Do your kids love any opportunity to wrap gifts? Mine do. Especially using tape. Tape is SOOO exciting if you’re under 4 ft. tall! So, I decided that since ’tis the season for gift-wrapping, I’d let them have some practice – and get to use tape.
I decided that wooden blocks would be ideal for wrapping practice, so I figured out exactly what size of wrapping paper would perfectly fit one block.
Then The Brain was kind enough to cut out a whole stack of wrapping paper rectangles that same size. I gathered several blocks in a basket, then put the basket on our art shelf next to a tray with the papers and two tape dispensers.
Of course, in the morning they were very excited to find out what this new exciting-looking thing on the shelf was. It actually was one of those “she’s getting it!!” moments: I overheard Drama Queen tell Mr. BANG, “Remember not to touch it until Mommy shows us what to do with it.” Woo-hoo!
In the lesson, I first carefully demonstrated how to pull a small amount of tape from the dispenser, push downward to cut the tape off, and stick the end of the tape onto the art table (former breakfast-in-bed tray). I instructed them to cut off four pieces of tape to hang from the art table. (This step has continued to be tricky for them. I had to help Drama Queen for awhile, and still am helping Mr. BANG tear the tape.)
Next, I showed how to place the block in the center of the paper. I used the pincer grip (thumb against index and middle fingers) of both hands to pick up the two left corners of the paper and fold them over the block. While the left hand held the paper in place, the right hand grabbed a piece of tape and taped the paper onto the block. As an adult, that step is unnecessary, but it makes a big difference to a child trying to get the hang of keeping the object in place and keeping the paper held down.
I showed the right side the same way – use pincer grasp of both hands to pull the right corners of the paper into place, and use a piece of tape to hold them together.
The ends are a bit trickier. I modeled how to fold the top down, fold the sides into triangular shapes, then fold the bottom up and tape.
At that point, they were ready to place the wrapped present under the tree. However, they usually wanted to “write” the name of the recipient on the present first. Then they would run to place the present under the tree and come right back for the next one.
They loved this activity so much, they actually used up all our rectangle wooden blocks of that size. I then got out soft blocks of the same size. When they had wrapped all those, they started experimenting with two blocks that would combine to make the rectangle. Then Drama Queen started experimenting with completely different shapes, such as the cylinder blocks.
It was clear that this activity was VERY successful! That afternoon, we celebrated a “practice Christmas.” We all sat by the Christmas tree and handed out presents to each other. The kids were so funny, saying things such as, “(gasp) What is it?!” and “This is just what I’ve been wanting!!”
They were eager to start the wrapping over again the next day. I decided to add another step in the process, however. It occurred to me that this could be wonderful cutting practice. So instead of cutting the wrapping paper, I drew bold lines with a black Sharpie on the back of the wrapping paper. They got to cut their own paper! Again, this was a thrill to them.
Mr. BANG unfortunately got frustrated because he wasn’t able to cut his paper very well. (He seems to be left-handed. Left-handed-experienced people, do I need to buy him special scissors?)
Drama Queen is perfectly happy cutting paper for both of them, so the thrill of wrapping presents is on-going!