Toddlers love getting messy and show curiosity when new materials are introduced to the room. They use their senses to explore the new textures, by observing, touching and tasting.
To follow our children’s interest in messy play, we have planned different activities, which will enable us to investigate new textures and smells. One of the activities, which the children enjoyed the most, was creating a pape rmache to make little balls.
First we blew up balloons and the children had a play with them by throwing them around the room. Next we all sat down for our creative activity and the children loved squeezing the balloons: We put bowls on the table and placed the balloons in them. The children showed great observational skills by copying the grown-ups and placing their balloons in the bowls too.
Activities like this one require bilateral coordination, where children have to use both hands to perform the steps of the process. The toddlers were manipulating large paint brushes to dip in the glue and then transfer it onto their balloons. They were using their other hand either to keep their balloon in place or to grab newspaper and stick it on top of the glue.
Using both hands at the same time during activities, helps develop the basis of very essential early skills, such as writing and tying shoe laces later on. As well as that it promotes coordinated movements of both hands.
Making paper mache was an activity to support one of our children’s interest in gluing and sticking, as well as getting messy! Our toddlers in Ladybirds all loved the activity and practiced their fine motor skills, in picking small pieces of paper off the table and sticking them onto the balloon’s surface. After covering their balloons completely, the children carried their bowls to the drying rack.
The children kept revisiting their paper mache models and touching their surface to see if they were dry. As a room we used this opportunity to speak about the different stages of the process of creating our little paper mache balls and how once they are dry we will also paint them. Our toddlers demonstrated curiosity, but also understanding of what was happening next.
Once our paper mache balls were all dry, the toddlers enjoyed decorating them using different mark making resources, such as paint, pencils and felt tips.