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The act of paper-making is a phenomenal sensory experience and a chance for boundless, yet productive mess-making. Add ingredients from nature like leaves, flower petals and even small twigs, and this project becomes even more memorable, not to mention beautiful.
The materials come from artwork kids have already made. This is a chance for kids to experience the cycle in recycle (and for us to have something else to do with all of the kid artwork that is piles up!). Every bit of material is reused or repurposed, making it an exercise in letting go of the trappings of stuff and the attachment to objects—a powerful life lesson to people of any age!
Want to see more? Watch this video of the paper making process from start to finish with tips on learning into the process of art-making (and not just the final product) with kids!
By doing the making outside, we can not only enjoy the mess, but also incorporate plant materials, turning paper-making into its own art form. Both comfort with messy processes and experience with dappling in a wide variety of materials help kids become more creative people.
When kids participate in each step of turning old drawings into new paper, they experience recycling from beginning to end (or new beginning). This act of transforming materials offers a great way to practice the transforming schema, an important behavior pattern associated with early childhood development. There is really no better way to concretize both the process and the concept of recycling for kids, helping them to become good stewards of the planet.
Finally, the practice of letting go of old, treasured works of art can start to help kids to let go of a whole host of trappings that could, literally and figuratively, weigh them down in life. What a fun, reverent and beautiful way to plant the seed that we and our paper should keep reinventing ourselves.