book review

Children of the Tipi: Corn Husk Dolls

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We’ve spent another pleasant moment in a great resource called “Children of the Tipi:Life in the Buffalo Days” by Michael Oren Fitzgerald.  This book is a treasure of what it was like for children to grow up in the world of pre-reservation days. Taking archived photos, this book gives us a first-hand look into the buffalo days of the Plains Indians

Last time we made bow & arrows, this time we had much fun making corn husk dolls.

Corn Husk Doll Crafts

Aren’t these adorable?

corn husk dolls 2

Mothers and daughters during the summer months would dry corn husks to make dolls, baskets, and other creative things.


“My mother and aunt gathered an abundant supply of corn. I was left to watch the corn dry. I played around it with dolls make of ears of corn. I braided the soft fine corn silk for hair. The dolls had blankets from scraps I found in my mother’s workbag. ” Zitkala-Sa, Lakota


Something To Do : Corn Husk Dolls

corn husk dolls

Materials Needed:

  • string
  • scissors
  • a bucket of water
  • bags of cornhusks- most easily purchased (dried, cleaned and in uniform sizes), at a local craft store
  • cornhusk doll diagram page (print out)


****Before beginning, soak cornhusks in a bucket of water until they are soft and pliable.****

1.gif (5979 bytes) Take four cornhusks and arrange them in as shown.
2.gif (5997 bytes) Using a small piece of string, tie the straight ends together tightly.
3.gif (5618 bytes) Trim and round the edges with scissors.
4.gif (7677 bytes) Turn upside down and pull long ends of husks down over the trimmed edges.
5.gif (4299 bytes) Tie with string to form the “head.”
6.gif (3390 bytes) Take another husk, flatten it, and roll into a tight cylinder.
7.gif (2759 bytes) Tie each end with string. This forms the doll’s arms.
8.gif (4063 bytes) Fit the arms inside of the long husks, just below the “neck.”
9.gif (4292 bytes) Tie with string, as shown, to form a “waist.”
10.gif (4768 bytes) Drape a husk around the arms and upper body in a criss-cross pattern to form “shoulders.”
11.gif (5864 bytes) Take four or five husks, straight edges together, and arrange around waist.
These form a “skirt” for the doll.
12.gif (6792 bytes) Tie with string.
13.gif (6556 bytes) If desired, follow the diagram to form legs for the doll. Tie legs with small strips of husks as indicated. Finish off the doll by tying small strips of husk around the neck and waist to hide the string. Small scraps of cloth may be used to dress the doll.

The above diagram is from Teachers First Site.


3 thoughts on “Children of the Tipi: Corn Husk Dolls

  1. Wow! This looks like an outstanding book and you’ve got some great go-along ideas. Lots of fun! Thanks for sharing! I think I’ll be back for more visits if that’s ok!

  2. Love this book already! My daughter made corn husk dolls in school and had such a fantastic time. I’m a big fan of arts and crafts with kids. Thanks for sharing this book with the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  3. Wow! I would have thought making corn husk dolls was really difficult and complicated but you break it down step by manageable step! What a great activity to do for a book club for kids!

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