Messy Play with Shredded Paper


Playing with shredded paper is so much fun.  It is such a fun activity to do with babies, toddlers and young children.  I did it with Kaiah when she was 10 months and Tyson when he was 3.  My friend Haylee (their Mum) saved up all the paper from the shredded paper machine for me to use.  I started by pulling all the paper out and throwing it around.  Tyson did ask why I was making a mess but I explained we can clean it up after we are finished.  Kaiah enjoyed this experience while eating her toast (not the paper).

Shredded paper is a tactile sensory leaning experience.  But what is the point of this apart from making a mess?

What are the children learning:

  • Encourages relaxation and enjoyment of the process rather than the end result
  • Provides for a range of social interaction including co-operative and parallel play
  • Develops fine motor skills essential for literacy and writing
  • No predetermined skills or abilities required which gives them confidence to join in
  • Body movements encourages expression and creativity
  • Promotes gross and fine motor skill development
  • Affirms individuality and builds self esteem as they engage in spontaneous play without preset ideas
  • Helps develop a sense of rhythm and timing skills used in other areas eg. music, dance and writing
  • Allows them to explore care free and make a mess
  • Exploring messy play without getting dirty (some children don’t like getting dirty)
  • Children learn social skills and strategies for sharing apace to gain spatial awareness

If you are in a early childhood centre you could set this up in an area for a week or two for children to re-visit and extend their learning.

Clean up is easy with a broom or vacuum cleaner.  But before you throw it in the bin why not recycle it again into something else?

Other uses for shredded paper:

  • Paper Mache
  • Make Easter birds nests
  • Put it on the garden as mulch. It smothers the weeds but allows the water to soak through
  • Build a snowman (on paper)
  • Make paper bricks to put on the fire
  • Add coloured shredded paper and put it on the collage table
  • Use it for packaging fragile goods
  • Use it for party decorations

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