Just like the heroine in Berry Magic, you can make your own “magic” doll. 

This simple doll is taken from Native American traditions.  Legends have it that corn dolls are magical friends.  They will be loving companions, as long as you make them with love and you don’t put any facial features on them.  If you do, so the story goes, he or she might become vain and get into selfish mischief :).  You can add all kinds of things to make your doll special–flowers, leaves, ribbons, cloth. 

The heart of harvest celebrations all over the world is the bringing in of the first grains.  The is a super old and almost universal tradition. Corn is the grain that Native Americans cultivated for centuries and gave to colonial Americans, along with their knowledge of how to grow it and use it. The native peoples used all parts of the corn. Corn husks were used to weave mats, make brooms, and make dolls among other things. Many native tribes celebrate the Green Corn Dance, to give thanks for the ripening corn. Pioneer families adapted the native traditions, holding barn dances and harvest parties for the same reasons. All across Europe, the tradition of making straw dollies goes back centuries, as well.

This is a really fun activity for kids of all ages.  I even thinking it might be a cool activity for my daughter’s birthday in August.  To make, here’s what you will need:

Corn husks (found in the hispanic foods/latino foods section of many grocery stores, or specialty latino foods groceries.)



Good glue (like Tacky Glue)


A big mixing bowl with water in it

To Make:

Soak the corn husks in a bowl of water for 10 minutes.


Take 6-7 husks by the narrow end and tie a string around the top about ¾ of an inch down.  Once secure, turn it inside out by turning it over and pulling the husks down around the tie a couple at a time to make a head.


Tie again to make the head.   


Next, take one husk  and roll it tightly.  Secure on both sides for hands.  Slide it into the body husks just under the head to make arms. Tie a waist. 


Tie on extra husks for a skirt, or separate the husks in two and tie separately for legs (see image at the top of this post).

Add clothes, decorations, skirts, flowers.

Use dolls for play or to decorate your harvest table.