Paper plates - too handy for barbeques!

Paper plates - too handy for barbeques!

I'm not a fan of eating from paper plates. If you've ever experienced a burger and salad sliding onto your lap from a floppy plate you may feel the same. They always seem too bendy, they tend to get soggy, plus it’s ‘greener’ to just wash real dishes. Still, paper plates are a staple in my cupboard and here's why...

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I love to use simple pantry items in my artmaking with kids. Doing this means that you have art supplies on hand whenever the creative fancy takes hold, and you can seize the moment. And let's face it, real art materials can be expensive. Utilising cheap and easy materials from around your home means that your artmaking can be casual, spontaneous and fun… children won’t feel the pressure of you watching over them to prevent them 'spoiling’ an expensive canvas or sketchbook. Remember, with kid’s artmaking the value is always in the process - the quirky final product is just a bonus.

There's something about the circular shape of a plate that ignites a host of creative ideas. Plus they are sturdy enough to be a really flexible material. They can be drawn on with textas or crayons, and they’re strong enough to use with paint and glue. They’re great to decorate with gluesticks, and by offering materials to attach (scraps of wrapping paper, leaves, wool, cotton balls or whatever else you have at hand) a paper plate makes the basis of a fun and easy pasting project.

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And yet they are still thin enough to easily cut with scissors. Cutting out the centre of a plate adds a 'whole' (get it!?) lot more possibilities. Cover that centre hole with clear plastic book covering, and you have a nice sticky window for attaching all sorts of things. Scatter on some petals from the garden to make a pretty sun catcher, then use a hole punch and string to turn any creation into a hanging masterpiece.

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Make a great round loom for weaving by cutting notches around the plate's edge, then crisscrossing with wool to make spokes that can be threaded under and over.

Scissors can easily transform paper plates into a myriad of characters that invite play. One of my favourites is the super simple fish made by cutting out a wedge from one side, then reattaching it to the opposite side as a tail. Add a string and a chopstick rod to go fishing off the end of the verandah. Use Google for inspiration, you’ll be amazed at the clever ideas folk have come up with.

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 But "where is the green sheep??". Use plates to make characters from books your kds love.

But "where is the green sheep??". Use plates to make characters from books your kds love.

 Plates are just the right shape to make masks. Carefully mark eyeholes to fit your childs face, then cut them out with scissors.

Plates are just the right shape to make masks. Carefully mark eyeholes to fit your childs face, then cut them out with scissors.

Are the kids asking to paint? Washing paint off a plastic palette doesn’t really bother me, but if you just can't face it a paper plate makes an awesome disposable palette, big enough to hold paint for a brush, a roller - even a whole hand.

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 Cheep cheep! Paper plates are a cheap and easy art material.

Cheep cheep! Paper plates are a cheap and easy art material.

 Don't be selly-fish, make a jellyfish! Dangle some old gift ribbons from a half plate and voila, it's done!

Don't be selly-fish, make a jellyfish! Dangle some old gift ribbons from a half plate and voila, it's done!

Fragrant Herbs

Fragrant Herbs

Setting the scene for healthy eating

Setting the scene for healthy eating