Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Alternate Activity 3: Worry Dolls

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Pipe cleaners, garbage bag ties, toothpicks (the kind that are square in the center and round at the ends) or clothespins
  • Unpatterned burlap or cotton fabric in various skin tone colors
  • Embroidery floss or patterned fabric, in various colors
  • Tacky glue (quick-set) or super glue
  • Markers
  • Handout 3, Worry Doll Instructions
  • Optional: Tweezers

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the instructions for making worry dolls so that you are prepared to assist participants.

Description of Activity

Participants learn about and make their own worry dolls. Begin by asking the participants if any of them have ever used worry dolls. If someone has, ask them to describe it. Explain that worry dolls originate in the Mayan traditions of Guatemala. They are little wooden dolls dressed in colorful clothing. In Guatemala, a person will tell the doll a worry or a problem they are having and then put it under their pillow overnight. While they are sleeping, the doll will make their worries go away, help the person sleep, and leave them more hopeful.

Explain to the group that they will now have an opportunity to make their own worry doll. Distribute Handout 3, Worry Doll Instructions and go over them with participants showing them the supplies they will need. As they are making worry dolls, circulate around the group assisting as needed.

When everyone is finished making their worry dolls, lead a discussion using the following questions:

  • Do you think worry dolls work? Why?
  • What other ways do we have of letting go of worries and renewing hope?