Emergent Curriculum

Paper Mache helps Children’s Brain Development by Spring

By January 8, 2020 No Comments
Child paints a big paper mache ball with green paint and a brush.

Painting of the paper mache ornaments.

Children’s brains develop rapidly from birth through age three. Brain development affects all areas of a child’s growth. There are four main areas of development: motor (physical), language and communication, social and emotional, and cognitive. Paper Mache is an activity that is good for children’s development in all these areas.

What is Paper Mache? It’s a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste. By following children’s interest in paper and glue art, I created an activity that included all of these materials: Paper Mache. Our objective is to make a ball with our Infant/toddler children and observed them as they play and explore. While developing these activities, I noticed how it helps children’s development in the different areas:

  1. Physical development: children practice their fine motor skill by tearing paper, holding and gluing paper on the balloon with their fingers.
  2. Language development: children learned and used words like ‘Paper”, ” Balloon”, “Ball”, they can also learn adjective words like ”sticky”, “messy” etc. which enrich their vocabulary.
    Child paints a big paper mache ball with green paint and a brush.
  3. Social and emotional development: children had to learn to wait, take turns and share with their peers. When they disturbed other children, they needed to say “sorry” or give a hug to show their compassion; when they were the ones that were bothered, they had the opportunity to practice forgiveness and understanding.
  4. Cognitive development: children practised their eye-hand coordination, and they also needed to think, observe how the teacher teared the paper, or glued paper on the balloon, which helped them understand and practise their reasoning skills.


papermache balls are hanging from a branch, hanging in the classroom.

The paper mache ornaments were hung in the classroom.

Capilano University Childcare has also had a  successful long term Paper Mache project. Children start building their project from IT age till they graduate from daycare. They explore and think and create their final masterpiece, which definitely develops their brain and builds up their self-esteem. Perhaps, depending on how the children react to this activity we too can develop a long term project with this material.


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