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In Japan, the Doll Festival is celebrated on March 3rd. On that day, traditional dolls, passed down from mother to daughter, are displayed on a tiered stand covered with red cloth. Also on the stand are peach blossoms, miniature household items, and foods made especially for the festival. Although the holiday honors young girls, you can include boys in your celebration. Make a stand for your child’s dolls or action figures by covering a step stool or bookcase shelves with red cloth or paper. Then let your child arrange the dolls as desired.

Give your child pictures of dolls or action figures cut from toy catalogs or ads. Invite him to glue the pictures on red paper any way he wishes. If your child wants to glue the doll pictures in rows, draw lines across the paper for the dolls to stand on.


Let your child make her own dolls or action figures. Have her draw faces on jumbo craft sticks or tongue depressors. Then have her glue on yarn for hair, and scraps of fabric or colorful paper for clothes. To make a simple stand for the dolls, cut slits in the lid of a shoebox. (Let your child paint the shoebox and lid red, if she wishes.) Then help her insert her dolls or action figures in the slits so that her creations appear to be standing.

Help your child line up several dolls or action figures. Talk about what the dolls look like and the actions they are made to perform. Then play a simple guessing game. Start by giving your child clues, such as “I am a girl. I have blond hair. My name starts with the B sound.” Then ask, “Who am I?” (Barbie) Give additional clues if necessary. When your child guesses correctly, let him have a turn giving clues.

Play one or more of the following games with your child.
Line up dolls or action figures and count them.
Rubber-stamp prints of dolls or action figures on paper. Count them, then label the paper with that number.
Line up five chairs. Ask: “Can you place your doll on the second chair? On the fifth chair? On the third chair?” and so on.
Visit a doll museum or doll shop to view collectible dolls.
Display a few of your own special dolls from your childhood.
Talk about objects that are displayed or used only on special occasions, such as holiday decorations or dress-up clothing.

Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”

Let’s sing a song today.
Let’s sing a song today.
Sing for Doll Festival.
Let’s sing a song today.

Let’s clap our hands today.
Let’s clap our hands today.
Clap for Doll Festival.
Let’s clap our hands today.
Liz Ryerson
Continue with other verses, such as “Let’s dance around today” or “Let’s tap our toes today.”
Let your child host a tea party for favorite dolls or action figures. Serve juice for tea, along with small cakes topped with pastel colors of frosting. Or make finger sandwiches using fruit flavored cream cheese. If you wish, decorate the party table with real or artificial spring blossoms.