Jem is a question filled girl.
Just this week I’ve been quizzed on topics such as extinct animals, the Queen of England’s Crown Jewels, and constellations. ***Watch us run to the library because mama doesn’t have even close to all the answers*** She’s also big on imagining based on her nonstop questions and will often start conversations with, “If you could imagine … what would it be?” This has become a sort of game amongst us and sounds a lot like – If you could imagine any job/any trip/any dessert what would it be? Or, her favorite, if you could imagine any new American Girl doll, what would she be like?
During our most recent round of American Girl dreaming, Jemma’s aunt imagined a space-themed American Girl set in the historic space race era. In Jemma’s game we’re required to go on, imagining their name, outfits, and stories. It’s a pretty fun conversation and has birthed some really amazing characters (that Jemma fully intends to write down and send off to American Girl) so, you can imagine all of our excitement when Luciana Vega, a girl dreaming of going to Mars, was announced as the 2018 American Girl of the Year. Aunt Kiki’s space girl is real! Luciana is all about science and space and although not a perfect match to Aunt Kiki’s idea, Luciana embodies much of that innovative, out of this world flair that she imagined. And we love her!
Luciana is a creative, confident 11-year-old girl of Chilean descent with a serious science streak, who loves the idea of exploring new territories in space. She’s an aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. And, while she has the skills and smarts to achieve her goals, she also learns that being a good leader and team player right here on Earth is the best first step.
Jemma devoured Luciana’s book and we just put the second one, Luciana – Braving the Deep, on hold at the library. Thanks to Aunt Kiki’s influence (she’s a science teacher), Jemma has always had an interest in science and reading about Luciana’s goals has only fueled Jemma’s own aspirations. “Not to go to space though, Mom,” she says, “more just to learn about it. I think I want to stay on Earth and do stuff here.”.
Inspired by Luciana’s amazing dream to travel to Mars, Jemma and I started our own conversation about dreams. Rather than just talk, we took things one step further and created a dream board so Jemma could visualize, add to, and prepare for things she wants to accomplish in the future.
If you’ve got a little dreamer on your hands, why not create a dream board together too? Here’s how:
How To Create a Dream Board
- Old magazines
- 12×12 cardstock paper
- Glitter glue
- Wire star garland or yarn
Lay out the plan so your kids know your project’s end goal. You’re going to dream about their future together! I told Jem something like this, “For this craft project we need to look for pictures and words from these magazines that represent things you want to do or become.”
With scissors and magazines in hand, ask these questions to spark ideas …
- What kind of job do you want to have someday?
- What will your future family be like?
- Where would you like to travel?
- How can you help people now and when you’re older?
- What words represent who you are?
- What is your life motto?
- In 5 years, what do you want to do? How about 10? 20? 30?
- What feels impossible now that you could work towards making possible?
Then, cut out a collection of photos and words based on their answers and glue them onto the cardstock paper. Jem added a collage title in her “fancy swirly handwriting” and we hung it right above her bed so she’s constantly reminded of the dreams she is working towards.
I love that through Luciana American Girl is promoting STEM through creative thinking with a focus on collaborative teamwork. There is nothing like an engaging story, amazing clothes (hello astronaut outfit!), and extra activities to help our girls develop strong character and draw them into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
I cannot wait to see were Jemma’s dreams take her and as she grows into them, I’m thankful for characters like Luciana who are introducing new topics (and thus, new questions) in an exciting and appropriate manner. As a parent in what often feels like a highly charged world, I’m thankful for brands like American Girl who are constantly endeavoring to promote a positive way merge play with learning.
Thank you to American Girl for gifting Jemma and I the new Luciana doll. No other compensation was provided.