We recycle a ton in this household and had just celebrated Earth Day this past Spring so I wanted to spend more time on the process of recycling rather than, for example, the items.
After morning circle, we read through some of these great Usborne books.
We are particularly fond of Usborne’s See Inside series and this one was no disappointment. It does a wonderful job explaining the process of recycling items once at the distribution centers.
We moved onto book work next
and then it was a pick-your-own-snack-kind-of day so that I could continue working on the prep work for our first craft.
I had decided there was no better way to demonstrate how old paper can be turned into new paper than by doing it ourselves! I googled the process and found TONS of blogs with directions on how to do it. Basically, they all said to take a large mixing bowl and fill it up with paper ripped into 1″squares (use colored paper as well to add a punch to your new paper). Soak the squares in warm water so that they are completely covered. Note: the ink will wash off and is HARD to clean off of whatever bowl you use so don’t use something that you will eat out of again or that you value. Soak the paper for about two hours and then place a handful at a time into a blender and pulse it until it has an oatmeal consistency. Grab a cookie drying rack and some paper towels and start pressing your paper! You can dig right into the bowl with your hands to press the pulp as all the ink has washed off. Make sure to get as much water out as possible by pressing hard on it-it will help it dry much faster! Use cookie cutters to create shapes as well.
Boys working together making some shapes!
And once our first piece was dry, I was thrilled with how beautiful it came out!
I worked with two children at a time making the shapes and pressing the water out, so while we were busy, I had the other kiddos make promise hands using their own hand shape and this printable I found. They picked which promise they wanted, cut it out, traced their hand and glued on the promise. It was a very simple craft, but it came out SO cute!
After we were done paper pressing and hand making, we played a quick sort game that I found at Oriental Trading. It is really cute and the kiddos loved sorting all the items!
We had a great day and although creating paper was a lot of work, I think it left a quite the impression on the kiddos giving them a stronger understanding of how we can reprocess something that was once trash into something new and beautiful! Success!!