The opportunity to try out and subsequently review this cornhusk doll kit was timely for me. I love, love, love the fall season, with the cooler temps, falling leaves, yummy smells, and all of the delicious comfort food. What does that have to do with cornhusk dolls? Well, autumn is also the time that we typically recount the history of the pilgrims journey to America, and their early days here. So, as we revisit those much simpler times, having this little craft kit was a great addition to the colonial theme in our studies.
Corps of Rediscovery is a family owned business, providing a variety of early american pioneer based crafts, projects, and other related items. They actually have had the privilege of homeschooling their children and enjoyed the opportunity of traveling America with the entire family, giving them the chance to explore the historic trails and local culture of our great country. When you visit their website, I have no doubt that you will enjoy reading a bit more of their journeys.
Our family had the chance to try out the cornhusk dolls, which immediately piqued the interest of my daughters. Those girlies love their dollies! I mentioned before that this project fit in very nicely with this month's curriculum, as we've been reading and studying about the pilgrims and early colonial times. Quick history tidbit - the cornhusk dolls were also called faceless dolls, and introduced to us by the Iriquois indians. Even way back then, with the little resources available, they found ways to entertain the children! I took that opportunity to discuss the topic of contentment, materialism, etc. with my own kids - couldn't pass that up!
Getting back to our subject at hand though, there are two kits available, one for a boy doll or one for a girl doll. This time around, we made the girl, which comes with a couple of small bundles of dry cornhusks, some fabric, and kitchen string. You will also need to have a needle, some thread, and actually, probably some extra kitchen string. I found the amount in the package a little bit short for my needs. Now, for those of you who, like me, find your heart palpitating at the thought of having to sew, well, anything, never fear! You only need to do a running stitch to finish up the apron for your doll, and if even that puts you off, you have the option of letting your cornhusk doll go "au natural" as they say.
First step, prep! You will take all of those lovely little cornhusks and soak them in a bowl of water for one hour. I recommend doing this before you gather the troops around, especially if they are as impatient to craft as my little ones can be.
Okay, the hour is up, so now select six of the best and brightest of your husks- these are going to make up your a-maizing dolls skirt- sorry, it was inevitable to be a little corn-y, oops, last one, I promise! Put those six beauties aside for later. Choose a few of the remaining husks and gather them together at one end. You will then take your kitchen string and tie the husks together about 3/4 of an inch from the end. Next comes my daughters favorite part, peeling the husks back and pulling them over the part that you just tied, and then tie it together again, to make the dolls head.
Next, you form the waist, again, by tying with string.
We are now ready for the arms, which come together nicely by rolling up a couple of husks and tucking them under the dolls neck.
Now, to cover up some of the string, we'll drape husks in a crisscross over the chest, and prepare the skirt.
This is where you'll use those six husks that you put aside. Once again, they are gathered at one end and then peeled back to form a nice full skirt.
To keep the husks in place until they dry, you'll tie string around the skirt, and around the arms. Trim the bottom of the skirt to make it even and so you doll will stand easily on its own.
Once the doll is dry, you have the option of leaving it as it is, which is nice, or by finishing the doll with the fabric included in the kit. I have never been an avid seamstress, but even I can handle a simple running stitch, and the apron adds a nice little splash of color.
So, there's your basic overview, now , a few of my thoughts...
I liked completing this project with my kids. It was a good supplement for our theme, and I enjoyed sharing not only the crafty side of it, but the history as well. I also appreciate the fact that we now have a pretty decoration to display in the house.
My own children are 5 and 6 years old, and while they were enthusiastic about the project, there was quite a bit that they were not able to do on their own. It wasn't really a problem per say, but it would have been nice for it to be completely their project. I think this craft is suited best for an older child, maybe starting at 7 years old.
The only other issue, if it could even be called that, would be related to the instructions. They were basically fine, we got the job done, however, I tend to be a visual learner, and some actual photos of the doll as it was being put together would have been even more helpful in the assembly.
My final words - I would and will recommend corps of rediscovery kits. I apologize if I sound cliche, but I found this to be fun and informative and a great addition to your homeschool, or just for fun. I also need to mention that the price was very reasonable. Right now on the website, these kits have been marked down from $5.99 to $4.50. It would make a good christmas present, or craft for your church group. At that price go order both of them. I think I'll go do that now!
*In return for a Corps of Re-Discovery cornhusk doll kit, I agreed to provide my honest review of the product, with no additional compensation.
Corps of Re-Discovery
Cornhusk doll kits-$5.99 per kit
Ages:7 years and up
5329 N Lakewood Drive
Springfield MO 65803