at home ideas

at home PAPER adventures

Despite its simplicity, playing with and exploring paper, tissue, and cardboard can lead to a wide range of discoveries about texture, color, size, shape, sound, weight, and translucency. Paper play can also lead to big “math” ideas such as something large (a piece of paper) can be divided (torn) into lots of smaller pieces. Try some of the paper-based activities below and you’ll probably begin to appreciate why, for many young children, the wrapping paper and the box is often more intriguing than the gift inside.

  1. Notice paper in your daily environment, commenting on its color, texture and feel.
  2. Make balls from old newspaper for tossing and rolling. Create your own “ball games.”
  3. Tear paper using a wide range of papers including toilet paper, cardboard, writing paper, tissue paper. Notice the differences. Work with your baby to sort the torn pieces in piles by size, color, texture, material. Remember, it’s not a test, it’s play!
  4. Stuff torn paper into tubes and cylinders. “Where did it go?”
  5. Put different paper treasures (perhaps pictures or drawings) in a variety of boxes. Play a game of finding each treasure. Mix up the boxes and look again.
  6. Make a cape or a hat out of a large piece of newspaper or butcher block paper.
  7. Save appliance and moving boxes for climbing in and on. A collection of these could result in a “box city!” Add scarves as doorways or curtains.
  8. Provide three or four small paper gift boxes of different size, shape or color. Try to match the lids with the boxes.
  9. Collect shoe boxes for building and stacking.
  10. Use a flashlight to shine on paper, or through a hole in paper.
  11. Submerge corrugated cardboard in a basin of warm water. Peel the layers apart.
  12. Drop different kinds of paper from above. Notice how some paper floats down.
  13. Make a tent with newspaper or use a large sheet of paper for a game of peek-a-boo.
  14. Take a bath with a homemade cardboard sailboat (nothing elaborate – the mere suggestion of a boat is enough).
  15. Crinkle, crumple, tear, and rub different types of paper and comment on the different sounds. Rubbing corrugated cardboard with fingers or a spoon makes a great washboard sound! Pretend you are in a paper rhythm band.