Hands-on activities really help to bring history lessons to life. During our study of early America, we have enjoyed several Colonial America crafts, including making homemade quills and creating tin can lanterns.
One of our favorites was learning how to make corn husk dolls.
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Fall is the perfect time of year for making corn husk dolls, whether it’s for a hands-on learning activity or as a fun kids fall craft.
If you search online you will be amazed by some of the beautiful corn husk dolls people have created. This version is super simple and perfect for kids.
How to Make a Corn Husk Doll
For each doll you will need 5 corn husks, a couple more if you want to make a fuller skirt on a girl doll. You will also need twine or yarn.
We got our corn husks from the corn we picked this year. You can also purchase them at a craft store or find them online.
To make your doll:
- Soak the corn husks in a bowl of water for 10 minutes to soften them.
- Use paper towels to blot the excess water from the corn husks.
- Stack 4 corn husks on top of each other, with the pointy ends at the top.
- Tie a small piece of twine around the bundle, 1 inch from the top.
- Take the loose ends of the corn husks and turn them inside out around the tied end, so 2 corn husks go on each side. (See the middle picture below.)
- Use twine to tie the corn husks right below the bundled up portion to form the head.
- Take your 5th corn husk and trim off both ends. Roll it tightly lengthwise and tie a small piece of twin at each end to hold it closed and form the dolls hands.
- Open up the layered corn husks and slide this rolled up corn husk between them so there are 2 corn husks on top and 2 on bottom. This will become the doll’s arms.
- Tie a piece of twine tightly right under the doll’s arms.
- If you want a girl doll, at this point you can be done. Or, for a fuller skirt, trim the ends of 2 more corn husks and tie them around the doll’s waist.
For a boy doll, separate the skirts into 2 equal sections and use twine to tie at the knees and ankles.
During Colonial America times the dolls would usually be left plain.
My kids chose to use permanent markers to give the dolls faces and glued corn silk on as hair.
We also fashioned some clothes out of felt scraps, tying it around the dolls with a bit of twine.
Making corn husk dolls is a fun Colonial America craft that is perfect for hands-on learning about early American history. Once your child has made their own doll, it will inspire plenty of pretend play.
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