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DIY vs bought peg dolls in invitations to play

I recently shared all my peg dolls on my page this is why I teach. ec and I got so many questions I thought I would write a blog on them, how I make them, where I buy them (links) and how I share them.

Let’s start with rainbow peg dolls

DIY vs bought

The biggest difference in these peg dolls would be the cost. A set of bought rainbow peg dolls are $50 and washi tape rainbow dolls $21 (peg dolls $12-16 + washi tape from Kmart $5) that is not factoring in the time to make them. Which does take a knack and a tip is to use the straight dolls. For the DIY rainbow peg dolls you will need nimble yet strong fingers and a good eye or a paper guide.

Using them is the same as neither have faces. I often prefer no faces so that children can imagine themselves as the peg doll and feelings or emotions in the doll. This practice is very much a Steiner one with the Waldorf or Steiner doll.

My go-to for both is seasonal invitations. But I have also used them often in story baskets, tuff trays, small world play and suitcases.

The interesting things is that I thought I did not have a preference for one or the other but when I went back and looked at my photos of invitations, I found I had used the bought ones more! They are perfect for so many books on feelings and identity from Kei te pehea koe? to Mixed. They were fabulous on the light pad and with magnatiles and magnetic chips.

Cultural peg dolls, painted or DIY with jute, ribbon, dyed or washi tape.

I can’t paint! If you have read any of other blogs you will know this and I look for ways to avoid it from using tattoos, stickers and a transfer technique. All of which I have used on stones, disks and craft sticks. I have tried some on peg dolls to with varying success (more on that when I look at plain vs decorated).

I use DIY peg dolls in my pūrākau story baskets and you will see them in many of my e-patterns (Maui, Rona and the moon and Rata and the waka). The idea to use ribbon and washi tape came from teachers in my group Exploring why I teach .ec

Before I discovered washi tape I also used food colouring to dye the peg dolls and wax to seal them.

Washi tape is my best friend (you can see the rainbow peg dolls above) and if you can find tape that different cultures would have you could use them as I have here. I found some Japanese and Chinese patterned tape. I have considered trying a complex dress, kimono or suit but just went with a strip like the rainbow peg dolls. I have used them for a few of Grace Lin books I have yet to find some Japanese books and welcome suggestions.

I am also trying washi tape with ribbon to create a sari for Diwali and Indian children in my setting. I have yet to get what I have in my head and will continue to work on it.

My cultural peg dolls are available all the time and set out as invitations to play all year round. This is important in terms of authenticity, inclusion and social justice.

Plain vs decorated

When it comes to using plain decorated peg dolls it comes down to the purpose and intent. An embellished peg doll has a clear purpose and the play is somewhat predetermined and planned. A plain peg doll is less so, it more open ended and could be used in different ways even if ‘set up’ with items that invite a certain type of play or purpose. There are pros and cons to both. It is a bit like the loose parts or the product verses process debate.

Is it what it is? Sometimes even if it is painted as a pirate a child may ‘turn’ it into a rocket or a cat. Children I have discovered do not think about these things but simply PLAY. Often what you put out will be based more on your philosophy, place and context based.

Whatever you or I decide in these debates doesn't change the amazing addition peg dolls make to story baskets, small world, suitcase and invitations to play. That is why I have so many and they are a key item in my FREE story basket foundation box e-booklet.

Until next time.


P.S. there are affliate links and if you use them i get some moolah and no extra cost to you. There are also other links to my BLOGs to support you.

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