Paper and Water

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This activity was a fantastic reminder that kids will turn games into their own agenda – and usually for the best!

I got the original idea from Tinkerlab, and it sounded very simple: let your child put different pieces of paper in a tub of water until full, then remove with tongs. I especially liked that last bit, since I’ve been working with Travis on the pincher motion of tongs, and he still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it.

I neglected to think of my son’s personality though, that is: when he sees a bucket of water, he just wants to splash it! Every piece of paper I tried to put in the basin was met with a, “No, all done,” and he promptly removed it and splashed his hands about.

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Then things got fun… He asked to step in it, so I decided to indulge him and rolled up his pants and let him climb in. He tested the limits quite knowingly, pretending to hop, run, and march in the water, my little imp!

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When I coaxed him out, we now had piles of wet paper, so I thought he might like the sensation of ripping paper when wet. He took to it immediately. ripping increasingly tinier pieces, and delighting in how small he could make them.

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I asked if he wanted to dry the pieces out in his salad spinner like we do with lettuce leaves and he loved the idea! From here on out, it was putting the wet paper in, giving it a spin, then removing it, while keeping up a narration to himself about tiny pieces being wet or dry or getting closer to dry (“There we go!”).

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About a half hour in, I looked at his fingers and realized they were BLACK from newspaper ink. (Note to self for next time: stick to construction paper!). He got a kick out of rubbing his grimy hands together in between ripping the paper up when he saw my laughing reaction to the cleanup ahead of us. This picture doesn’t even do the extent of the ink justice.

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Start to finish, this activity lasted us nearly an hour – a sure sign of a hit!

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