I don’t know about your children, but mine go through paper like drinking water. Thankfully we have a plentiful supply of scrap paper. Paper, scissors, sellotape and lots of imagination will keep children happy for hours. And sometimes the results are, quite frankly, amazing. Real feats of paper engineering. Also, it is not always about the end result. The planning, the designing, the cutting, the folding, the sticking together are all important life skills to take into adult life. So even if your child presents you with a paper or cardboard tractor and it looks more like a bird’s nest, give lots of praise because the journey to the end result will have been a lot of fun and very worthwhile. Here are our favourite books for making things with paper.
How to make Pop-Ups (Usborne) This is an excellent starter book for creating amazing 3-D designs from paper. But actually older children will also get lots from this book. There is a very useful ‘Getting started’ section which shows you folding tips, how to trace a template, scoring card etc. And then on to the projects – easy pop-ups, things on springs, pop-up chains, pop-up farm, animal mouths, space-ship lift-off and so on. Age 3+
A Wacky Guide to Paper Fun – How to make almost anything with paper! Alan Snow This has got to be one of those books you reach for during wet weekends and school holidays. Nearly all of the ideas here just use paper and stuff you will have lying around. We particularly enjoyed the ‘Incredible Indoor Sports’: Bat-a-Rat, Cornflakes Football, Whack-a-Fish, Paper Plate Tennis and Ten Pin Bowling. Also fun (and educational) are the ‘Moving Pictures’ sections (Act one and two). Age 5+
Get Writing – Creative book-making projects for children by Paul Johnson Firstly, please don’t be fooled or put off by the title of this book (i.e. “Get Writing..”). This is an excellent book for using paper engineering and book-making to support children’s writing work and project activities. We have used this book extensively to make books for learning log assignments set by my children’s primary school. The book itself contains over a hundred ideas for book-making for children aged 7-12. Each section introduces a basic book form, e.g. a pop-up book, a shape book, a zigzag book or a flap book, and then gives examples of different ways the design can be used for a variety of exciting writing projects. They really bring project work activities to life. Age 7+
Make it with paper published by Book House Contains beautiful and very entertaining ideas for children for rainy days at home or in the classroom, all using materials/items which are easy to find. Ideas include frilly flowers made from coloured crepe paper, a collage-covered concertina-style booklet (great for a homework project, see above), a clever ‘growing’ paper doll and a complete small-town scene. Age 5+
Things to make and do with paper (with stickers) published by Usborne Usborne have done it again with this colourful, idea-packed book of paper activities. And once the project is finished, it can be decorated with the stickers that are included! Here are just some of the lovely ideas – a shiny necklace using rolled up giftwrap, cut-out clowns, paper gliders, a bird mask, dolly paperchain which can then be decorated with tissue paper and stickers, tissue paper flowers, fairy pictures, jumping frogs and pop-up cards. Age 3+
Art from Paper (with projects using wastepaper and printed materials) by Gillian Chapman and Pam Robson This book has some stunning art projects created from paper with an emphasis on making use of old newspapers, giftwrap, old greetings cards and all sorts of wastepaper. There are some simple ideas such masks and disguises to slightly more involved projects such as making handmade paper; bangles, beads and bowls from papier mache; and bookmaking with proper, bound covers. For teachers, there is a very useful topic web all about art from paper. Age 5+ to adult.