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February 11, 2016

Girl Power: Beyond the Fairy Tale

By Lindsey Petlak
Grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    I love the #likeagirl campaign that you might have seen on TV or YouTube. It honestly brings me to tears. I also am a huge fan of the new versions of classic fairy tales that seem to be more and more prominent. Thinking about these two interests, I created an after-school girls’ club this fall aimed at lifting each other up, pushing our own boundaries to take on new challenges, and examining classic princess characters and their newer, bolder, more independent portrayals.

    This first club series focused on the new version of the classic, Alice in Wonderland. In this movie version, Alice’s “muchness” is in question. We learned about our own “muchness” (qualities, traits, character) to kick off our club. Check out a few of my favorite activities from our club below. In addition to making items to boost our own self-esteem, we focused on lifting up OTHERS, and teamwork. These were so fun, inspirational, and promoted paying-it-forward. Most of the ideas are things you could whip up and implement tomorrow!

     


     

    FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS:

    Each young lady brainstormed a list of “muchness” words or phrases to describe their friends or another special girl or woman in their life. Using a simple bead kit available at nearly any craft or even dollar store, each girl made friendship bracelets featuring letter beads in the center that spell out a “muchness” word describing their friend or other special female in their life. Then, the girls hand-delivered these gifts to their recipients the following day. Talk about spreading the love!


     

    DOOR HANGERS:

    Similar to the friendship bracelets, we brainstormed “muchness” character traits, but this time, for our teachers! Students used inexpensive foam door hangers, stickers, foam shapes, markers, and more to decorate simple door hangers, making sure to focus on the character traits they admired about the teacher of their choice. The best part was sneaking around the school (after-school) and hanging them on each teacher’s door. They were so surprised when they came to unlock their classrooms the next morning!

     


     

    POCKET COMPLIMENTS:

    Sometimes it is tough to start conversations with other girls, and it can even be awkward to give out compliments. After watching this awesome pay-it-forward video from Kid President (LOVE HIM!), we worked on our own list of compliments that would make other people smile. Once they had compiled a list of at least a dozen quick, simple compliment statements, the girls wrote them on slips of scrapbook paper. They then cut out the strips, folded them up, and put them into these adorable change purse party favors (four to six in a bag for only a few bucks). The change purses had little key rings, so they could hook them on their belt loops or backpacks and pull out compliments to say to peers easily throughout the day.


     


     

    STEM CHALLENGE:

    The girls worked hard together to build houses of cards from the Red Queen, using different sized playing cards as our first STEM challenge. It wasn’t easy! Our final session before our celebratory tea party was a STEM design challenge based off of the White Rabbit character from Alice in Wonderland! See how we set up this experience on our STEMagination Station site. Check out our White Rabbit Challenge teaser video trailer, which really hooked the kiddos, and the collage shows you each step of the challenge. Since this activity requires only random recycled junk materials, it’s free, fun, and a fabulous way to get girls engaged in meaningful STEM!

     

     


    Pump up some girl power (but really ANYONE can do these fun activities) and let me know how it goes! It was amazing to see the mindset shifts and confidence boost that this experience gave the young ladies. I love challenging norms about what it means to do things #likeagirl! Thanks for reading!  -Lindsey

    I love the #likeagirl campaign that you might have seen on TV or YouTube. It honestly brings me to tears. I also am a huge fan of the new versions of classic fairy tales that seem to be more and more prominent. Thinking about these two interests, I created an after-school girls’ club this fall aimed at lifting each other up, pushing our own boundaries to take on new challenges, and examining classic princess characters and their newer, bolder, more independent portrayals.

    This first club series focused on the new version of the classic, Alice in Wonderland. In this movie version, Alice’s “muchness” is in question. We learned about our own “muchness” (qualities, traits, character) to kick off our club. Check out a few of my favorite activities from our club below. In addition to making items to boost our own self-esteem, we focused on lifting up OTHERS, and teamwork. These were so fun, inspirational, and promoted paying-it-forward. Most of the ideas are things you could whip up and implement tomorrow!

     


     

    FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS:

    Each young lady brainstormed a list of “muchness” words or phrases to describe their friends or another special girl or woman in their life. Using a simple bead kit available at nearly any craft or even dollar store, each girl made friendship bracelets featuring letter beads in the center that spell out a “muchness” word describing their friend or other special female in their life. Then, the girls hand-delivered these gifts to their recipients the following day. Talk about spreading the love!


     

    DOOR HANGERS:

    Similar to the friendship bracelets, we brainstormed “muchness” character traits, but this time, for our teachers! Students used inexpensive foam door hangers, stickers, foam shapes, markers, and more to decorate simple door hangers, making sure to focus on the character traits they admired about the teacher of their choice. The best part was sneaking around the school (after-school) and hanging them on each teacher’s door. They were so surprised when they came to unlock their classrooms the next morning!

     


     

    POCKET COMPLIMENTS:

    Sometimes it is tough to start conversations with other girls, and it can even be awkward to give out compliments. After watching this awesome pay-it-forward video from Kid President (LOVE HIM!), we worked on our own list of compliments that would make other people smile. Once they had compiled a list of at least a dozen quick, simple compliment statements, the girls wrote them on slips of scrapbook paper. They then cut out the strips, folded them up, and put them into these adorable change purse party favors (four to six in a bag for only a few bucks). The change purses had little key rings, so they could hook them on their belt loops or backpacks and pull out compliments to say to peers easily throughout the day.


     


     

    STEM CHALLENGE:

    The girls worked hard together to build houses of cards from the Red Queen, using different sized playing cards as our first STEM challenge. It wasn’t easy! Our final session before our celebratory tea party was a STEM design challenge based off of the White Rabbit character from Alice in Wonderland! See how we set up this experience on our STEMagination Station site. Check out our White Rabbit Challenge teaser video trailer, which really hooked the kiddos, and the collage shows you each step of the challenge. Since this activity requires only random recycled junk materials, it’s free, fun, and a fabulous way to get girls engaged in meaningful STEM!

     

     


    Pump up some girl power (but really ANYONE can do these fun activities) and let me know how it goes! It was amazing to see the mindset shifts and confidence boost that this experience gave the young ladies. I love challenging norms about what it means to do things #likeagirl! Thanks for reading!  -Lindsey

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