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Printing Press

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Location: Indoor
Promotes: Arts & Crafts
How to play

Hunt for printing tools. You can easily find examples around the house. Try potato mashers, cookie cutters, jar lids, bottle tops of different sizes, film canisters, spools, sponges cut into various shapes, a paint roller, and toy cars (for tire tracks).

Prepare for action. Cover a low table with newspaper for easy cleanup; help your child put on an apron, smock, or old oversize shirt so he won't get paint on his clothes. Assemble the printing tools your child has collected on a tray. For paper, use plain white, colored construction, tissue, newsprint, brown paper bags, butcher paper, or cardboard.

Create a paint pad. You need an absorbent pad to hold the paint. Fold several sheets of paper towel into a tight rectangle; place the pad in the bottom of a pie tin or Styrofoam tray. Pour a little bit of tempera paint over the pad. Start out with one color, or make several pads of different colors.

Print! You can demonstrate the two-part printing process, which entails pushing an object against the paint pad and then against the paper. Together you can have fun making repetitive designs. Your child might enjoy printing designs on tissue paper to make gift wrap, folded paper to make cards, brown bags to hold party favors, butcher paper for a large collaborative mural, or even individual index cards to make a matching game.

Learning and Growing

As children create various repetitive designs, they are learning about color, shape, pattern, and composition. They are also developing greater control of the muscles in their fingers and hands, which are so important for writing, drawing, and such self-help skills as tying shoelaces or buttoning a coat.

What you'll need
  • Newspaper to cover floor and table
  • Apron, smock, or old oversize shirt
  • Pie tin or Styrofoam tray
  • Paper towels
  • Tempera paint
  • Printing tools, such as a potato masher, paint roller, cookie cutters, jar lids, bottle tops, film canisters, sponges, toy cars, spools
  • Paper, such as colored construction paper, tissue, newsprint, brown paper bags, butcher paper, or cardboard
 
 
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