Were you excited to hear the 2012 American Girl of the Year was a gymnast? Frankly, I was rather ho-hum about it. A gymnast? Really? I had no further interest until I started writing this article. Why did this change for me? When did my mind progress from thinking boring to imagining little girls giggling?
I began by taking a good look at McKenna on the American Girl website. Very cute girl. Love the carmel color hair. Love the twinkling blue eyes. Love this picture of her. But a gymnasts? Looking at the accessories, I liked the balance beam, but as always I ask, “ $85.00 for plastic?” again, “Really?” This lead me to looking around the internet. Still not sold on the doll, but wanting to explore less expensive alternative accessories, I searched Google with “tutorials homemade balance beam.” I headed to Youtube. I really liked these giggling little girls:
As I watched, I remember tumbling with my sisters, friends and I did in our front yard many years ago. We would do somersaults, cartwheels and log rolls for hours. Like many of you, I have often lamented that today’s kids spend too much time in front of the TV, computer or latest game system. I have told others of the fun we had playing on our grass, all the time wondering why I never see this today. As I watched these three girls using their foam balance beam, I thought of the fun we would have had with a balance beam. It also reminded me of one summer when I signed up for tumbling in Summer School. Those were the days before budget cuts, when Summer School was for fun. Along with tumbling they offered crafts, art, sewing, cooking…..a real myriad of exciting classes. I remembered later taking gymnastics in high school, and really enjoying it. We had a balance beam, trampoline, horse, bars and several other apparatuses. Flying around from one to the other was exhilarating! I felt myself warming up to McKenna. I felt very sentimental as I watched the following videos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxNyf9y-mPA&list=WL91D592B19FEA1805&index=4&feature=plpp_video (video is very dark, but you’ll get the idea. I love the simplicity of this balance beam, created by an 7-9 year old)
Each of the videos show the fun to be had for both girls and dolls, but more importantly, the enjoyment physical activity McKenna introduces to young girls. We’ve all heard the statistics. One report, says 30% of our kids in the USA are overweight. You’ve heard it. We sigh with concern, but don’t know how to change it. Have you ever tried to force an eight year old to ride their bike, skate or do calisthenics when they’re not into it? Good luck! However, a new doll full of life and activity may do the trick. I can see little girls acting out the tumbling and gymnastic moves, with their dolls. Before you know it, they will be on the grass spending hours tumbling with their friends, toning up their bodies by getting the exercise.
I love McKenna! She has reminded me of a fun time in my life, when I enjoyed my neighborhood friends, while getting tons of exercise. She will introduce little girls to a different time in life when we played and ran for all we were worth. When a neighborhood baseball game or hide ‘n seek were an everyday activity. Perhaps we will again hear the sound of little girls laughing, as they do somersaults on the freshly cut, green grass.
In the comment section below, please share you thoughts on McKenna. I would love to hear any ideas you may have for creating some great accessories and playthings for her.