Busy little hands: Paper Mache Bowls

I'm sure you all made or used "gaw-gaw"/flour paste one way or another. As a kid, I always enjoyed the process of slathering the paste on ripped newspaper. The mess and gooey-ness adds to the fun. But it also takes a little patience. In my children's case, I kept hearing "Can we paint now!???". They waited for almost a week to paint it and that is A LOT to take for children under 5. But we all know that learning to wait is a good thing.

What I liked about this handicraft project is that I didn't need to buy anything at all. All I needed was flour, water, strips of paper or newspaper, old paintbrush, plastic/cling wrap, petroleum jelly, old plastic containers (for the mould) and paint. We spent around 35-45 minutes each morning for 5 days to finish it.

During morning nap time (9:30ish) of the youngest, the little hands of the two eldest get busy. We rush downstairs to whip up paste flour. The kids measure half a cup of flour and add in a cup of water. They stir until they reach the right consistency. They then tear and cut pieces of newspaper. Meanwhile, I prep the plastic container. I wrap it with cling wrap and cover with petroleum jelly so that we can easily remove it once the paper mache is set.

They start dipping the strips of newspaper in glue and stick them to the container. They use old paintbrush to paint in more glue. After each layer is done, they wait overnight. They repeat the process until they cover the bowl in 4 layers. Finally, they can paint! :)

Charlotte Mason preferred handicrafts or life skills over "glitter and glue" crafts. She would rather have the kids learn slowly and carefully. I couldn't agree more. Here are four points to keep in mind when selecting handicrafts or life skills:

1) The end product should be useful. The children should not "be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats and the like."
2) Teach the children "slowly and carefully what they are to do."
3) Emphasize the habit of best effort. "Slipshod work should not be allowed."
4) Carefully select handicrafts or life skills to challenge but not to frustrate. "The children's work should be kept well within their compass."

"He practices various handicrafts so that he may know the feel of wood, clay, leather,
and the joy of handling tools, that is, that he may establish a due relation with materials.
But, always, it is the book, the knowledge, the clay, the bird or blossom, he thinks of,
not his own place or his own progress.
- Charlotte Mason Vol6, p.331
[emphasis mine]


some handicrafts to consider:
ºbeading ºcalligrahy ºcarving ºceramics ºchalk drawing ºcharcoal sketching ºclay sculpturing ºcrocheting ºcross-stitiching ºembroidery ºfinger painting ºflower arranging ºgardening ºkiting ºknitting ºlatch hooking ºleather tooling ºloom weaving ºmacrame ºoil painting ºpencil sketching ºphotography ºpottery ºrobotics ºrubber stamping ºsewing ºwatercolor painting ºweaving ºwoodworking

some life skills to consider:
ºbaking ºcanning ºchanging a car tire ºcooking ºcleaning ºclearing the table ºfirst aid ºfishing ºorganizing ºsweeping the floor ºsetting the table ºfolding clothes

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