We have this sweet lady across the street who saves fliers and various pieces of scrap paper for my boys to color on. The other day we were visiting in our cul-de-sac and she ran back in the house to bring me a stack of colorful fliers. So, since it's raining and we're stuck inside, today I thought we'd utilize this colorful paper and make a project...paper garland! This is a great project to recycle scrap paper including junk mail!
- Paper (colored and/or white)
- String or yarn
- Toothpick or skewer and some tape (or a blunt plastic tapestry needle that's safe for kids)
- Crayons, Markers, etc
- Hole punch
- Optional extras: paper edger scissors, paper crimper, paper punch, glitter, stickers, etc...
Our stack of paper from our neighbor. (It's all blank on one side)
So, basically we made various kinds of beads out of paper to string on our piece of yarn...
This project is great for short little attention spans because there are many different things to do...color, cut, glue, punch, string, etc. I started by having Sammy fill the white pages with colors. While he did that I got the string and "needle" ready...
I swear I use these bamboo skewers for craft projects more often than for cooking. I cut one in half and used some masking tape to secure one end of yarn to it, and had a nice "needle" that was easy for kids to use. On the other end I tied a bread bag tab just to keep the beads from sliding off.
Once I got that ready Sammy had a colorful piece of paper to turn into tube-shaped beads...
I cut it into a couple strips.
...then rolled them up the long way and glued it into a long tube.
Hold the tube with the seam against the table for a few seconds for the glue to grab hold and dry a bit.
I did this with pieces of the colored paper too. Some of them I let the writing show to add a little graphical interest...others I rolled so the blank side showed.
Now have some fun looking through the tubes or pretending they are walrus tusks or giant straws...
Next we get to play with SCISSORS! Cut the tubes up into beads!
...meanwhile, Toby is having a blast tearing up my kitchen. This is one of his favorite activities. But, since he's still at the crayon eating stage, I let him
trash the place explore while we do projects.
I'm not sure where you even get these things, because I found them at a garage sale, but Sammy had a blast rolling strips of paper through this paper crimping tool. We then used the crimped paper in some of our other "beads."
Another type of bead we made was just a strip of paper folded back and fourth in a zig-zag...
...Then we used a hole punch to go through the whole thing. You can also easily make flat beads by cutting different shapes and punching holes in them. We did circles, squares, triangles, and of course, fish.
Here are some of our beads. It might be helpful to you to put them in two piles...the 3-dimensional ones and the flat ones. (an opportunity for your child to learn how to sort things) This will help with threading them, because it works best to alternate flat ones and 3-D ones. (thus preventing smaller tubes from slipping inside the larger ones) Then you can tell your child to alternate between the two piles.
A little tip, if you're making fish, you can easily make mouths with a hole punch only half way on the paper. ;-) Depending on your child's level of patience and attention span, they could even decorate/color each fish. (Milk this sitting-down-being-busy thing for all you can!)
Now you can really keep your kiddo's fingers busy with threading their beads on the string! Sammy didn't last for all of that part so Mommy finished it up. But I figure, hey, if I can get him to sit and work on something creative with me for even a few minutes every day, I'm doing my job!
Don't be afraid to let your kid's creativity take over and side track from the project. Their little heads are full of great ideas!! Sammy picked up one of his little "tube" beads and said "We can make it into a tiny little cup!"
...to which I replied, "That's a GREAT idea! I'll make a handle!" And, we made a tiny little cup. Well, proportionally it looks more like a pitcher, but he got a kick out of it.
Sipping some pretend water from our teeny tiny little cup! Sammy had another great idea too. When we strung a white tube between two flat squares he said, "Momma! It's a paper s'mores! Let's make paper s'mores!" (And of course, we DID, complete with a paper fire pit to roast over, but I'll save that one for another post!)
So you see, a little side-tracking is great for the imagination! Now, back to the project at hand...
Concentrating on stringing the beads. I think the long length of the bamboo skewer as opposed to just the end of the string made it easier to feed the string through the beads.
We got quite a string going!
Sammy showing off his awesome paper garland! If you don't have the patience to make a long string, you could also do these as little vertical dangling decorations too, much like the hearts we made on Valentine's day.
So much fun! I hung it on the underside of our fireplace mantle, where it currently waits for Daddy to come home to see!
There are an infinite amount of things you can do with paper. This is one project that ANYONE can do. Feel free to go nuts on your paper decorating too...glitter them up if you want! Heck, you can even throw in some cheerio's or dry pasta in there. Anything with a hole in it goes. Got little girls? Make it into a necklace!
This project can so easily be adapted to go along with any holiday theme! With Memorial day coming up, try making this with red, white and blue paper and cut some star shapes. You'll have some one-of-a-kind decorations for your Memorial day bbq and a great conversation piece! Put some supplies out on a little table if you have kids coming over and they can make their own to take home!
Enjoy those rainy days....Happy paper recycling! :-)
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