This is the last of a four part series I have been doing on using toys in education, specifically Lego and dolls. Today, we will cover how we use dolls to add a fun element to our schooling at home.
As I mentioned in the last post with dolls, we are from a family who loves dolls. We collect many different ones. However, we have found the world of 18" dolls (and sometimes 14") are the best to add homeschool fun. I also mentioned in that post that you can do this rather inexpensively, if you have a good or even creative eye.
If you have any sewing skills, there are literally hundreds of sewing patterns out there for dolls! I have a large collection (large is an understatement, ahem) of doll patterns. But, as a seamstress, I have been able to mix and match patterns and come up with some fun costuming for my girls' dolls based on a period of history we were currently studying. You don't have to go as complicated as I have and some patterns are definitely easier than others. If you don't have an ounce of sewing skills, but still want to add this fun flair to your education, Etsy is an awesome place to find dolls clothes of many eras already made for you. A bit more costly, but it will definitely get you what you are looking for.
(Medieval doll outfit and Tudor era doll outfit)
You can also literature in with your girls' dolls. When the Wizard of Oz was celebrating their 75th anniversary a few years back, we did a study on history behind the movies, Kansas, how the movie compares to the book, etc. When it was over, I decided it would be fun to make a couple of doll outfits for the girls.
(Glinda and Dorothy, including ruby red slippers)
You can even tie in movies with your dolls. I have a housefull of Disney princess lovers, myself included. When Frozen came out, as you know, it went gangbusters, even here. My littlest girl was totally enthralled. I ended going Frozen crazy with her. :) She got Elsa and Anna outfits. The bigger girls got them for their 18" dolls. And, then I ended up making these cute little rag dolls for my littlest girl, especially after Frozen Fever came out.
(Anna, Elsa, and their mermaid friend)
Again with any of these, if you have no sewing skills whatsoever, a brief browse around Etsy will give you lots to feast your eyes upon. More than you can afford I am sure. You can also find lots of homemade accessories to fit your needs as well.
One fun thing that I did with my girls, was incorporate the American girl history dolls with our American history studies. The history dolls fit so nicely into various events of history. We learned about clothing and food from the different eras, different customs, major events that happened during that dolls period of history, etc. It was a fun way to make history become relative to them. You can even make clothes from the different eras. The 3 big ones, Simplicity, McCalls, and Butterick, all have patterns. But, if you want authentic ones, look no further than here. American girl a while back published patterns for their doll clothes. That has ceased. But you can find them all here for FREE!!
I hope this got some creative juices flowing for you. I have enjoyed doing this series. It is fun to integrate beloved toys into your child's education.
Goodness from around the 'net:
Here are a few freebies to help you with an American girl historical doll study:
Lapbook templates from Homeschool Share, these only cover some of them specifically. I used the basic templates for any that weren't covered. They also have a free set of diy templates that you can use for any lapbook. Link is found here.
Free unit study help can be found at Thrifty Homeschooling, Field of Daisies, The Unlikely Homeschool (this link shows just Julie but you can find the rest at the bottom of the post), and Catholic Missionary Family (again this is just Caroline; links for more included). These all have tons of great ideas but if you need more I am sure you can find them.
American girl itself has some free guides that I found useful. You can locate them here.
This website is full of great craft ideas based on the eras of each doll. I loved and did lots of these with the girls.
This is not free but if you want to do American girl studies but not all the work, this is for you! And they look great!
One of my daughter's has taken her love for dolls and crafting for them to youtube. You can see her creative genius here.
Pinterest and etsy can glean you a ton of diy or ready made for your dolls.
Some of my favorite internet doll pattern companies are found at:
www.pixiefaire.com - she gives away a pattern free every Friday and you can get freebies if you sign up for their email
www.alldolledup-dollclothes.com (she even has patterns for the mini dolls)
Last but not least, if you want to browse the Big 3 for patterns, here are their websites. And, if you catch Joann Fabrics for their 99 cent or even 1.99 pattern sale, you can get a good deal on them.
This is not all that is out there. I am sharing my personal favorites. But look around and you will find more! Lots more.
Do you have any other homeschooling with toys ideas to share? Please leave a comment!