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Friday, April 27, 2012

Guatemalan Worry Dolls

This week with my crafts club we made Guatemalan Worry Dolls. Worry dolls are given to children to help them deal with difficult times. They are stored in a special box or bag until nighttime. Then, just before going to sleep, children take out the worry dolls and tell one worry to each dolls. The dolls then spend the night under the children's pillows until going back in the box the next morning. Worry dolls are a lot like dream catchers. You can certainly buy them or you can make them yourself using pipe cleaners and yarn!

How to make your own worry dolls:

Materials: 2 or 3 wire twist-ties (or pipe-cleaners), 4 inches long; colored yarn or string; scraps of colored paper; scissors; glue; makers
 Step 1) For a bigger doll, use 3 pieces of pipe-cleaner. Twist two together, about an inch from the top. Keep the short ends together (for the head later) but separate the long ends (for the legs). 
Step 2) Wrap the third piece around the body for the arms. Make sure they are even lengths. Bend the hands and feet.
*NOTE* For a smaller doll, use only 2 pieces. Fold one in half and separate the ends. Wrap the second piece around the body to make the arms.
 Step 3) Knot a piece of yarn to the pipe-cleaners where they cross. With the loose end of the yarn, wrap it around the body and down one leg. Then wind the yarn back up the same leg. Do the other leg the same way. Then, wrap the arms in the same fashion. To finish, crisscross the yarn over the shoulders and under the armpits (my students couldn't stop laughing any time I said armpits... not sure why it's so funny but they were fun to watch). Cut the yarn and glue the end to the doll's back.
Step 4) Cut a colored paper rectangle larger than the head. Fold it in half to make a square and round out the edges with scissors. Glue the paper around the doll's head and draw a face. You can add hair if you want as well. This is a picture of dolls that my students made. Aren't they great?

Want to do more? During this activity we also practiced saying colors and body parts. You could also practice adjectives by having children present their dolls to the class as they describe their dolls. You could take this activity to the next level by have the children make the dolls interact with each other and have short conversations. Students could perform their "puppet show" in front of the class or other groups of friends.


  1. Very cute! I bet the kids loved it :) Do you get a classroom budget or do you purchase all these materials out of your pocket ??

  2. I get $50 per after school club. I also have money just to spend on curriculum in the classroom which is very nice.