Because this activity requires a a certain level of fine motor development as well as an understanding of representational art I recommend this activity for children 3 and up. An activity that involves torn paper that is more appropriate for children under three is this one. The act of tearing paper is great for strengthening hand muscles which will aid writing skills. I love using torn paper collages as a way to demonstrate knowledge of a concept. Our Torn Paper Collage Zoo focuses on the different parts of the body of the animals they saw in the zoo. Using a large piece of white paper (butcher paper) will give children the opportunity to work together on a mural and have their own space at the same time.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE TORN PAPER COLLAGE ZOO
colored construction paper
1 inch strips of black paper
glue (either bottles or small dishes with brushes)
large piece of white paper (purchase butcher paper here)
TIME TO MAKE A TORN PAPER COLLAGE ZOO
Begin by cutting a long piece of white paper (a roll of butcher paper works well for this). My piece was about 4 feet long. Tape to a table or the floor. Using a marker draw a long line across the top and bottom and horizontal lines to create boxes for the animals.
Brainstorm with your child which zoo animals you would like to include in your zoo today. You can look through photographs of your Zoo Visit or browse images on the internet or in books. Once your child chooses an animal show how he can choose a colored paper and tear it to make the different body parts. “Let’s see, what color is a giraffe? Yellow? Okay, let’s get a yellow paper. What kind of a body does a giraffe have? Oh, a long neck. We can make that by tearing a long piece of yellow paper!” You can aid literacy development by engaging your children in a dialogue while creating art. Always give words to their actions. “Look at the way Quinn is using his hands to tear a long piece of paper. Now he is going to glue the paper.” Remember when speaking about children’s artwork it is important to focus on the process over the product. Avoid statements that begin with “I like” or “It looks like a”. Instead you can begin an open dialogue by giving language to their actions or simply saying “Tell me about the way you are…”.
Aid literacy development by writing the name of each animal at the top. Quinn is learning to inventive spell and took the time to write the names as well as the word “Zoo”. If your child is beginning to write encourage him to write the sounds he hears rather than placing emphasis on spelling the word correctly. For example, Quinn wrote the word flamingo “FLMGO”. This is exactly how it should look for his age. When the writing is complete hang your zoo on the wall.
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