Sensory Play with Paper Pulp

Hands-On Play Party | Stir the Wonder

Welcome to the Hands-On Play Party! Each week my co-hosts and I will share our ideas for a fun, hands-on activity! This is also a linky party for any hands-on learning activities for kids of all ages! So be sure to check out all the great links shared at the end of this post! If you are a blogger I invite you to share any ideas you have for sensory play, early learning play, gross and fine motor skills play, and indoor/outdoor play that is presented in a hands-on way!

Sensory Play with Paper Pulp {Hands-On Play Party} | Stir the Wonder #sensoryplay #handsonplay #kbn

We are starting a new unit for April! It’s all about recycling! We are using the book Science is Simple by Peggy Ashbrook as a guide. Have I talked enough about how much I love that book? I just love it! To kick off this unit Caden and I made paper pulp. Sensory play with paper pulp is just that- Recycling! And it is very easy and pretty much free to make! Not to mention fun to squish between your fingers! To make your own paper pulp you will need a few supplies.

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Supplies

  • Newspapers
  • Bowl of water
  • Blender
  • Wire Mesh Strainer

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This is sort of a two step process, which will take most of the day with a few hours in between. The first step is to rip up all the newspaper into small pieces, no more than 2″ square. We did this in the morning. 

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The shredded paper in the bowl of water is fun in and of itself to play with! But once you have ripped up all the paper, and played with it to your heart’s content, set it aside for at least one hour to soak. Our’s soaked until after nap time. 

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This is what it should look like. A big bowl of shredded newspaper and recycled construction paper soaking in water! After the paper has soaked, the real fun begins! 

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Use your blender to turn the paper into a pulp. Take handfuls of shredded paper and put it in the blender, add a cup or so of water from the bowl to the blender. You don’t want to blend clumps of dry paper, that is probably a good way to break your blender. As long as the blender has enough water in it, it should be able to handle the paper. 

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Blend up one or two handfuls of paper at a time, until all your shredded paper has been blended into a pulp. Then use a strainer to drain some of the excess water from the pulp. I left my pulp fairly watery and squishy so it wouldn’t crumble and we could play with it. It is supposed to be the consistency of play dough. 

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Once you have the right consistency for the paper pulp, you can put it on a tray or whatever container you want to use for play and have fun exploring the paper pulp with your senses! I put ours in a shallow container, but I suppose it would have been just fine if I plopped it on the table!

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Caden was a little hesitant to touch this new sensory material at first. He started by poking it with his pointer finger and then mashing it with a closed fist. Then I showed him it was fine and what he could do with it and he starting digging right in!

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He explored the paper pulp in that way for some time. Squishing it, squeezing the water out and plopping it back into the container. 

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Then he began to use his imagination more and wanted help to build a castle. We didn’t make enough to build a castle, so I piled it up and built a tower instead. Caden enjoyed squashing down my tower and began building caves instead! Paper pulp is a really neat material. It makes a great sensory bin filler, but can also be used to sculpt and build crafts. Once the paper pulp is dried it can be painted. This is my ultimate plan for making this, but it is fun to play with in the meantime. I just saved it in an air tight container until we can get to do the crafts I have planned!

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After Caden explored the properties of the paper pulp, he wanted some cars and trucks to play with. He had loads of fun playing with the paper pulp, making rocks and filling his dump truck with “mud”. He didn’t even want to clean up and put it away for dinner. 

Looking for more Hands-On Play ideas? Link up and check out some great ideas below!

Hands-On Play Party | Stir the Wonder

From my co-hosts!

Sight Words Egg Hunt from P is for Preschooler

Exploring Mirror Reflections Easter Eggs, Lights & Shiny Objects from Little Bins for Little Hands

Creating the Perfect Egg Drop Project from Lemon Lime Adventures

Favorite From Last Week!

This Treasure Hunt Sensory Sink from Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails looks like so much fun! I’m sure Caden would get a kick out of it!

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And now for the Linky Party!

Disclaimer: By linking up you are granting me permission to feature your post using a photo with proper link back.

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8 thoughts on “Sensory Play with Paper Pulp”

  1. What an awesome sensory idea, all while learning more about recycling – I love it!

  2. Ciara says:

    Such a fantastic idea. We will definitely be trying this!

  3. Sara says:

    That looks like so much fun! I can see my 3 year old son having playing with his dinosaurs in the pulp. How well does it keep in an airtight container? Do you need to plan on getting to the crafts the next day, or can you wait a week? Thank you for the great recycling and sensory bin idea!

    1. Samantha says:

      Hi Sara, thanks for stopping by, our paper pulp is still moist. I imagine you could add a little water to it if needed. I should probably do some crafting with it, within the next week. Otherwise I’m afraid it might start to stink.

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