HOME PLAYS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE 21
There are a number of elements to this play. There is the handicraft of making them. There is the cooperation of sharing them. But the main thing is that the dolls are not used as dolls after all, but as characters in a mimic world, acting out real situations. They may be defined as chessmen used for playing the game of life.
A Bottle Doll is not cuddlesome. One does not rock it to sleep or feel concerned about its health. It does not appeal particularly to the maternal instinct. This may explain why boys play with them as eagerly as do girls. These dolls are considered as having distinct characters, and the feeling that children have toward them is that of respect for personalities.
How to Make Bottle Dolls
It is now time to tell how Bottle Dolls are made. The only materials required are various small sizes of empty bottles, white cotton cloth, a little cotton batting for filling, scraps of paper and cloth for garments, and some string, glue, pen, and ink. Set a bottle before you, then take a square piece of cloth large enough to make a head and shoulders the size the bottle suggests. Make the heads of different shapes. Fill the rest of the cloth with cotton enough to form shoulders, tie the ends of the cloth about the neck of the bottle. Baste over all but the head a strong paper. Now clothe in paper or cloth, according to notion. Arms can be omitted if something is draped about the shoulders to give the suggestion that arms are there. With pen sketch eyes, nose, and mouth.
How to Arrange the Dolls
The best basis for the "kingdom" is a dining-room table, or any raised surface about six feet by three. The idea of the kingdom placed on the floor does not seem to give satisfaction. There is a sort of inconsistency about it. The child feels too large for the little world at his feet. But when the mimic world is placed on the table the idea of its own completeness is unmixed with the bigness of the child's person.