Tearing Tissue Paper -A Therapeutic Craft for Children

tissue paper flower craft.jpg

Some days it’s hard being a kid.  Parents and caregivers don’t always ask you for your opinion.  One day they just give you lunch in the red bowl.  But nobody ASKED if you wanted the red bowl today.  The next day, they just tell you you’re getting a little brother, but nobody ASKED if you wanted a little brother. It’s hard being a kid.  It’s even harder when you don’t have an appropriate way to release the anger and frustration building up inside.

Different personality types seek out different outlets to release pent up feelings. Some kids like to swing their troubles away, some like to scribble it out and others like to break or tear objects. Sometimes misbehaviour is about pushing boundaries and sometimes misbehaviour (destruction) has a root to it.  Whenever possible, I like to give children appropriate ways to release any upsetting emotions they are struggling with.  One day, the best way I could assist a child in my care was to provide materials for them to tear up.  The act of tearing paper can be very satisfying.  The sound is half the pleasure.

I grabbed some different colours of tissue paper and gave some broad suggestions of creating some flowers.  We tore long strips of tissue paper, we tore small bits, we even ripped and shredded the paper with our fingernails.  It seemed to help.  Here are some of the finished products that resemble flowers. Some children didn’t have a finished product (just a pile of shredded paper) and other’s produced interesting pictures that they never glued down.  The product was the process.

IMG_5947I thought this one turned out quite nice.


This child drew a sketch first then glued on the tissue paper.

IMG_5948This child tore the paper then scrunched it up into tiny bunches before gluing.

What sensory activities do you do with your children to help them through their challenging days?


  1. I really love the way you word this. My oldest has already begun to express frustration on how much he can’t choose. I try to give him lots of options in life (what do you want to wear, what color cup do you want, do you want to read right now or play outside), yet he still notices all the things that he can’t choose. I love this idea that the process is the product. I need to do art activity with my kiddo more often. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. This is beautiful. Thank you for reminding me that my children deserve to have choices, every day. -Amy

  3. What a lovely, safe way for kids to express frustration! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

  4. Just over a week ago I had a little girl sit and cut with a pair of scissors and a pile of yarn for almost a whole hour. I love how you gave them both a stress release and a creative alternative at the same time! Thank you so much for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday at Preschool Powol Packets!!

  5. This post reminds me of something that happened when my son was about 18 months old. He was angry. I don’t remember why, but he was very upset, and he’d learned that tantrums were a waste of time. He went into his bedroom closet, turned on the light, and shut the door. A few minutes later, he came out with a picture: Angry black scribblings on a sheet of white paper. He was calm, and was ready to move on from whatever horrible event had upset him.
    Kids don’t have the words to express their anger, but they still need to be able to express it, just like we adults do. Art is such a wonderful medium for expressing emotion. The paper tearing idea is a wonderful example, because frustration can be communicated through harmless destruction (of course, children do need to learn what they can and cannot destroy when frustrated), which in turn makes way for creation of something new out of the product of their frustration. What a great lesson to teach children! What a great lesson to imitate when we are frustrated!

    • HowToDaycare says

      Yes, good point, it is important to model positive ways to deal with frustration. Wow, your son was only 18 months and able to scribble out his anger, brilliant. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. I just wanted to let you know I am featuring this post at this week’s Teach Me Tuesday party–congrats!!


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