Art Around the World- Guatemalan Worry Dolls

Art Around the World- Guatemalan Worry Dolls

The legend of the Worry Doll from Guatemala is simple- have the worried child create a doll that represents him or her self. At night, when they go to sleep, have the child tell his or her doll their worries and place it under their pillow. While the child sleeps the worry doll will take the worries away. Read more about Worry Dolls here.

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I have young children at home, so for this lesson, we made worry dolls using yarn, paint, and toilet paper rolls. When I taught art, the children in second grade used DMC floss and clothespins to create their worry dolls. You can follow the below directions for that as well- it is basically the same concept using different materials.

Classified: Medium. The weaving of the yarn can be a hard concept for younger children. I recommend ages 4 and up. I had to help my 3-year old a lot while my 5 year old understood the directions.

What you need:

  • Toilet Paper rolls
  • Skin colored paint
  • Yarn- various colors
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes, smocks, towels, and all that good stuff!

What to do:

1. Flatten the toilet paper roll and draw a “paper chain person” figure onto it- keeping the hands and parts of the legs connected by the tube. Cut out. See the photo below.

2. Paint the face, hands, and feet with the skin-colored paint and allow to dry. (Paint both sides.)

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3. To make the shirt:

  • I first had my children select a color that they would like to wear. Cut a piece of the selected color of yarn about 3 feet long!
  • Start by wrapping it around the neck and continue wrapping it in a downward motion right over the shoulders. Once you are 3/4 of the way down the arm- wrap vertically around each arm and then continue in the midsection of the stomach. Continue until you reach the pants line and thread and knot the excess yarn to a piece of wrapped yarn on the back. See Photos.

4. To make the pants:

  • I first had my children select a color that they would like to wear. Cut a piece of the selected color of yarn about 3 feet long!
  • Chose a leg and start at the bottom. Using the same wrapping method- only this time work up the one pant leg- to the middle and then down the other pant leg.  Once completed, thread and knot the excess yarn to a piece of wrapped yarn on the back.

5. Draw a face onto the doll reminding them that this is a self-portrait. Have a mirror available if they chose to look at themselves before they draw in their facial features.

6. Cut the yarn accordingly and glue on their hair.

7. Once dry, have your child tell their worry doll their worry and place it under their pillow before they go to sleep at night.

Don’t forget to get out you Art Around the World Passport and mark off that you have been to Guatemala.

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