Play with Magazine Paper

Inspired by Rachelle from TinkerLab, I too set-up a simple play provocation for Greysen using rolled up magazine pages taped into tubes. I dissembled a catalog that arrived in the mail today and rolled up the pages. Unable to find tape, I used some small rubber bands to hold the tubes together.

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Along with the magazines, I set out containers for Greysen to use.  The containers better suited Greysen’s motor skills. At 1 and 3/4 of a year old (I’m not ready to say almost 2 years yet), she has not yet tried scissors or tearing tape, which were the other materials used in the set-up at TinkerLab.

I left the rolled up magazines and containers on her table so that when she awoke from her nap she would find the invitation to play. She immediately set out to fill her empty oatmeal container with the rolled magazine paper.

Open-ended materials, such as these tubes, offer endless possibilities for play. Within minutes, Greysen set about exploring the tubes, using them in ways I would not have predicted.

She looked through them.

She commented, “walking” while moving them across the table top.

And when Dad got home they became megaphones of sorts, through which I could hear them speaking to one another from another room.

Eventually, Greysen noticed the strawberry basket and then started placing the tubes through the holes in there. Placing the paper in the strawberry basket proved to be the most interesting challenge to her.  Finally, the catalog tubes became a prop in her imaginary play.

Greysen pretended that these tubes were “candles,” which inspired lots of of blowing and singing.

Fostering Creativity & Upcycling

This innovative use for a catalog that I would have otherwise tossed out has inspired me to pause and take another look at recyclable materials. I’m always on the lookout for new manipulatives for the girls, so to have found and prepared some in just minutes was ideal.

Modeling the re-purposing of materials for Greysen & Moon will, I hope, help them to eventually learn to see potential in everyday objects. By using simple materials in a variety of ways, I hope to encourage my daughters to look at materials and to see beyond their function and imagine their possibilities.

I’m interested in learning more about what types of recyclables can be used as playthings. Do you offer recycled materials to your children as toys? What are your favorites?





  1. What a beautiful post! I’m flattered that we inspired you, but you and Greysen took it to another level. Isn’t it wonderous and surprising to see what children come up with? You’re so right about sharing the concept of repurposing materials with children — they pay attention to everything and will certainly catch on.

  2. kimmy says:

    I love this Marisa! Greysen looks like she is really enjoying herself. Caleb loves going through the mail and looking through magazines and the newspaper. I like how this is a little more fine-tuned. What a great way to create a play area with recycled paper.

  3. kimmy says:

    I love this Marisa! Gracie looks so excited about her discovery! Caleb loves going through the mail and looking through magazines and the newspaper. I like how this is a little more fine-tuned. What a great way to create a play area with recycled paper.

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