When making crafts in the 1800s, children had to be more creative with the materials they used due to a lack of easy access to craft supplies. They had to make do with what was right in their houses and yards, such as fabric scraps, wood pieces and odds and ends from their mothers' sewing baskets. You, too, can create some authentic pioneer crafts using materials found in your own home.
Wind a ball of yarn, any color and texture, around a rectangle of cardboard several times. You can wind it lengthwise or widthwise, depending on how large you want your doll. Cut through one end of the yarn to create several pieces of yarn. Gather a small ball, about 1 inch in length, at the spot where the strands of yarn are folded in half. Use a small piece of yarn to tie off this section, creating the doll's head. Separate two sections of yarn from each side of the doll. These will become the arms. Use small pieces of yarn to tie off the arms in two different spots, near the middle of the bundle and toward the end to create hands. Gather the remaining yarn into a bundle and tie off about a 1-inch section for the body.
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If creating a boy doll, split the remaining yarn into two sections and tie off with small pieces of yarn to create the legs. Tie once near the middle of each bundle and once near the end of each bundle.
If creating a girl doll, leave the remaining yarn hanging for her skirt. (See Reference 1)
Cut several pieces of the same shape from various colors of construction paper. Shapes used can be triangles, squares, hexagons or any shape that fits together well. Give each child a piece of white paper and several of the construction-paper shapes. Have each child create his own quilt "block" by gluing the construction-paper shapes to the white paper in any pattern he chooses. When all blocks are finished, you can create a larger "quilt" by taping the children's "blocks" together.
Children can draw faces on the head of a peg-style clothespin, the type without a spring. Give kids used fabric scraps to create clothing for their dolls. Shoes can be painted onto the clothespin. Add small pieces of yarn for hair.
In a sheet of construction paper, cut slits 3/4 inch apart from one another across the whole sheet of paper. Do not cut all the way through the paper; leave 1/4 inch intact near the edges. Cut strips of various colors of construction paper. These strips can be all the same width, or you can vary the width. Have each child weave the strips of construction paper into the larger piece of construction paper, alternating going over or under the base piece of paper. Once the whole piece of paper has been woven, glue the ends to the paper to keep them from shifting.