Making a corn dolly is a traditional part of the Christian Harvest Festival although its origins may stretch further back in time.
“Corn dollies or corn mothers are a form of straw work made as part of harvest customs of Europe before mechanisation. Before Christianisation, in traditional pagan European culture it was believed that the spirit of the corn […] lived amongst the crop, and that the harvest made it effectively homeless. […] Among the customs attached to the last sheaf of the harvest were hollow shapes fashioned from the last sheaf of wheat or other cereal crops. The corn spirit would then spend the winter in this home until the “corn dolly” was ploughed into the first furrow of the new season.”(Wikepedia)
How to Make a Corn Dolly
iChild – This site has instructions; unfortunately they are part of the gold subscription – so not free. However, it is interesting that they make theirs with string and not corn! I guess that is much easier to bend and manipulate string to make doll shapes.
5 Step Corn Dollies – From the eHow site.
Wikipedia – Has many pictures showing the different designs, the Countryman’s favour may be perfectly possible in school for all ages.
This You Tube video on braiding with four strands may be useful:
The Eden Project – Explains how to make a Corn Dolly.
Auntie Anne’s Extremely Useful Stuff – Has a great set of pictures to help in making a corn dolly.
Woodlands School – There is lots of child-friendly information and more great photos at this site.
– Has corn dollies made with Art Straws – it may be a much better way of getting started!