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Japanese Daruma dolls


Date: Sat Mar 09 2002 - 03:38:30 PST

In the midst of doing this project with 1st and 2nd grades ~
Japanese Daruma dolls, a folk toy based on the the legend of a
Zen Bhuddist monk. The toy, traditionally made with a rounded
body weighted at the bottom so that it always rights itself when
pushed over, represents determination and hard work. Usually
it is made with two blank eyes ~ color in one eye when you make
a wish that can be achieved with hard work, and color in the other
eye when you have achieved your goal. (Even if you explain this,
1st and 2nd graders have interesting ideas about achievable goals...
one boy announced that his wish was to become a sausage!)
  Anyway, I write about this now because if you are interested in
doing this project at any time of the year, NOW would be the time
to purchase 3" plastic easter eggs (6/.76 cents at Walmart),
which is by far the most agreeable method of several I read
about to make this doll.
I glued the weights (5/16"-18 hex nut, topped with a 1/4"
fender washer) into the bottom of the egg with a couple of
generous squirts of the glue gun (put the egg top on and adjust
to the best upright position before the glue completely cools).
Considered super glue but because of cost and fumes decided
against it... the glue gun works ok if you warn kids that dropping
eggs on the tile floor will pop the weight off. I had 4 accidents
out of about 110 eggs ~ be sure to prepare extra eggs if you
use hot glue. We used red bulletin board paper to papier-mache
onto the eggs (use a round piece for the bottom, with tears to make
it lie smoothly ~ put kid's names with a sharpie on this piece before
beginning). Cover the entire egg, and then paste on a torn round white
piece (thin copy paper) for the face. Kids will be concerned that
the egg doesn't rock when you do the papier-mache, but assure
them that it will work when it dries.
Next class period, use paint or markers to make the face. We used
pale colors of washable markers in pink for the cheeks and pale blue
and green for decorations on the face, and then pigment markers in
red, black and gold metallic for facial features and decorations on the
red body. If you have an hour with your students as I do, you'll need
another activity or centers... we made caterpillars (with folded paper
strips) whose origin is also Asian, (and which proved to be remarkably
easy for some 1st graders and remarkably difficult for others.)