February 10, 2011


We made worry dolls, inspired from Guatemala.  

During the winter months at earth school, when we cannot spend all of our time outdoors, we come inside and focus on other people of the earth; cultures through art.

The children enjoy working with maps and we always locate the country on its continent first.
Can you see Guatemala?

 We also label an outline map of the country, with the capital city, surrounding countries and bodies of water.
The map work gives the children a reference point, exactly where the people of each country live, before they watch the DVD about family life there.  

We love this DVD series, Familes of the World. Each DVD showcases two different families of a particular country, one from a rural area and one from the city. 

Afterwards we talk together, comparing the culture to ours, what the similarities and differences are, and together we make a list.  All the children get involved and it's fun!

We also make ART having to do with each culture, like Guatemalan worry dolls.

Guatemalan worry dolls date back to Mayan traditions and they are thought to soothe fears and anxieties.They are mostly made for children to put under their pillow at night or carry in a pocket. They measure less than an inch long and are made with thin wooden sticks and scraps of clothing and usually come in a box of six.

We took the inspiration from Guatemalan worry dolls, but made our own
Our dolls were bigger, about two inches. We used yarn for the body, a wooden bead for the head and an acorn cap for a hat. Some children added hair. 

We formed the body with a chenille stem, using a page from Sally Mavor's terrific book, 
 Felt Wee Folk, for guidance.

We formed the body
twisted it at waist and neck
and started wrapping with the yarn, catching the loose yarn under the leg wrapping, and wrapping until all the chenille stem was covered. Some children decided to leave the ends of the arms and legs unwrapped to look more like hands and feet.

Once the wrapping was completed, we tucked the loose end under another wrapped yarn or up to the neck to tuck under the head. 
A wooden bead was used for the head and glued on.

All the children used an acorn cap for a hat, and some made hair with the yarn.
They also decided it was important the dolls have facial features, and they drew them on with fine marker.

Each doll is very unique and very sweet, just like all the children at earth school.

Go check out what others have done at the Hands-On Homeschool Carnival hosted this month by Cultivated Lives.

                                                               happy day!


Phyllis said...

I had no idea that the worry dolls went back as far as the Mayans. How cool!

Marcie said...

Oh my! I made those years ago with my daughters. I wonder if my sons would find it as much fun as we did? Like you, I had to dig into the history and meaning of the tradition of worry dolls at the time - but it has been a while. Thank you for the refresher course and the great fun photos!

Luisa said...

That is so cool. I learned a lot from this post alone. I'll be printing it out for my kids to see. Can't wait to chat with them.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

YOU KNOW that I LOVE these. Wonderful.

About the homemade cheese, well, you and Chloe can do it when the garden comes back.

sending love,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Unknown said...

These are so cute and I think we could actually make them! Thanks for the tutorial.

Beth said...

Have you ever seen "Guatemalan Rainbow"? It is one of my favorite color inspiration books. It is a children's picture book about Guatemalan textiles, and shows lots of pictures of Mamas and Babies wearing layers of glory. love, Beth