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  1. #1
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    Default Use less paper for crafts?

    Ds has hit the craft stage. And it is a lot of fun. But between painting, markers, stickers, etc. we are going through 10+ pieces of paper a day (most of which ends up in the garbage at the end of the day).
    Am I missing something that could save some paper?

    We have an aquadoodle that he uses some times, but it isn't the same, as well as the magnadoodle.

  2. #2
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    I hear you.....as an painter/drawer myself nothing 'feels' the same as a nice clean piece of paper.

    I try to talk to my charges about the environment and how to be a responsible artist...even when they are young as in my opinion you are never to young to care about the environment. I know my charges love to paint and colour and my own little gorl would go through 100 sheets/day if I let her... but as the adult I feel it is my jo to open their little eyes that there are 'many many' different ways to be creative without using consumable products all the time.

    Here are some of the things I do...

    To help avoid those stages of one scribble across the page and going for the next paper I also talk about how it is more respectful to the tree that the paper came from to ensure that we 'use' all of the paper before taking another piece...before taking another piece of paper I try to draw their attention back to the one they have started by talking about what I see and the process of creating art by saying things like "I see you have used a lot of blue here" and then by asking questions like 'I wonder what would happen with the blue when you press hard or soft with your...insert whatever medium is being used?' or "I wonder what would happen if you used a big brush instead of a small brush?' with many children this will bring them back to the paper and continue to experiment until the page is fully used...but it doesnt work with all children...depends on their attention span swith ome children one stroke and off they go.

    I also use a dry erase board with coloured marker accessories from Staples with my little home childcare charges... I take a photo of their 'creation' to show them as a keepsake...then with the children who it was more about the process delete it when interest has waned....really special ones - that had a detailed story or new developmental addition (such as the first time a person actually looks like a person - or they add facial features, etc.) I print out for their portfolio scrapbook.

    Another option for younger children who are more about the process then then product is to use a large piece of thick clear plastic as the paper....plastic feels almost like finger paint paper and is WAY cheaper and of course reusable. I have a couple of large pieces of laminated plastic that was left over from something I laminated at the OEYC these work great. I tape them to the table for painting or to a patio window as this also works as a cool reflective surface (only do this if you do not mind washing the window after as inevidably the children will go off the plastic paper) When they are finished painting and are ready to move on I take a digital photo if child requests then clean the plastic off with a washcloth in the sink and hang it to dry until the next painting session....after a while of use the plastic will get wrinkly and I will chop it up for the clear collage bin and procure a new set!

    Depending on their age other 'creative' things I use are:
    Mosaic tiles to make designs...Scholars Choice sells larger styles for the younger age groups and even magetic ones that are great with the magnetic dry erase boards.
    My preschool age children enjoy the glass gemstones from the Dollar store, i have lots of different colours and shapes I have collected over the last couple years, I set out large pieces of white paper to help 'define' one child's creative space over the others and they will sit for a long time to make designs and pictures with these - they tell great stories about what they are making.
    Plastic clear bingo and poker chips also make cool designs and patterns...and are resuable.
    Buttons as well...
    depending on the age of your child having a large collection of 'collage and mosaic' items in a bin that you can use to create pitcures with...instead of using glue all the time I have a collection of 'treasures' that we reuse over and over to make mosaic pictures as well as I have a collection of 'recycled' materials that we also make 'permanment' collages with.

    Playdough and clay are both reusable....and can provide hours of fun. Scholars Choice and Micahels also sell a wide variety of tools for use with clay aside from typcial roll it out and cut it into cookie cutters...my charges never use the cookie press shapes but love the protuders and molding, carving and cutting tools. I find that when children are left to actually 'create' things from their imagination they can play for hours molding and shaping these type of mediums....I have an eighteen month old who will spend over an hour with the clay and tools..i think it is the magic of the proturder and that it makes a long 'snake' shape for her...she laughs every time she manages to get one to come out.

    If your little ones are fixated on paper projects another way is to teach them about the 'art of combining mediums' This will at least reuse paper several times before it has served its purpose. First step is to 'colour' a picutre with crayons, chalk, etc. the one day, set it aside and then the next day try to paint a picture over top of it to see the different interactions....paint over wax has a different effect than over marker or chalk? When the picture is dry another day you can add 3-D images to the painting with glue and collage materials. In my opinion this process really helps to increase children's interest in art, bringing them back to the previous process and then adding to it...it also helps to enhance creative story telling as with each medium they can add new items or thoughts to their story...as children age thier 'creations' become more and more detailed and amazing!

    Sorry - as usual with me that is a little long winded...but hope it is helpful

  3. #3
    SarahBeth
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    THanks for all the great ideas! Sometimes I feel stumped and "uninspired" for new crafts / activities - you've just given me a good jumping board!

    I also use Ava's drawings/paintings for placemats or fronts of thank you cards that we make.

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    We use a lot of scrap paper - I'm a student so I go through many copies of paper for my thesis edits and so on. It all gets passed on to the kids to scribble on.

    For special crafts, we use regular paper and save them in a bin for them to look at when they're older.
    The poster formerly known as Geomamma

  5. #5
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    We tend to color, paint, glue, stick stickers, etc. on boxes and toilet paper rolls before putting them in recycling (if they can still go in there after we're done! lol). We have made finger puppets out of toilet paper rolls which we tend to keep around for a while to play with, so they have more staying power than a picture. I have also used some of the kids paintings as wrapping paper for family gifts.
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    Sorry, I only skimmed the other posts so I hope I'm not repeating! Reese goes through lots of paper too, but we recycle almost all of it. Coloured construction paper can not be recyled though. Reese has an easel and we buy those paper rolls from Ikea. They are great, and we just tear it off and recycle it when she's finished. Sometimes we take pics first though. The stickers are a problem though... so maybe use those when you are using the construction paper.

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    Thanks for the ideas.

    I had put the dry erase board away before Christmas and forgot to get it back out (that will save a couple pages a day!).

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    totallyawake - Thanks for the ideas, we're not quite at that stage, but I love doing crafts with children and our daughter will surely do a lot too. I used to recycle all kinds of stuff I found when I looked after children, kept the cost down for me and the environmental impact. Had never thought of painting on plastic though, very cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by Geomamma View Post
    We use a lot of scrap paper - I'm a student so I go through many copies of paper for my thesis edits and so on. It all gets passed on to the kids to scribble on.
    Me too, tonnes of paper piled in our lab for scrap We're never short on scrap paper!

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    Something that I did for my cousin who was constantly drawing was I painted part of her wall with chalkboard paint, now she can draw on her very own chalkboard and her parents can just wipe it off afterwards, they have even bought the really nice (expensive) brightly coloured chalk. Just another option.

  10. #10
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    I was going to suggest a chalk board aswell. Another option is save some of the artwork to use as wrapping paper, cards etc.... I do that with Camryn's stuff.

    totallyawake those were some great suggestions!! My dd loves to do art, I am going to incorparate some of your ideas into her craft table. THANKS!!!
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  11. #11
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    I skimmed through so I hope I'm not repeating anyone:

    gift cards - my kids colour on gift cards we have received...bday, xmas DD likes to pretend she's writing a message

    scrap paper - I keep everything to reuse

    paperbags - my DD painted on paper lunch bags sometimes I kept them, then used for loot bags at her bday party that just past

    boxes - always fun to colour on but really exellent to use when painting.

    gift bags - if they are ripped I cut them up, or let DD do some cutting, then they can glue...etc

    ribbon - glue on paper, etc

  12. #12
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    we're using up the Christmas cards right now -- fun to decorate or cut up.

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