ends together with a knot, making a circle.  Here’s a different angle of the finished product:

3 Awesome American Girl Doll Crafts. {Playdough to Plato}

The girls were eager to test out their pioneer toys and excitedly began twisting the chroma trope around and around until their strings were tightly wound. They laughed each time they let go of the chroma tropes and they spun around wildly. The simple paper toy was a huge hit!!

With week one of American Girl Doll Camp complete, we were excited to jump into week two. I’ll share our fun-filled crafts and activities on the blog Thursday.

Malia Hollowell

Malia Hollowell

Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mom to three young kids {5, 3 and 1}. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education {go Stanford Cardinal!} and spent seven years teaching in a classroom before taking time off to raise her little ones.
Malia Hollowell

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  1. Great ideas! We are just starting to get into the American Girls using the free American Girls Club on Currclick. I’ll have to add these to our idea box! Thanks!

  2. I’m not sure I understand how you get the chromatrope to work… how do you wind it? Thanks!

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