Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cut Paper - Birdcages

The children use paper and glue to create birds and their cages. For ages 3 to 6. Plan 2 sessions.

  • Cutting with scissors
  • Using glue
  • Developing small motor skills

  • Colored construction paper (See note below)
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Slightly dampened sponges
  • Pictures of birds
  • A scrap paper bin with a collection of leftover paper from past projects (optional)
Note:  Plan one sheet of 9- by 12-inch paper for each birdcage. Use smaller pieces of paper (about 6 by 9 inches) for making the birds so they will fit inside the birdcages. Cut ¼-inch strips for the railings, planning 3 to 5 strips for each birdcage.

First Session
  • Set out the 6- x 9-inch pieces of construction paper for making the birds.
  • Set out scissors, glue, dampened sponges, and pictures of birds.
  • If available, set out a scrap paper bin.
How to Begin
  • In this session, the children will be using paper and glue to make the birds. 
  • While looking at the pictures of birds, discuss their shapes, colors, and unique characteristics, such as wings, tails, beaks, thin legs, and clawed feet.
  • Tell the children that they will be sharing the colored paper on their tables to make their birds. Each child should start by choosing one color of paper. When finished cutting from it, he or she should return the paper to the middle of the table for someone else to use and then choose another color. Assure the children that there is more of each color if needed. (A scrap paper bin is fun to search through for special and unusual colors.)
  • Demonstrate the proper way to hold and use scissors. The thumb goes in the small hole and two or three fingers go in the larger hole. With the blade of the scissors opened wide, place the paper deep into the opening, taking advantage of the whole blade while cutting. For a circular shape, use one hand to slowly close the scissors while using the other hand to gradually turn the paper. Continue opening and closing the scissors while turning the paper until a circle is completed.
  • Show the children how to attach two pieces of paper with glue by applying glue to the smaller paper and pressing it on to the larger paper. Warn the children that it doesn't take much glue to attach the pieces. Use the dampened sponges to wipe sticky fingers.
  • Have the children create their birds with the construction paper and glue.
Second Session
  • Set out the 9- by 12-inch sheets of construction paper for the birdcages, planning one for each child.
  • Set out the smaller pieces of construction paper for making items to add to the birdcages.
  • Set out the ¼-inch strips of paper for the railings on the birdcages. 
  • Set out the dried paper birds, scissors, glue, and sponges.
How to Begin
  • In this session, the children will be making birdcages for their birds.
  • Show the children how to make birdcages large enough for the birds to fit inside by only cutting around the edges of the paper to change its shape. 
  • Explain that when choosing the color of the birdcage, it should contrast, or be different, from the color of the bird to make the bird easier to see. Demonstrate this by placing a piece of paper on top of another piece of the same color, such as yellow on yellow. Then place the same piece of paper on a piece that is a different color, such as yellow on red. Ask the children which one makes the first color easier to see.
  • Encourage the children to make additional items for the birds, such as swings, food dishes, water bottles, ladders, and toys. The children should plan the placement of the birds and additional items in the birdcages before attaching them with glue.
  • Demonstrate how to complete the birdcages by making the railings with the strips of paper. Apply a dab of glue on one end of a paper strip, attach it to the top of the birdcage, and then cut the strip at the bottom of the birdcage and attach it with another dab of glue. Empathize that only a few railings are needed and they should be placed so that the birds can peek through. 
  • Have the children cut out the birdcages, fill them with the birds and additional items, and then attach the paper strips.
  • It is important to use smaller pieces of paper for making the birds so that the birds will fit into the birdcages.
  • For the birds that become too large, cut the cages from 12- by 18-inch paper.
  • The younger children tend to put the paper strips on the birdcages without regard to covering up the charming birds. Remind them to place the strips so that the birds can peek through.
  • Sticky fingers can make attaching the paper strips difficult, so be sure to have slightly dampened sponges available.
  • The wonderful array of shapes for the birdcages makes an interesting and charming display. On the bulletin board below, the birdcages were mounted on another piece of paper to help them stand out against the cork background.
  • Discuss the variety of birds and birdcages.
  • Have the children talk about the items they included in their birdcages.
  • Review the cutting and gluing processes.
    What the children might say...
    • Why won’t these scissors cut my paper?
    • I want to make a friend for my bird.
    • I can’t get this strip of paper to stick to the birdcage instead of my fingers.
    What you might say…
    • When using your scissors, remember to put your thumb in the small hole and your fingers in the large hole.
    • If there is room for two birds in your birdcage, making a friend is a nice idea.
    • If your fingers become too sticky, wipe them on the sponge at your work area.