Paper and printing fun with the younger students

The younger group of students (3-5 years old) got to do some fun paper activities and printing activities this week:

Scrunched Paper Sculptures

This art piece can be quiet dramatic with black and brights. In other colour combinations, different effects can be achieved.


  • one 30 cm by 30 cm (12″ by 12″) piece of black paper
  • nine pieces of brightly coloured paper about 10 cm by 10 cm to 15 cm by 15 cm (4″ by 4″ to 6″ by 6″ )
  • white glue

Preparation: Fold each black paper in three the long way and in three the short way to create nine squares. I scored mine using my Score-It® tool at 4″ from each edge. Cut the small pieces of paper.


  1. Each student choose nine pieces of coloured paper and one black sheet.
  2. At their seats, students scrunch or fold the coloured paper into sculpture shapes to fit within the squares of the grid.
  3. The scrunched, three dimensional paper sculptures are glued to the black paper and left to dry. Encourage students to randomly apply the paper sculptures to the black paper background.

Sponge Monoprinting

Monoprinting is a wonderful art technique where paint or ink is spread on a non-porous surface. Designs are painted or scraped away and then a piece of paper or fabric is placed on the non-porous surface and the design is transferred onto the paper or fabric. You can find great examples of monoprints by doing a quick Google search. Click here to see.

For my young (3 to 5 year olds) students, I adapted this technique with often requires quite a bit of control over the amount of paint or ink used. Here students painted their design on a sponge and then the design was transferred to paper.


  • flat sponge
  • water
  • paint
  • paint palette (I use plastic plates)
  • paintbrush
  • paper to print on


Dampen the sponges and wring out excess water.


  1. Students paint colours onto their damp sponge. Encourage the use of several colours to create a design (not necessarily a picture).
  2. The students flip the sponge and press it down onto the paper. Left off carefully and repeat on another part of the same paper.
  3. When the impressions start getting too light, add more paint.

A follow up or extension activity for these two would be

Scrunched Paper Printing

Students take the scrunching from the first activity and print with it and then apply the scrunched and paint covered sculptures to the grid from the first activity.

In order to this, students need to set aside three or four of the brightly coloured pieces from the first activity for this activity. They also need to leave the appropriate number of squares empty, preferably in a random looking arrangement.


  • paper to print on
  • three scrunched paper sculptures from the Scrunched Paper Sculpture activity (have extras on hand)
  • the partially filled black paper grid from the first activity
  • glue
  • paints
  • paint palette (I use plastic plates)
  • paint brush
  • sponges from the previous activity



  1. Each student adds more paint to their sponge if necessary.
  2. They take each sculpture and dip it onto the painted sponge and then use that to print onto a piece of paper. Again, print several times with each piece of paper.
  3. When the paint begins to get too faint, put the sculpture aside and repeat with another paper sculpture.
  4. When the students have used up all their extra paper sculptures, have them glue the paint covered sculptures onto the black grid from the Scrunched Paper Sculpture activity.

Any time that was left was used to paint pages from discarded paperbacks in preparation for future activites.

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