The many properties of paper invite children to explore using all their senses. It provides opportunities for children to build skills in all areas of development as they manipulate and explore the paper.
Sound – Ripping, crinkling, and waving large pieces of paper empowers children to become scientists. Paper can make amazing loud, big noises. It can also make tiny crinkly noises.
Sight – Children explore paper with their eyes by watching the way big pieces of paper rise and fall slowly. They see the lines they make when it gets crumpled up then opened again. Looking through the transparent colored paper, inviting another way for children to explore their world and make visual changes.
Touch – Paper can be used for fine (small) and gross (large) motor skill development. Children can be very precise with a pincer grasp as they rip or pick up and observe a small piece of paper. They also use whole fist grasps to shake the paper with their whole arms and body as they wave it around the room. Paper is very light so babies can use big movements and carry around something that is very large.
Taste & Smell – Taste and smell are very closely linked. Infants explore their environments through putting things in their mouths – feeling and tasting them with their tongues. This is how many of our infants begin paper exploration. They smell and taste the paper before shaking, ripping, or crinkling the paper.
When children are allowed to destroy and create using the paper without being told, “no” it is very empowering. We make them feel like they can be creative and flexible with materials, this allows them to discover new things on their own. Children learn that they can affect their environment and make things happen. We are showing the children that we value them as scientists and as learners and we believe that they are competent people. They are becoming more independent explorers, and this shows as they learn new things about paper.