My daughter loves exploring the great outdoors. Whether it’s making mud pies, walking through the woods looking for squirrels, or sitting and watching honeybees collect nectar, she has always been right at home with nature. This is why it was no surprise that when it came time for her to choose a Maplelea Girl for herself, she picked Taryn, an environmentalist from Alberta who loves to hike and paint.
When Taryn, her backpack, and her three woodland friends arrived at our house, the screams of delight could be heard throughout the forest.
Up until that point, my child was more interested in stuffed animals than dolls but when she saw Brianne, she loved her immediately and said, “Mom! She looks like a real girl!” “She’s not my baby, she’s my friend.”
A truly Canadian company, Maplelea “gets it.” Their dolls - which all hail from farms, cities, towns, and neighbourhoods across Canada - are so much more than toys. They're also educational tools. They have varied interests such as skiing, skating, soccer, drawing, dancing, and reading and bonus: you'll love that they don’t wear makeup or carry mobile phones!
To celebrate the arrival of Taryn, my daughter and I made a few Canadian-themed crafts to help her feel welcome.
With seven Maplelea Girl dolls and a variety of Maplelea Friends in the collection, there are plenty of girls who need a place to rest their heads after spending their days exploring.
What you will need:
1. Cut two strips of red felt. These will form the edges of your flag.
2. Cut out the paper maple leaf, lay it onto the red felt, trace around it with a marker and cut it out.
3. Lay your pieces down and glue them in place using craft glue. If you're in a hurry, hot glue can be used.
4. Once the glue has dried, it’s time to sew. Choose another piece of felt for the back of the pillow. We used white but red would be nice too.
5. Using embroidery floss, sew the edges together from the outside.
6. When you're almost back to where you started, fill the pillow with stuffing. When stuffed, continue to sew until complete.
Making a map of Canada is a great way for your kid to track where she's been and where she wants to go. It’s also a terrific opportunity to find out more about the places Maplelea Girls call home. When working on our map, my daughter was able to connect Saila with Nunavut, Charlsea with British Columbia, Alexi with Ontario, Léonie with Quebec, and Jenna with Nova Scotia. This knowledge was added to what she had already learned about Manitoba (Brianne) and Alberta (Taryn).
What you will need:
1. Choose thirteen different paper patterns as well as one piece of construction paper before you begin.
2. Print two maps of Canada. One will be to cut and the other one will be for reference.
3. Cut the provinces and territories out of the map.
4. Trace the shapes onto your patterned paper and cut them out.
5. Once all the provinces and territories have been traced and cut, arrange them like a puzzle on a large sheet of construction paper. Use the other map as a reference.
6. Glue the pieces in place.
Optional: Cut the letters for the word "Canada" out of patterned paper and glue them onto your map.
I think it’s brilliant that kids can learn about Canada by reading the journals each doll comes with. Every doll tells her own personal story through written and illustrated pages in the expandable journal. In the case of Maplelea Friends, your kids can make up their own facts and give each doll a unique history.
In addition to pre-written and invitational pages, each journal has several blank sheets that kids can complete with drawings, photos, and words. Because my daughter and Taryn both love the outdoors and nature, she decided to start filling her journal with drawings of items she collected on a beach walk.
What you will need:
1. Go for a walk in the woods, on a trail, on the beach, or just down the driveway.
2. Collect a few things along the way. We went beachcombing and found some shells and rocks which my daughter placed in Taryn's backpack.
3. Bring your collection back inside and draw it using markers, pencil crayons, or whatever you have on hand.
4. Cut your drawings out and glue them into your Maplelea Girl journal. Add a few notes about the things that were found.
More journaling ideas:
These dolls are a beautiful bridge between being a little girl and becoming a big girl. During a time when children start to become more self-aware and feel pressure about how to look and act, these premium dolls encourage girls to be themselves.
For my daughter, Brianne and Taryn couldn’t have come at a better time because, let's face it, the years between the ages of 6 and 12 are chock full of physical and emotional changes. The concept is simple and brilliant. Maplelea Girls not only make our daughters feel empowered and entertained, they also educate them about Canadian culture, history, and geography in a fun, healthy, and creative way.
What creative adventures await your daughter and her Maplelea Girl?
Maplelea Girls is a line of premium dolls, story journals, furniture, accessories, and doll clothing made right here in Canada.
Your kids can choose a doll that comes with her own unique background or pick a Maplelea Friend and create a story all her own.
Browse the entire online catalogue from the comfort of your home or go see them in person at the new seasonal store in the Yorkdale Mall which is now open until March 2017.
Either way, your child is about to get a new best friend.