Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Make Recycled Paper With Preschoolers

"Trees are your best antiques."
~Alexander Smith

 This is a favorite because it is so tactile and hands on or preschoolers. Okay, and for us grown ups, too. I usually send a nice letter home asking parents to save white paper or newsprint. Sure, I could do it all myself but the children love coming in with paper they have reminded their families to save. We keep the 'recyclings' in a big basket until that special project day comes. It all builds to the excitement we have been discussing all week. I will usually show them a sample paper that we will be making and they will go absolutely bananas for it.

Materials You'll Need:
• A blender
• Newspaper gives off a gray tint to the finished recycled paper. Another option is to leave it out all together. Sprinkling small bits of crushed potpourri into paper gives it a elegant look
• A framed screen that will fit inside the baking pans
• Scissors
• 2 disposable baking pans (you can find them at a dollar store/foil)
• Small rolling pins/Adult rolling pin
• Sponges for the children and yourself
• Glue (optional-any kind)
• Pitcher of water
• Smocks for yourself and children
• Potpourri (optional)
• Large bowl

You may want to create your ‘pans’ ahead of time. I have also seen more seasoned teachers do without the pans after they have done this a few times. Your pans can be as big or as small as you want them but remember, the thickness of the paper effects drying time.

Making the Pans:
1. Use your scissors to cut the bottom of the baking pan out, leaving only about an inch or two around the edge of the bottom of the pan. Place this pan inside the other one.
2. Put the screen into the pans.

Now here is where you and your smocked children have to most fun.
The Process:
1. Everyone begins generously tearing or cutting the recycled papers they have collected into small bits.
2. Place clipping in the large bowl and mix carefully with hands.
3. When adding glue, be sure to ask the children what they think will happen when glue is added, be sure to use your spoons afterwards!
4. Place in blender and mix with pitcher if water to a wet mashed potato consistency (add potpourri)
5. Pour out on screen evenly lifting screen and to allow water to drip off and using sponges to soak up excess water. Place a sponge at the bottom of the screen. Ring sponges into large bowl or sink. Repeat and continue.
6. Flip screen onto a flat surface for next step
7. Roll out evenly with a rolling pin to get out excess water and to flatten evenly
8. After it has dried you may use your paper!

It makes a wonderful gift all by itself with a but of ribbon strung though it holding a poem or a photo of the child.

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