[Today’s post “American Girl Craft Camp: Summer Camp Series” is a guest post by Michelle Habrych.]
If your girl is anything like my daughter was, she enjoys playing with her dolls. My daughter had some American Girl dolls and loved having fashion shows with them. She read American Girl Magazine and she had fun with crafts, but when it came time to actually making crafts from the ideas she got in the magazine, it never happened.
That’s when I decided to make an American Girl craft camp for her and some of her friends. It resulted a fun week of crafts, games, treats, and time with girls and their dolls. Here are some ideas on how you can do this with your daughter and her friends.
Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.
Different Activity Categories for Your American Girl Craft Camp
We spread out activities over the week to include the following categories:
- Crafts for the Girls
- Crafts for the Dolls
- Games and Fun
Most of the ideas were taken from magazines published over eight years ago, so you may not be able to do the exact ones we did (if you want the directions), but I have found equally fun craft and recipe ideas and posted the links for you. Choose the ones that work best with your daughter and her doll.
Where to Find American Girl Craft Ideas
American Girl has so many video ideas of things to make for the girls and for the dolls, as well as recipes. There are many do-it-yourself ideas on Pinterest as well. If there is a specific item your girl wants to make for her doll, I suggest a search there first. The blog My Frugal Adventures has a lot of great DIY ideas, as does the blog AGDollPlay.
There are also many officially licensed AG craft kits, but I prefer to keep costs low and use what we had or what didn’t cost a lot. I also find from experience that the kids have more fun with making their own crafts, as it allows them a chance to be more creative than if they just followed a kit’s directions.
The American Girl Craft Camp’s Start
We started the camp with the girls making matching name tags for their dolls and themselves. They turned out really cute! This was helpful because not all of the girls knew each other very well (cousin of a friend and daughters of my mom friend who didn’t know my daughter and her friends joined the camp). Just cut circles from cardstock or construction paper. I let the girls decorate with stamps or stickers and markers. Be creative! Once it’s decorated, cover the tag in clear contact paper (or laminate), punch the hole, thread the yarn or ribbon, and tie a knot.
Crafts for the Girls
The girls made themselves bracelets, drew their own American Girl Magazine covers, and created “hairstyle helpers” (which was listed in my camp plans, but I cannot find a picture of or anything online about, so I have no idea what that was!).
For bracelets, you could try lots of different things—make friendship bracelets from embroidery floss (here are 4 different ways to make them) or cotton yarn; use stretchy cord and beads; or any of these styles on Joann’s website. If the girls wanted, you could also make a matching bracelet for their dolls!
As for the magazine covers, just take a piece of cardstock or drawing paper, some colored pencils or markers, and let them create. Another idea would be to collage a cover using old magazines. They could cut out letters to make words and faces to make the cover girl.
If you have digital drawing software, this would be a great project to make on the computer. Some places even allow you to print a photo as if it were the cover of a magazine. My daughter has one of her on a pony on the front of horse magazine.
Here’s one of many websites I found to do this. We got ours from Walgreens over a decade ago, but I don’t think they do it anymore.
Crafts for the American Girl dolls
There were many crafts we found for the girls to make for their dolls. My daughter’s favorite AG was Saige, who was an artist like my daughter, so one of the projects was to have them make AG size paintings.
We got mini canvases and easels and the girls got creative.
We also had chalkboard ornaments at the American Girl craft camp. They were really cute. I let the girls draw on those with colored chalk. You could also use chalk paint markers.
In honor of McKenna, the gymnast AG doll, the girls made a gymnastic ribbon for their dolls. Here’s the instructional site we used. You’ll need a dowel rod or two (depending on how many of these you are making), ribbon, hair elastics (for the loop to attach to the doll’s wrist), and a hot glue gun.
Here’s a cute button bracelet the girls made for their dolls. It only uses buttons (small ones will work best) and stretchy cord (or thread/string which fits through the buttonholes). If your girl wanted to make a matching one for herself, get some larger buttons and you’d definitely want to use the stretchy cord so she could remove it.
The girls made no-sew handbags for their dolls, as well as braided headbands. Both crafts were from a website that no longer exists. The headbands were just braided colorful yarn.
I found this tutorial video from AG on how to make an adorable lunch bag for your doll using colorful duct tape.
If your girl wants to make a protective mask for her doll, here’s a no-sew one from AG. You will need fabric in a colorful pattern (perhaps one that matches your daughter’s) and three hairbands (it appears in the video that they are two larger and one smaller).
We made ponchos for the dolls. You will need a piece of felt in whatever color you choose and a pair of scissors. You can add buttons or other embellishments as you wish. It was easy and fun. I did find it helpful to print instructions for each girl so she could work at her own speed.
The girls took some leftover yarn scraps I had and made little dolls for their AG dolls. They also took leftover scraps of fabric and created belts and wraps for their dolls.
More Doll Craft Fun Ideas
Here are some fun doll craft videos I discovered while working on this post. I thought you might like to check these out and add some to your American Girl craft camp:
- Make a derby hat for your doll
- Make a fancy drink for your doll
- Fashion a team pennant for your doll
- Make a mini “tie-dye” bag for your doll (using a purchased blank mini bag )
- Make a pompom rug for your doll
- Create rain boots for your doll from duct tape
- Make potted plants for your doll
- Make a storage ottoman for your doll
Games and Fun
For games with the campers and their dolls, we played “doll Pictionary,” in which the girls drew something related to American Girl for the others to guess.
The girls had a hairstyling contest.
Another fun activity we did was to try writing with feather quills, like Felicity would have done.
We played This or That (online version here) in which the girls talked about which thing they preferred, such as baking bread in the kitchen or picking vegetables in the garden. (We got ours from the magazine; you can find online lists or make your own.)
We also did a word search. This site has some online games, including picture puzzles, word jumbles, and quizzes.
For more active games, you could play musical chairs, hot potato, or freeze dance with the dolls. We also watched a few of the AG movies throughout the week (some are available streaming—ours were on DVD).
The girls had a great time in the kitchen too. American Girl Magazine always had recipes that looked good, so camp was a chance to try to make some of them. The favorite was the Pie Pops.
We used the recipe from the magazine, but here’s a version from All Recipes.
Instead of apple pie filling, we used different varieties of jam.
The other recipe from the magazine was Birthday Brownies.
Josefina Craft Ideas from Gena
Gena did a super fun unit study surrounding the American Girl doll Josefina.
Some of the activities she did were:
- Made homemade tortillas and empanadas
- Made serapes (ponchos)
- Leather stamping
Many of these could be added to your American Girl Craft Camp as well!
As you can see from the smiles on their faces, the girls had a great time at the American Girl craft camp! This was a fun way to spend a week at home. Since they are all inside activities, this can be done any time of year, but it was especially nice in the dog days of summer!
Download a Free Summer Camp Planning Guide!
Summer Camp Series Posts:
In addition to the American Girl Craft Camp, check out these other fun summer camp posts!
- Big Messy Art Camp
- National Treasure Camp
- Night at the Museum Camp
- American Girl Craft Camp
- Star Wars Camp
- Spy Camp
Bio of Guest Poster:
Michelle Habrych is the homeschool mom of one AG-loving girl, who is now a teenager and no longer plays with dolls. She enjoyed these days with her daughter and has taught camps like this out of her home for over a decade.