Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Art / Movement
- one set of old clothing per child: shirt, pants, socks (2 pairs)
- one medium-size brown paper bag for each child
- tempera paint in a wide variety of skin colors
- several unbreakable mirrors
- rubber bands, stapler, safety pins
- construction paper
Objective: Children will create life-size dolls to celebrate their individuality, promote positive self-image, and encourage imaginative play.
Prepare: Send a note home requesting that parents send in a set of their child's old clothing, newspaper, and medium-size brown paper bags.
Wam-up: During meeting time explain to children that they will be working on a project to make personal life-size dolls. Take some time to discuss the characteristics that make each of them unique - hair style and colors, eye color, skin color, pierced ears, glasses, missing teeth, favorite clothing, talents and interests, and so on.
1 Place mirrors on or near the work space so children can observe themselves. Suggest that everyone take time to look at their faces, noticing all of the parts. Provide children with a bag each and explain to them that the bag will be the head of their doll. Some children may want to paint their bags to match their skin color. Encourage everyone to use the art materials however they'd like. You may need to assist children with cutting out ear shapes, noses, and so on and gluing them onto their doll heads (or encourage children to help one another).
2 Together, ball up newspaper to use as stuffing and encourage children to help one another stuff the bags with the newspaper balls. Help children temporarily secure the bags with rubber bands (leaving about two inches of bag below the rubber band).
3 Stuff clothing with newspaper and assemble the dolls' bodies. If children need to attach shirts and pants with safety pins, make sure an adult fastens them. Use stuffed socks for both hands and feet, securing them with rubber bands or yarn. Finally, help children attach their doll's head to the body. Remove the rubber bands from the paper-bag heads and add more stuffing. Tuck the bottom of the bag into the collar of the shirt, and staple the bag to the shirt.
4 Celebrate! Invite everyone's doll to attend circle and snack time.
Remember: You may want to have children work in pairs so that older children can assist younger ones. This activity can take place over a period of one week or two and provides a wonderful opportunity for parent involvement.
This activity originally appeared in the August, 1999 issue of Early Childhood Today.