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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Calvin vs. Collage

Did a quick art project with Calvin yesterday. I thought of another way to make a pretty fall tree with orange, yellow, and red leaves... torn paper collage! Torn paper collage is a technique where you use torn bits of different papers to create or fill in shapes. My idea was to use the torn paper to fill in the leaves of a fall tree and the feathers of a turkey.

I thought this was a brilliant idea. As it turned out, Calvin felt otherwise. But I figured it was worth sharing anyway. I mean, I like torn paper collage. Surely some other kid out there would be into this even if mine wasn't!

For a simple torn paper collage, you really just need paper and glue. If you want to get fancy, you can use fancy paper or even paint the paper first, which is a whole other art project. You could also embellish your picture with glitter or stickers or whatever else you can glue down. We kept it really simple.

Just like I had done for our fall fingerpaint trees, I drew a tree trunk and branches ahead of time. I also drew a turkey head on another sheet. I cut our construction paper into strips so that we could tear off little pieces easily - or at least, I thought it would be easy. Turns out Calvin can't tear pieces off of a strip of paper just yet. I gave him a strip and showed him how I was ripping little pieces off. He proceeded to squeeze it and pull it until it was pretty well mangled but still in one piece. 


In an attempt to salvage this project I tore little notches all along another strip and with some teamwork, he was able to rip pieces off. I held the big strip, and he would pinch the end and tear it. He got the hang of pinching the paper and twisting his hand while pulling. He just couldn't do that while also steadying the paper with his other hand. That's ok. We can work on part of a skill at a time. I even made sure to have him switch hands halfway through so he got practice with his right and left. 

We did one strip together like this and I tore the other two strips for him. Once our paper was in little torn pieces, I set out a small dish of glue and showed Calvin how to touch a piece of paper to the glue, then stick it to the picture.

He had no problem gluing on the pieces of paper. But I feel compelled to confess that I glued at least half of those feathers and leaves on myself because truth be told, Calvin was much more entertained by running around in circles than he was by this collage project!

When I found myself begging him to come glue a feather on the turkey I was like, ya know what? If he's not into it, let's move on! Honestly, I think I lost him when ripping the paper turned out to be hard for him. Ripping paper is a really good task for little hands. It takes some coordination and it works those little hand muscles which is important for other fine motor tasks and especially for writing. So, Calvin, this is not the last you'll see of torn paper collage! We shall meet again! 

Ever started a project that your kids weren't into? This is not the first time it's happened to me - nor will it be the last I'm sure! 


  1. Well, sorry he wasn't so into the project, but thanks beaucoups for sharing the pictures of him running around in circles! Wonderful! Love you both!

  2. Haha! Ryan does the same exact thing as Calvin for every project we do. Starts off into it, then finds something more interesting. Or just tries his best to destroy said project.
    Even though the project did go over to well, Calvin sure is cute! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I tried to comment as Angela and obviously missed something