From Brazil ... Grass-Head Clowns

These funny clowns are made at the spectacular Foz do Iguacu (Iguassu Falls), which sits at the point where Brazil meets Argentina and Paraguay. Here, there are always beautiful, lush green plants growing everywhere, so no wonder the kids there have incorporated grass into their toys! Meet the Grass Head Clown, which is often decorated with the colors of the rainbow, the same colors created from the mist of Iguassu Falls which falls along 350-foot cliffs of river. The child who made this particular toy used all recycled materials: a pair of her mother's old' stockings, a piece of scrap ribbon, sawdust she found lying around her father's wood shop, and a small handful of grass seeds. As a result of assembling all this "junk" together, she has a toy that's fun for any boy or girl to make and play with . . . especially if they like to cut hair! These toys have become so popular in Iguassu Falls that some of the children make them and sell them to tourists who come to see their town. So they are not only toys, but they are also a way for the children to make a little money of their own.
We like to call the Grass-Head Clown the original Chia Pet!

Suggested Age for Child: This toy is suitable for children ages five and up.

Materials Needed:
1. Hosiery or stockings (preferably ones that mom was going to throw away anyway)
2. Sawdust or vermiculite
3. A handful of grass seeds
4. Paint
5. Ribbon

1. Take a pair of hose and cut them, about twelve inches from the toe of one of the legs.
2. Cut several "strings" from the rest of the hose. You will use these later to tie parts of the clown's body.
3. Hold the section that you cut, with the open end up.
4. Sprinkle a small handful of grass seeds in the bottom (the more grass seeds, the more hair your clown will have!)
5. Stuff sawdust into the hose, on top of the seeds, until the bottom part of the hose is approximately the size of a tennis ball.
6. Tie the lower part of the stocking into a tight knot in order to hold the sawdust and grass seeds in place. This is your clown's head (it's upside down right now).
7. To make a nose for your clown, pinch out a place the center of the "face," where you want the nose to go. Pull out the hose, taking with you some of the sawdust, and twist it. The more you pull, the bigger the clown's nose will be! Tie the nose with one of the strings you cut earlier to hold it in place. Pinch out a lot more than you think you'll need because by the time you manage to get it tied, you'll lose some of the sawdust.
8. To make your clown's ears, do the same as you did for the nose, only do it on the sides of the clown's head, where ears would go. Remember to tie them off so that the sawdust stays in the ears and keeps its shape.
9. The clown's body is next. Turn your clown upside down again. There should be several inches of the stocking hanging from the head. Stuff this section with sawdust until your clown is plump and round and then tie it at the bottom. You're almost done!
10. Take some ribbon or material and wrap it around the clown's middle, where the head meets the body.
11. Make your clown's eyes with the paint. Be creative. Some people like to paint the nose and cheeks red, too.
12. Now we grow the clown's hair. Each day, hold the clown flat so that it looks like it is lying down. Hold it under the kitchen or bathroom sink and thoroughly soak only the top of the clown's head with water. Try not to get the clown's eyes or ears wet because your paint might run. Hold it just like you would hold your own head under the bathtub faucet.
13. Water your clown's head every day from six to ten days. You should begin to see lush green grass growing on top of its head after about six days. Let it grow and grow until you think your clown needs a hair cut.

How to Play: You can cut the clown's hair (make sure an adult is with you if you use scissors!) in any style you want, or you could brush the clown's hair in a silly new 'do! Be creative! You can also change the clown's clothing as often as you like to go with its new haircuts.

If you know any additional information abut this toy or have a toy you've made or seen made please contact us! We'd love to hear from you.

Photo taken by Rick Strebe copyright 1997-2001