Thursday, September 22, 2016

Making Paper: A Tot School Adventure

This post was originally posted on the SeeMamaTeach collaborative blog.

Hello, It's Michelle from Teaching Eternity.  If you follow me on Instagram you know that despite the fact that school has started up I am still attempting #TotSchool activities with my son (henceforth known as Small Fry).

One day I had finished cutting out large bulletin board letters with my Cricut and was left with a bunch of scraps of neon card stock.  Rather than throw it away I decided I would make a #TotSchool activity out of it, and Small Fry and I would try making paper.  This blog post is not about how to make paper, although if you don't know how you'll learn.  Rather this is about the adventure of making paper with a Tot.

September 14, 2016:  I tried using my dinky at home paper shredder to shred this card stock, but I ended up breaking the shredder.   So I ripped it instead.  At first I put only a little bit of water in, but that wasn't much fun so I added more, enough to make the paper float.  I put the paper and water in one of our shoe box sized containers, put that container and Small Fry in the under the bed Fun Bin, and let him play around.  At first he enjoyed squishing the papers around but soon we discover that they stuck to his arms and legs. I'd stick one on, he'd giggle and pull it off and ask for more!

September 16, 2016:  After letting the paper set for 2 nights I threw it in the blender.  It didn't take long for it to turn into this mush!  Again I put the mush in a small bin inside the big bin, and Small Fry sat in the big bin.  This really helps to cut down on messes.  We used measuring spoons to scoop and dump the mush.  I thought about hiding some magnetic letters or plastic animals inside, but Small Fry didn't seem to keen on touching it.  I thought it felt really nifty - soft almost.

September 17, 2016: The next day we scooped all of that paper mush out onto a screen.  I got THIS ONE off of Amazon.  I didn't plan it this way, but it fit perfectly in the large Fun Bin.  It sat right on the ledge on the inside.  I do not have any great pictures of this one since I was busy making sure our mush made it onto the screen instead of the carpet!
After getting all of the mush onto the screen we had to press some of the water out.  I used paper towels for this.  This took quite a few rounds of pressing then wringing out the paper towels.  In the end there was a lot of water in the bin underneath.
I set the screen up on the kitchen counter (out of Small Fry's reach) to dry.  I propped it up on some little bowls to hopefully help it dry faster.

September 21, 2016:  Our paper was finally dry.  Truthfully it finished drying out on Monday, and I put it under some boxes to flatten it, then forgot where it was!  This was not the best paper.  It was more like really bumpy cardboard.  I think that was because I'd used card stock rather than regular paper.  It was also very fragile.  About 10 minutes after this picture one of the corners had been ripped off and there was a quarter sized hole in the middle.  (Small Fry loved holding it up to peek through!)

So, would I do it again?  The ripped paper and the mush part - yes.  The rest I may do again when he's older and can appreciate how cool it is to actually make paper and then use the paper he made.


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