Participants were asked to bring in a picture, memory or actual doll from their childhood. Lively conversation ensued about Madame Alexander dolls, Swiss Sasha Dolls, Trolls, Barbies, Raggedy Ann, Tiny Tears and Tommy from the Rugrats. We talked about the role dolls played as transitional objects or comfort objects for kids in all circumstances, but especially in the event of a death in the family, divorce or other disruptions in childhood. Dolls were recognized to be important to identification in childhood and for practicing behaviors and working out problems through play.
The goal of the workshop was to learn several simple doll making techniques that did not require expensive or extensive materials and could be made easily with a child in one or two therapy sessions.
Tongue depressor puppets, pipe cleaner dolls, yarn wrapped "worry" dolls, felt dolls, sock dolls and dolls made from old nylons were on the agenda.
The simple acts of repetitive stitching a felt doll or stuffing its body or winding yarn to make a "worry" doll can be biorhythmic and soothing activities for children or adults. This is not even considering the great value as a comfort object to a child when they go to sleep or are distressed and need a reminder of safety.
Pinterest has many good demonstrations for making soft dolls, but I recommend buying some felt, polyester batting, a few buttons and some thread and trying for yourself. Cut out a large 8.5 X 11 size gingerbread shape from paper and use that as your template. The other way to go is to buy brightly colored socks, toe socks and stockings at the dollar store and see what you create from these using buttons and beads for eyes.
Here are our creations: