I've seen a lot of pins on shredded paper play for toddlers. This is one of those activities that is so awesome, you say you're doing it for your child, but really... you're doing it for you. Most of the ideas for shredded paper are great because they are made with recycled paper that you've machine shredded from home like here, at the Tinkerlab. Organization AND reusable materials for play; What could be better?
Unfortunately, I don't own a shredder. I thought about showing up at the local UPS store with a trash bag, begging for abandoned shreds- but that felt wrong. I dunno, something about people's private papers and the UPS clerk picturing me sitting at home piecing these documents together shred by shred...it just felt weird. Sooooo, I made my own shreds! They actually turned out to be super easy to make and worked well for Kz who would have eaten those tiny machine-made shreds in seconds. These inch-thick, lanky shreds weren't nearly as appetizing.
I had some leftover packing paper from our recent move and decided it would be perfect. It's thin and flowy and not the type of paper that would give you paper cuts (Ahh, even the thought of it makes me shiver). I took a fairly large stack and cut down the shorter edge. Cutting through a large quantity of sheets proved to be pretty easy and in a matter of minutes, I had enough shreds. I threw them in a large basket and excitedly waited for Kz to wake from his nap. I briefly considered adding more materials to the basket but decided to start with bare bones shreds to allow Kz to get acquainted with the activity first.
It was a good thing I did because when I plopped him inside, he was totally freaked out. He humored me by examining the shreds, touching them, stretching them, and acting excited before looking for the quickest way out of this thing.
"Here ya go, Mommy. I'm soooo excited. Snap your photo and save me immediately."
Maybe surrounding Kz by the shreds while being contained in a basket was a little aggressive on my part?? After rescuing Kz, I reevaluated my strategy and tried again. I tipped the basket, allowing the shreds to cascade onto the floor. This was much more inviting and Kz could approach it at his own pace.
I noticed he was staying on the periphery and not really diving into the material, so I tried another provocation. A bird's nest!
This little red bird chirps, and Kz was happy to trudge through the shreds to get to it. He was probably like, "Ugh, she just did the same thing to me. Don't worry, Red Bird. I'll save you!"
I resolved to leave the shreds out for him to explore on his own time. But not before doing this...
Come on, I had to! He forgave me, see?
I left the basket o' shreds out for a few days, using some different materials to spice it up. One day, I threw in some sensory balls. The next day was rubber duckie day. The last day, I added a bunch of familiar, small toys which ended up turning into a great game of treasure hunting! The toys would sink into the shreds, peeking through just enough for Kz to spot. My hubby had the great idea of burying his ipod in the shreds while playing Kz's favorite Elmo song. He suspiciously searched the basket for Elmo, uncovering many other treasures along the way. Genius!
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