I’ve mentioned our struggles with that tiresome Worry Monster. He pops up when we least expect to see him and throws us for a loop. Because of this, I’m always on the look-out for things to tuck into our Worry Basket. I’m forever searching for strategies to help my little guy with the BIG worries.
A few months ago, I had a dream about worry dolls, worry stones, and mood rings. Do you remember all those things? The dream was like a flashback to the sixth grade. I woke up smiling, but I was also wondering what on earth had happened to the first two items. I hadn’t seen them in years and yet I was certain what Leo would appreciate them. I made a mental note to research what had happened to these magical childhood items at some point, when I had a moment.
And then the day started and I forgot about this early morning stream-of-consciousness… until a few weeks later when I found myself in my favorite consignment store, gathering winter gear, and staring at a display of worry dolls.
Folks, call me crazy, but I felt like it was a sign. And it was a super-cheap sign.
I bought three sets.
What are worry dolls?
For those unfamiliar, worry dolls look like this:
Worry dolls are are colorful, teeny-tiny little dolls that come in a pouch. Typically, each pouch contains six worry dolls. Worry dolls are thought to originate in Guatemala, where they were given to those who had trouble sleeping due to worries. The idea is that you can share one worry with each doll, for a total of six worries, and let the doll worry for you so that you can sleep.
It’s like a brain dump, but much more fun.
What did the kids think?
Now, truth be told, there is only one member of our party who needs the worry dolls right now. The other two little poppies (KNOCK ON WOOD RIGHT NOW) go to sleep with nary a worry.
That said, I didn’t think it was fair to bestow this colorful little pouch full of peeps on one child and not the others, so I purchased three, for a grand total of less than $7.00. I figured it was worth the gamble. If I got lucky, the worries would be gone and that would be priceless. Worst-case scenario, Linda gets some cousins.
As we left my favorite consignment shop, worry dolls in hand, I kid you not: we saw a rainbow. Now, I live in New Hampshire and not Kauai. Rainbows are not a common occurrence.
Folks, call me crazy, but I felt like it was a sign.
When we got home, I read the history of worry dolls that was included with their pouches, and then I read a little bit more with the help of good ol’ Google.
They were mesmerized while I was talking. The dolls were instantly magical.
When the kids went to bed that night, T and Seuss hung their pouches on their bed posts. Leo had tucked his dolls under his pillow so that he could converse with his dolls once I left the premises.
The novelty has yet to wear off. Those little pouches of peeps were a huge hit over here. My kids LOVE their worry dolls.
Making your own worry dolls
Really, the only negative about those little worry dolls is that they are small. Small things tend to disappear around these parts. They end up in my dryer, or who-knows-where. Several of our worry dolls are MIA and there have been many complaints.
On more than one occasion, a poppy has mentioned that the worry dolls should be bigger. And, one rainy afternoon, I thought to myself, “What if they were??”
I made a trip to our craft bin and scrounged around for materials that might work. I had several plans that included popsicle sticks and fabric and felt, but those plans were abandoned once we realized how easy it was to make worry dolls with pipe cleaners and wooden clothespins.
Now, since working on this project, I have checked out Pinterest and boy-oh-boy, as usual, I felt like a crappy-crafter but, while our dolls may not look as beautiful as the ones you see online, I can guarantee you that they are loved.
Worry Doll #1: Pipe Cleaners
We tried this one first because it was easy.
We simply bent a pipe cleaner in half, twisted the top to make a head shape, then twisted two arms and then the legs. I loved watching the kids explain the process to their little brother.
The project was quite simple, but it provided wonderful fine motor practice for all- especially the 4-year-old!
Once the kids had a little pipe cleaner person, they either left him “nudie“, or added clothing using more pipe cleaners or ribbon.
Worry Doll #2: Wooden Clothespins
Now, this one was my favorite. We simply drew little faces on the round part of the clothespin with sharpies, and then either colored the bodies or added yarn scraps using hot glue.
I mean, seriously, how cute are these?
I don’t know about you guys, but I’d trust these ladies with my worries overnight. They look like optimists, ready to take it all on!
Now talk about some worry warriors, check out this group:
Art as a worry-reducer
The jury is still out as to whether these worry dolls are as effective as the ones we found at our favorite consignment store. Still, I know that the process of making the dolls was fun. Creativity is such a wonderful stress-buster. Everyone was laughing and smiling when we made our worry dolls, and that has to count for something! There is something to be said for art as a worry-reducer!
Looking for another way to calm kids down?
Now, it’s your turn… Tell me, folks: How have you fought the worry monster lately? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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