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Pipe Cleaner People

2 and 3 year old children love to play with these but aren’t usually able to make them. 3-5 year-olds need lots of help making them, but can participate. 6-8-year-olds can make them and make pretend music bands, elaborate scenes, and play with them for hours once they learn how.

Materials:

3 pipe cleaners for each “person” to be made. (Use three 6 inch chenille stems. Cut 12 inch stems in half.) (You can even cut chenille stems in thirds or fourths and make shorter people—parents and children.)

Procedure:

  1. Take one of the three pipe cleaners and wrap one end around your finger, making a circle. Hook its end around the part that’s still straight to hold the circle in place at the top of a long neck. That’s the head. You can make it as large or small as you like. 1/2″ diameter is good. Now you have a circular shape with a long neck. It looks like a lollypop.
  2. Put the 2 straight pipe cleaners next to each other and place them across the neck of the head piece at right angles to it. Place the neck of the head piece about 1/3 of the way from the left end of the two straight ones. (If you put it in the center, your dolls arms will be long and legs short.) The round head should be very close to the straight stems.
  3. Wrap the long neck tightly around the 2 straight stems, spiraling down. This forms the torso of the doll.
  4. Next, bend to two short top straight parts out and down for the arms and bend the head up to sit between the two arms.
  5. Bend out the tip ends of the legs to make the feet. Now, the pipe cleaner person is complete and ready to bend into any position.
  6. Children also enjoy dressing the dolls with tissues or scraps of fabric. Our son made maracas out of beads on toothpicks, and used boxes of all sizes and other scrap items to create an entire band.