Kids developed their creativity and enjoyed getting messy during the 4-H SPIN Club “Fun with Paper Mache” classes that ran Wednesdays and Fridays from April 6 to 22 at the Bonifas Arts Center upper studio.
“We’re going to have fun, be messy, and create … Kids don’t get a lot of opportunities to be messy anymore,” said Dave Radloff, 4-H extension educator, who is teaching the classes, and that is one of the joys of paper mache, which allows children to create with newspaper, tape, cardboard, balloons, and wire.
Kate Carlson, 9, is making two cat masks, one for her and one for her brother.
“We had a ballon and we made some mush with some newspaper and we put it on. When it dried we cut it half and if they are both good you get to make two,” she said.
The kids started by creating, painting, and decorating an ornamental mask, but then, after viewing examples, they will choose the rest of their creations, said Radloff, perhaps animals, birds, people, dragons, unicorns, or fish, and plan how to construct them.
Radloff believes in the 4-H approach of “learning by doing,” trying an approach, and if it doesn’t work, starting over with a different method, since these “open-ended art experiences” encourage experimentation, during which children develop their imaginations as well as their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, also producing more original creations, he said.