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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paper plates = Creative potential under sea and on land

August 2012 series 
Paper products become a Preschooler's creative activity

If you happen to have paper plates sitting around your house, then your preschooler is craft-ready!! Paper plates can become a variety of shapes, objects, and much more with just a bit of help from crayons, streamers, and googly eyes!! Here are two examples of creativity my 4 year old worked on last spring while in his preschool class.

As shown in the title photo at the top, here is an octopus. It can be created by cutting a plate in-half, taping streamers to the 'inside' and then gluing the two halves together. Then, of course, encourage the child's creativity with decorating the outside!

Tip on Scissors:
My oldest child was just under 2 years old when my Parent Educator from the Parents As Teachers Program suggested that we let him use scissors...and that SCARED me! But she followed up her suggestion with a step-by-step plan:
Start with using 'practice' scissors found in play dough kits as the first step. Then introduce blunt-tip kid scissors and let the child snip the edge of a piece of paper. Once the child has gained the muscle skills needed to operate the opening and closing action of the actual scissors, then they can practice cutting lines drawn down the paper.
When teaching my preschoolers, I found it helpful to point out safety skills such as 'how to hold the paper' and we talked about 'what we do and don't cut'.  This came in handy later because they knew why they got in trouble when I turned to help their younger sibling and I found a snip in my new table cloth. *wink*

And earlier this year, my middle child had the joy of learning to use scissors by cutting straws (see the Straw Beads Busy Bag post here). At the time, he was about 2.5 years old and found it very rewarding to watch the straw piece go flying through the air versus just making a simple snip in paper.

And this is a sheep. Using the back of a paper plate, glue on pre-cut black ovals for the face and ears as well as cotton balls for the wool. A few eyes on the front and a masterpiece is made in a few short steps!

Tip: Regular school glue can be tough for a toddler to work with -- the bottle can be hard to squeeze and it takes practice to make the glue come out evenly. Encourage your little one to practice with your help!  Even glue sticks take skills to operate so be patient and let them practice with lots of scrap paper under the project to protect your table!

Thanks for reading this first post in a series of 3 this month related to Preschooler Activities using everyday paper products. Come back for more soon!

Related articles to be posted during August:
-Paper bowls = turtle and a jellyfish
-Paper cups = kangaroo and a spider

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