“That’s awesome! Whoever made that must be a real art fanatic…” GG

This is a very old post. It’s also one of the most read posts on my site even now. So I know that the need to make Worry Dolls is still something that parents turn to the internet for. It makes total sense. Even small kids get anxious, and as adults we know the tools that work for us to calm our worries are not things that children can comprehend.

How to make safe Worry Dolls

So it was when my daughter, aged 8, started to have problems falling asleep, that I turned to the internet. And read about worry dolls for the first time. The problem was, she was still a thumb sucker, and also prone to putting random things in her mouth, especially if they were small. Most of the guatemalan worry dolls you find on the internet are tiny! Definitely not the kind of thing you want to leave in your child’s bed with no supervision,

So we made our own. Not only were they big enough not to be a choking risk, they were easy to create for a young child too. Craft activity, and mental health prop – ideal.

 

How we made large size worry dolls

I am allergic to craft. I once made a bumble bee out of a toilet roll and some tissue paper. It looked like a Chelsea goalie on a very bad day in the mud at Stamford Bridge. But needs must, so armed with some jumbo wooden pegs (and copious cups of coffee) we got started.

Thoughts of an 8 year old

Now as it happens, I struggle to doze off when my head hits the pillow. My brain sees any kind of physical down-time as an opportunity to strategise and get creative. Often I get a bit stressed about things that have happened during the day, or on the TV 🙂 So I have a set of worry dolls. I chat to them every night, stick them under my pillow, and they look after my worries so I don’t have to.

Lately my little brother has also struggled a bit in the sleep department, which is a bit of a change from the norm. His class has been mixed up on his return to the new school year, and he has lost his 2 closest friends to another class. Whilst that may well see him knuckle down and improve his writing, it’s not easy on a 6 year old, and he has become somewhat anxious instead of that happy little guy he normally is. So we’ve been considering a set of worry dolls for him too. The problem is, worry dolls are usually tiny, and small children tend to put stuff in their mouths – you get my gist…

Make your own giant Worry Dolls

Armed with our £30 voucher for Hobbycraft that DHL had kindly sent us, we headed off shopping. We actually spent £90 and came back with lots of Decopatch items – that stuff is COOL! But that’s another story. Anyway, here’s what we needed for our worry dolls.

  • Wooden pegs
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Assorted coloured thread or yarn
  • Clear glue

To be ultra-safe for a very small child, it would probably be best to leave out the pipe cleaners. Make sure you use a non-toxic glue too.

These really couldn’t be any simpler. We simply wrapped half a pipe cleaner around our peg, anchoring some embroidery thread underneath it with a dab of glue. Then we wrapped the thread, changing the colour here and there, and fixing with glue when necessary. We used ceramic/fabric pens to mark our dolls features, and decorated with dazzle dots and stick on gems.

Now we’re not traditionalists, so these worry dolls are only very loosely based on their Guatemalan counterparts – the sentiment’s the same, but we couldn’t resist alternative personas. So here you have, in order…

Soldier boy, Romeo (see the heart?), Disco Doll (hand on hip), and Bumble Bee.

What will you make?

More resources for anxiety in children:

 

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Kids often find it hard to get to sleep at night, or show signs of anxiety. Worry dolls are a fabulous way of helping children unwind at the end of a day, and offload their problems till morning, helping them to sleep. Even better, they're really easy to make, and a fun craft activity for your kids. Click through to find out how.

 
 

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