There was a thunderstorm outside, we had a small bouquet of colorful zinnias on the table, and my older boys were looking for something to do…so I set them up with our huge stash of colored papers to do a cut-paper collage.
Many of our papers were decorated by the boys and I last year, when we used potato printing and other painting techniques to design paper for a project inspired by Eric Carle. We also had a giant stack of partially-used colored paper that had been recently given to us, so there was a lot of inspiration at hand.
My younger son (age 5) quickly got the idea, but he was getting really frustrated with all the cutting. He ended up drawing the shapes on the back side of the paper, I cut them out for him, and then he glued them down with a glue stick. A nice thing about flowers is that they are more or less symmetrical, so the reversal of the image that comes from drawing on the back of the paper and then flipping it over doesn’t usually matter. The clean cut edges look so nice and crisp when all the pencil lines are hidden on the back.
My older son (age 8) was able to draw, cut and glue by himself. He didn’t hear me suggest that he should lay out his whole design before gluing it down, so he pasted down a blue paper jar without planning how he might add the paper that represented the table. He wanted to add the tabletop — so I helped him to cut the bottom of the jar shape out of a strip of brown paper that he glued on last. A darker cast shadow made from tissue paper was his final touch.
After he woke up from his nap, my youngest son (age 2 and a half) wanted to join in, so I cut out some shapes for him and he glued them down. I love the bold, graphic quality of the cut paper — with different levels of help, all three boys created really interesting pictures.