Hands-On Crafts
Downhill Doll
Have Some Olympic Fun with This Skier
Who is that racing down the slalom, through the gates with speed and finesse? Franz Klammer?
Picabo Street? No! It’s your child’s own homemade yarn skier doll. When you can’t get to the mountains for a day of downhill play, this doll and a little imagination will bring the mountains home to you. Children can pretend their doll is the next Olympic champion of the slopes – and, because the doll is made of yarn, there won’t be any torn ligaments or broken bones in the event of a crash.

Ages: 5 to 12

Time: One hour

Skills required: Cutting, tying, gluing

Materials: Yarn, cardboard, scissors, craft sticks, toothpicks, craft glue or low-temperature glue gun, wooden bead (preferably a 1.5-inch “head bead” with a round recess drilled into the bottom)


IGHT: -0.25in">1. Cut a 5-inch square piece of cardboard. Wrap the yarn around the cardboard, creating 5-inch loops. As kids wrap the yarn around the cardboard, they can count the number of loops they make (up to 40 is perfect). Show your support of Team USA by using red, white and blue yarn or choose colors representing the nation of your favorite Olympic competitor.

IGHT: -0.25in">2. Next, cut a 2-inch piece of yarn and, before removing the loops from the cardboard, tie all of the yarn together at the top of the loops. Then slip the loops off of the cardboard and cut the loops in half at the bottom (opposite of where they were tied together).

IGHT: -0.25in">3. Use craft glue to attach the tied end of the yarn bundle to the recess in the wooden bead. Let the glue dry completely before continuing. (Note: Using a low-temperature glue gun will speed up the drying time. All children must be supervised if using a glue gun.)

IGHT: -0.25in">4. Next, create each arm of the skier by sectioning off about 10 strands from each side of the yarn that is attached to the wooden bead. Use a 2-inch piece of yarn to tie together at the “wrist” the strands that form one arm. Repeat for the other arm. Tie another 2-inch piece of yarn around the entire yarn bundle (excluding the arms), forming the skier’s “waist” – about a third of the way down from the head. Next, divide the yarn below the waist in half to form the two “legs” of the skier. Use a 2-inch piece of yarn to tie the leg strands for one leg together at the “ankle.” Repeat for the other leg.

IGHT: -0.25in">5. To make the skier’s crazy hair, wrap yarn around a half-inch piece of cardboard about 20 times. Again, tie the yarn together with a separate piece of yarn before removing the cardboard. Glue the yarn bundle to the top of the wooden bead and style as desired – or simply go for the dreadlocked Rastafarian look.

IGHT: -0.25in">6. Add the skier’s poles by gluing a toothpick to each of his hands. For his skis, glue each of the skier’s feet to the middle of a wooden craft stick. For a little more flair, before gluing, paint the craft sticks to look more like skis. Another fun variation is to exclude poles and use one wide craft stick for a snowboard that any shredder would be proud of.

7. Make a scarf by cutting a half-inch-by-7-inch strip of felt and tying it around the skier’s neck. Finish by drawing a face on the wooden bead.

8. For more fun, let your child exercise a little imagination by making ski runs and jumps out of cardboard, felt or any other potential craft items lying around the house. Styrofoam balls cut in half make great moguls. Have fun and don’t forget to enjoy some après-ski snacks!

For a complete list of all of Jill Jolton's Hands-On Crafts, click here.

From United Parenting Publications, February 2002.