Rip and Tear: Discovery at Home Toddler Time

What you need:

  • Colored paper, old magazines, newspaper or whatever paper you have handy.
  • 2 containers- a tub or bucket for the strips, and one for the smaller pieces. A box will work perfectly well.
  • Optional: glue stick and recycled cardboard to decorate


  1. Rip 2” strips of paper and place them in a container. Show your child how to put the strips into the bucket.
  2. Show your child how to make child sized confetti: Take a strip and tear it into 1” pieces.
  3. Put them into the bucket and you are ready to collage!

Ways to expand the activity:

  • Destruction can be very satisfying at any age, but toddlers particularly like using their whole bodies in their play! Tape a piece of paper to the wall and randomly stick pieces to the page with painter’s tape, a glue stick or contact paper.
  • Instead of tearing the paper into uniform strips, celebrate free play! Rip, tear, crumple, wad, toss, throw and stomp on the paper. Put the paper into a large box and hide small toys inside, under the shredded newspaper, for a quick game of hide and seek.

What do they learn?

  • Children gain social and emotional skills through sensory play. This game requires no words but runs on smiles, laughter and fun!
  • Fine motor skills. Kids practice using the small muscles in their hands later used for writing. Activities like ripping and tearing, holding and squeezing help improve communication between their brains and bodies.
  • Rip and Tear Art is an open ended, free exploration of creativity and experimentation. When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn!