When we decided that paper would be our primary language for birthday committees, we knew that making paper would be part of our journey. We also knew that the children who were in Rainey Room A last year would be leaders in this process because they had experience with making paper for their moon and sun last year. Melanie and I are both new to this process, and so we are learning along with the children.
"When I was in Rainey Room, we made orange and yellow paper. It was in a bucket. The next day we have to store it. The next day we made a sun and moon." - Elle, 4.11 years
As for the timing, we also wanted to honor one of our holiday traditions of giving a gift to the church staff by making handmade paper for ____.
"Why are we making paper if we already have paper?" - Giacomo, 5.0 years
Before we began, we took a few minutes to look at some handmade paper that we have at St. John's. The children noticed the texture and "things" that were inside the paper; many pieces had seeds, pieces of flowers, etc.
There was, as you can imagine, a lot of enthusiasm for tearing the paper. It was joyful, a great fine motor activity, and proved to be a long lasting experience for some (sustained engagement). As we worked to shred the paper, we talked a lot about the upcoming process.
1. Two days of shredding all of the paper we would need (12/9 & 12/10).
2. Soaking the paper in a lot of water to soften it (12/10).
3. Blending it with even more water to make the paper pulp (starting on 12/13).
4. Using screens to dip out the pulp, shimmy the water off, and dry it.
5. Admire our gorgeous handmade paper.
As they began to tear the paper, they noticed that "something is fuzzy", so we talked about the fibers in the paper. When they found a new type of paper, they would slowly tear it and observe the fibers of that particular piece and show them to each other.
"I can see the fibers too!" - Elle, 4.11 years
"It's so fuzzy." - Janie, 4.9 years
"Will the new paper have fibers?" - Nora, 5.1 years
They also discovered that some paper is easier to tear than others, and paper tears differently depending on the direction in which it is torn (horizontal vs. vertical).
Soaking our paper
Though it was a quick part of the process, there was a lot of enthusiasm for soaking the paper and mixing it with their hands.
Making paper pulp and sheets of paper
We had a wonderful treat on Monday, which was getting to spend most of our morning with Jen (she also worked with us in the outdoor classroom -- that work will be posted soon). Jen and Melanie spent the morning blending our paper pulp, exploring the textures, and actually making paper!
When CC and Nora began exploring the paper pulp, Nora shared with Jen that she thought it felt like fur.
Today, the children were practically pros at making paper. They were sharing techniques with me (Elyse) and each other.
A few samples of our paper
Leave a Reply.