Did you know that trees do NOT need to be cut in order to make paper? For example, there is a company in Thailand that makes paper out of elephant poo!! This is possible because elephants are vegetarian and their dung is full of fiber which is what you need to produce paper. But you don’t need elephant poo to make paper, and the process of paper-making is something that is easily accessible to all.
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Making paper is an amazing learning opportunity and here is why:
- It teaches your child about the importance of recycling.
- Making paper can be used to learn about fiber and why it is a necessary part of a healthy diet. So, if you have a kid who is not keen on eating vegetables, paper-making is a simple artistic activity to get them interested in fibrous foods.
- Paper-making can help you declutter and recycle all that paper you have lying around.
- It is a multi-sensory activity.
- Making paper involves water which makes it extra fun for kids!
- Paper-making is an excellent activity choice for STEM, Montessori and Waldorf-style education.
- Recycled paper, envelopes, magazines, packaging
- Compostable parts of fruit and vegetables (leafy vegetables like spinach, apple peals, avocado skin, anything you can think of, really. I once made cardboard from peanut shells).
- Handmold (while on vacation, we improvised and used lemon mesh bags only for making small pieces of paper, but having a Handmold Papermaking Kit is easier).
- Leaves, flowers, grass
- Dishpan (we just use storage boxes)
- Tear small pieces of paper (or whatever you are using) – an equivalent of two sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ / A4
- Place them in a blender with four cups of water and blend well.
- Distribute pulp in water evenly. Kids love playing with water, so let them enjoy this process.
- Dip the handmold and lift it up. Pulp will stick to the screen.
- Let the water drain into the dishpan.
- Set the handmold on a tray.
- Gently remove the wooden frame.
- Place a cover screen over the sheet.
- Use a sponge to get as much water out of the sheet as possible.
- Gently remove the cover screen.
- Put a piece of cloth on top of your sheet.
- Flip everything over gently and lift off the grid.
- Place a cloth over the sheet.
- Repeat the process to make more paper.
- Let your paper dry completely. It can take a day or two.
- Encourage your child to experiment with vegetables, fruit and plants. Explain to them which ones have more fiber. As an experiment, try using foods with less fiber or no fiber at all (like sweets) and see the difference.
- If you are using the KonMari method for decluttering, when you get to the paper category, use this activity to recyle everything.
- You can iron your sheets to make them flat.
- To make your own handhold, use an old wooden frame and 2 pieces of flyscreen cut to size.
- Collect plants and flowers to use in your hand-made paper.
- Use flowers or pieces of paper to decorate the sheet while it’s still wet.
- Once dry, encourage your child to use the paper they made for drawing, painting, writing, crafts, etc. This way the process of paper making will feel more complete in their minds.
How does your child use their hand-made paper? Remember to tag me on Instagram as @Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play and use the #Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play hashtag. We love seeing your creations!