We have some really big families in our co-op, and I thought it would be fun if the 5th/6th grade kids got a chance to show them off, in the form of nesting dolls. We used things like buckets, potato salad lids and whipped cream lids for the moms and dads, and then we kept using smaller and smaller lids for the siblings in birth order. A good rule of thumb is whatever template was used for the previous head would be used for the next body. Some students had so many family members that we had to get as small as a water bottle cap!
When they aren’t colored, it would have been confusing to remember which size goes with which sibling, because when we made the doll outlines, the kids pretty much stuffed everyone on to three or four papers, in whatever way they’d fit. I had the students not only label the shapes on the outside (dad, mom, Jerry, Sally) of each doll, but also put a number on them, starting with dad (1), and going until they ran out of siblings.
Next, they colored everyone in, making sure to give them distinguishing parts so that even other people would recognize them. One dad has tattoos all over his arms. Another dad has a very bushy moustache. Annnnd, one mom keeps her cell phone in her bra, so it sticks out. We all got a great chuckle out of that one – including the mom!
The only rule was that they had to stay within the boundaries of the initial shape. For instance, if a sibling had super curly, fluffy hair, that had to be portrayed WITHIN the doll-shape.
You can imagine that some students were finished earlier than others because of the size of their families. For this reason, we left it as a fill-in project for the remainder of the year. When everyone was done (right before the art show, I might add), they cut out their families, put them in numerical order, put a brad in the bottom, fanned them out, and glued them to the background.