Today I welcome Leslie from Ribbons and Robots!
Leslie creates fun picture books and STEAM activities for little girls and boys. She’s challenging parents of girls to step away from the pink aisle to show their kids how much FUN learning can be with engaging activities and cool facts that are perfect for pre-k through early elementary. To get you started, she’s whipped up a How to Build a Robot from A to Z digital picture book and printable Robot Building Kit for you to enjoy on the house!
Art is such a great way for kids to learn and explore using their senses. Plus it usually lets them make as big a mess as they want.
We explored shapes and texture with this geometric paper mache process art activity.
This was a simple activity to put together, and even though it made a little mess, it wasn’t so bad to clean up.
For this activity, we put a spin on paint brush skills by using the brushes to apply paper mache glue.
Paper Mache Process Art Materials:
All you need for paper mache is flour, water, and of course paper. I’ve seen a lot of different recipes for paper mache using other ingredients, but I like this one best because I don’t mind if it ends up in the mouth (which it will with a 2-year-old).
We used a cooked recipe this time, but I’ll also include a no-cook recipe for you to experiment with.
Cooked Paper Mache Instructions:
I began by boiling 4 cups of water on the stove. (Always use safe stove practices with the little ones!)
While I waited for the water to boil, I mixed 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water in a large bowl and whisked it briskly to remove as many lumps as I could. (In all honesty, we had lumps. It’s okay!)
Once the pot of water was boiling, I slowly added the mixture from the bowl to the pot. I mixed it while I continued cooking it for about 2 more minutes.
While you do this, you can add a little flour or water as necessary to bring it to the consistency you want. It should be fairly runny.
When it was finished cooking, I poured the glue into a shallow baking dish to help it cool faster.
No-cook Paper Mache Instructions:
This is by far the easiest paper mache recipe out there, and you don’t need to worry about the glue being too hot to use. You might get a few more lumps, but lumps aren’t anything to be scared of.
Really, all you need to do for no-cook paper mache glue is mix 1 part flour to 1-3 parts water (so about 1 cup flour to 1-3 cups water).
I say 1-3 parts water because I’ve seen all of those ratios used. I say just give it a try and tweak it as needed. This is such a great way to demonstrate to your kids that it’s okay to experiment and get it right.
You can also add a little salt to prevent the mixture from molding.
Just pour all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them well.
The glue should keep in the fridge for a few days.
While we waited for the glue to cool, I covered the table in white butcher paper and cut out freehand shapes from construction paper.
I cut the shapes as the kids called them out. If your little one is working on scissor skills, you can also draw out the shapes for them to cut or you could let them cut them freehand.
As I cut the shapes, we counted the sides and helped my 2-year-old name the shapes and colors.
In no time, we had a huge pile of geometric goodies ready to be pasted.
I ladled out a few scoops of glue into plastic trays (reused from veggies) for each of the kids and gave them each a paper plate to glue their shapes to if they wanted. The butcher paper worked great, too.
Then I let them take it away from there.
They experimented with putting down a layer of glue onto the plate and then adding their shapes, dipping the shapes in glue, and layering them.
They smoothed the glue down with their hands.
They mixed and matched the shapes to make new ones.
And they made sure to include every shape on the paper.
In the end, this activity kept them busy and engaged, and we had some beautiful geometric art to hang up when it dried!