The American Girl brand of dolls has proven so popular because it mirrors the reality of life in the United States. Initially, the dolls were reflective of past eras and bygone customs. Each doll, garbed in period-appropriate clothing — with homespun accessories — taught young girls the lessons of perseverance and self-worth. Whether the doll was living in Colonial times or staring down the Nazis, each 18-inch doll was a star-spangled heroine. The dolls taught children that every century, and even every decade, was fraught with problems. However, these roadblocks could be overcome with grit and determination. That’s why in spring 2020, the American Girl dolls remain a beacon of hope, courage, and intuitive optimism.
During this great American shutdown, when families are sheltering together in place, it’s difficult to express normalcy. When school is shuttered, and even the best tele-learning doesn’t equal a day in a classroom, children crave stability. Heck, it’s not just children. We all desire a return to what once was. Has the notion of running to the grocery store for a couple rolls of toilet paper ever seemed so wistful and romantic? I don’t think so. We are aspiring now to return to our everyday lives.
That’s why the American Girl dolls are a great stress reliever. The 2020 line expresses an American society that wasn’t tainted by a pandemic. If you and your child can’t hit the highway for a trek across the interstates, your American Girl dolls can do it for you. The 2020 Girl of the Year doll, Joss Kendrick, has a hearing impairment, but does not allow that physical challenge to deter her. A surfer and a cheerleader, the Joss doll is all about encouraging girls to go beyond their limitations. One of her accessories is a truly remarkable VW surf bus. How fantastic to let your children own this bus and drive their imagination to places that they physically can’t reach.
Perhaps this bus can assist in geography lessons. Tack up a map on a wall and plot out where you’d like to go in the near future. Ask your children what states or cities they would enjoy visiting. Do some online research about the places. If you have a printer, print out some images and make believe they are post cards. You and your child can practice writing and spelling. Create some friendly messages to send to members of the household or to deliver to folks that you know might need some cheering up.
So many of the spring 2020 American Girl “Truly Me” sets lend themselves to that indomitable double dose of learning and pretending. The City Market Stand is filled with all kinds of goodies. Having this little farmers’ market vignette opens up possibilities for math play. Have your American Girl dolls or their 18-inch counterparts buy some of the produce. You can cleverly have your child learn to add up prices, make change, and figure out how to budget with play money. Math will never be more fun!
Okay, all of us adults have the “Tiger King” to fawn over. That stranger-than-fiction Netflix documentary has the Internet buzzing. Well, children aren’t exempt from pet love. Hopefully, they won’t be tuning into the travails of zookeeper Joe Exotic (parents, you can put on parental controls on Netflix). Let the children in your life exercise their nurturing toward cats, dogs, and other domestic breeds. The new American Girl Pet Boutique features care essentials for furry and feathered friends. It’s an opportunity to delve into some basic science and biology. Yep, talk about your and your child’s favorite animals. Discuss why you like these animals best and what distinguishes them from other critters.
Best of all, cuddly soft toys, teddy bears, and all other stuffed animals can pay a visit to the pet salon. It’s a chance to blend dolls with plush pals, American Girl dolls with the teddy bear, America’s most patriotic stuffed critter. (It’s named after Teddy Roosevelt, so there is your history lesson!) So, whether the doll is a new model from 2020, featuring pastel-colored hair, or one of the older creations, American Girl is the right doll for this moment in time.