Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American Girl - Jess

This month we have been studying the American Girl of the Year (2006) Jess.  Jess and her parents temporarily live in Belize so that her parents, who are archaeologists, can study Ancient Mayan ruins.

We learned a lot about the Ancient Mayan culture.  There is a great video on Brain Pop Jr. about the Ancient Mayans.

Lydia used modeling blocks to create a Mayan temple.

Some interesting facts we learned about the Mayan culture:

**The Mayans enhanced the beauty of their children by strapping a board to their forehead.  It created a flattened surface on the child's head.
**They would make their babies crossed eyed, because it was a sign of money and influence.
**They were advanced in medical and scientific technology.
**The Mayans used ball courts to settle disputes.  It was a very nasty game of dodgeball.  The ones who survived...won!
**The Mayans had multiple calendars.

We also watched this nice video we found at the library.  It was full of information, but only 20 minutes long.....so perfect for Lydia's attention span.
Our culture meal was Belize chicken.  It's a stewed chicken served with red beans and rice w/ green chilies.  We had some mashed avocado with ours....it was yummy, but could've used more flavor.

Because Jess and Sarita both slept in hammocks, we even made a hammock for our doll.

The hammock is about 31 inches long.  And 15 inches wide.  I doubled the fabric, so it will be bright on both sides.

 Once you sew the sides together, I made 1 1/2 inch pocket for the string and doll rod on both ends of the fabric.
 I used indoor/outdoor clothesline
 Tie 32 inches of string evenly after threading through pocket.
 I added a 3/8 inch doll into each end also.  I was able to cut a small hole in the pocket to slide the rod in so that it stays in place.  This was an adjustment compared to what I did on the previous ones.
 It was then ready to hang up.

We read about the jungles of Belize, and tried out some survival tips, such as building tents and tying knots.

We watching Man Vs. Wild on Netflix.  There is an episode on the jungles of Belize....and we were able to sit an see many of the same things that Jess saw while she was on her adventure with Mr. Bol and Sarita.
We also broke out a Crystal Mining kit that I have had put up for a while...this was sooooo messy.  Plaster was all over.  But Lydia loved doing it.

We had fun planning this game for our American Girl Party.  We created an Archaeology dig game.  First I printed an Ancient Mayan tablet.  

Using a ruler, I drew a puzzle on the back and marked the pieces (because we will be running two boxes).
 Then I laminated them.
Cut them apart and hid them in boxes with shredded paper.

 We added sectional strings with yarn and we are ready to go!
I tried to set this game up on a table cloth, but it still got messy.  I would have a table cloth for each box if I was to plan this again.
At our party we made these  tropical birds in honor of 'Pippi'...the baby parrot.

We had so much fun reading Jess and learning about Belize and the Mayan Culture.  Next week we start Caroline!!!

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