Thinking of doing a little schoolwork with your young family to get in the back-to-school mood? I certainly was a few days ago. Since we decided to homeschool our little kindergartener, I’ve been stocking up on cool, educational ideas that I feel align with our chosen school’s curriculum. I started by asking around for inspiration, and luckily, my very talented and artsy niece gave me this awesome idea – how to make your own paper!
Making your own paper is fun, eco-friendly, and developmentally motivating (for both kids and parents).
The paper is made from recycled bits of old paper, so kids can see your or their old projects become something new again and learn the importance of recycling. Recycling greatly reduces the amount of stuff that ends up in the landfill. It also helps us reduce our resource uptake, which saves the environment and our pocket books.
This activity is also messy play at its best so it helps increase sensory, motor, hand-eye coordination, and social skills. Not to mention – it’s incredibly fun!
Prep Your Play Space
So now that I’ve sold you, you’re wondering where to begin? Let’s start with clearing a spot for the activity. I like to do all messy crafts on the floor of my kitchen during cooler days and on my patio during hotter ones. I also like to lie old paper down but since the old paper is one of our key ingredients here, perhaps just use an old towel or do it right on the floor’s surface.
Next, grab your mixings and artsy utensils:
- A stack of old paper (my niece used all of last year’s homework while my kids used their old artwork)
- A soup pot filled with water
- Scissors, both adult and children’s
- A colander
- A large screen
- A few towels
Let’s Get Messy!
The best part about this activity is that all of it can be done with the kids. With their little kid scissors, tiny hands, and huge imaginations, they can participate in every step!
- Cut all of the paper up into tiny pieces (if your kids are anything like mine, they will be masters at making tiny pieces of paper that seem to multiply when glanced at)
- Put all of the tiny pieces into the tub of water
- Mash them up with many hands, big smiles, and tons of laughter
- Strain the soupy mix with the colander
- Spread the wet mulch onto the large screen into the desired shape and thickness (you can even use cookie cutters to make desired shapes!)
- Put a towel over the screen and flip the paper onto it
- Lay it on a table or other surface to dry overnight
- Wake up the following morning and colour that new masterpiece!
After doing this neat project that was both hilarious and entertaining, my niece also gave us some cool tips to try for next time. These include adding seeds, flower petals, leaves, or even food colouring to give the paper some cool tints! I know my munchkins are eager to try this activity again and we will be sure to make these additions!
Until Next Time
I hope you and your little ones have a chance to try this cool activity and even learn a thing or two about development and the importance of recycling. For more info on teaching your kids about recycling and a few more educational activities, click here. For more information on the importance of messy play and how to encourage it in your home, check out this link. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share! Until next time, have yourself a wonderful paper-making experience!