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18 Paper Tearing Activities for Kids

18 Paper Tearing Activities for Kids

Did you know that the simple activity of paper tearing has so many benefits for your child? When you tear paper you are actually strengthening hand-eye coordination as well as increasing hand strength. Tearing paper is an easy way to encourage fingers to be in a pincer grasp which is essential for writing with a pencil. It is also a great way to encourage wrist rotation. Basically ripping pieces of paper is one of the best fine motor activities you can give your child to do. 

Whenever, I tell my students that we are going to rip paper, they look at me with wide eyes. I think somewhere along the way we developed the mindset that ripping paper is a waste. However, because it is such a great fine motor activity, I think it is important to encourage young children to do it with a purpose. 

Types of Paper to Tear

Try tearing different types of paper. Here are some different types of paper you can include:

  • a regular piece of paper
  • scrap paper
  • magazine pages
  • newspaper
  • tissue paper
  • thicker paper like card stock or cardboard
  • wrapping paper
  • construction paper
  • sand paper
  • wax paper

Note: I do not recommend using aluminum foil. Although it does rip easily and would look cool in a project, the edges can be very sharp for young children. 

​Ways to Tear Paper

At the beginning you want to give your child or students plenty of time to tear the paper any way they want. This simple fine motor activity will take concentration. As they become more confident with tearing paper, you can give them one of these challenges:

  • Try ripping them into strips of paper. How long of a snake or worm can you make by attaching strips of paper?
  • Tear them into small pieces. How small can you tear yours? 
  • Rip them into simple shapes
  • Draw a zig zag line on a piece of white paper. Challenge your child to tear along the line. 


Torn Paper Sensory Bin

This could be a sensory bin for children! The first step would be to include different kinds of paper in the bin with containers to put ripped pieces in. After you’ve collected a lot of small pieces, slowly add water to the sensory bin or containers. The texture will almost be like mud. Exploring this texture will be exciting for some and not fun for others that will think it is too gooey. Add muffins, cookie cutters, spoons, and tongs to explore the mixture. 

If the paper and water has too much liquid, add more paper. What happens if you add flour or salt to the concoction? This open ended exploration will have your children wondering and thinking like scientists. 


Torn Paper Crafts

So what are you going to do with all of this ripped paper? Don’t let it go to waste. You can use it for different paper activities or a craft project. Our favorite ways to use the paper pieces are open ended projects like making collages. 

Rip and Glue

rip and glue


It seems simple, but giving toddlers and preschoolers the freedom to rip and glue the paper in any way they want is so beneficial. 


Contact Paper Collage 

Open a piece of contact paper and tape it to the table with the sticky side facing up. Set pieces of torn paper onto the contact paper to make a collage. This eliminates using glue. You can finish it off by putting another piece of contact paper on top of the collage (sticky side down) to seal it. From there you and cut it into any shape you want or leave it how it is and hang it up. It looks great in a sunny area like a window. 


Color Collage

Color Collages

Once you have torn different colors of paper, turn it into a sorting activity by gluing them onto the matching piece of paper. You can use a glue stick or white glue. I think the different shades of color look so cool on the page. Not only does this activity include fine motor skills, but it also practices color recognition and sorting. 


Shape Collages 

Have shapes cut out of pieces of construction paper. Glue ripped pieces onto each shape. This helps young children explore different shapes in an open ended way. 

You can pretty much make anything with torn paper. Here are torn paper crafts to make each month throughout the year. Make a big one to put on the fridge or a bulletin board or make small ones to link together and create a garland. So many possibilities!



Monthly Torn Paper Crafts


Whether it is your birthday month or you just love cupcakes, these torn paper cupcakes are so fun to make and look amazing!


Make a Torn Paper Heart Craft as a valentine or a decoration for the month of February.


This Simple Rainbow Craft encourages you to rip paper in all colors of the rainbow. 


​This is the perfect time to make torn paper Easter eggs. They can include stripes, polka dots, or a colorful tie dye pattern. It would be fun to make many smaller eggs and turn it into a garland for a fireplace. 


What about a torn paper cactus? These are just adorable and can really be any shape or size that your child wants to create. Wouldn’t this make a cute framed gift for a grandparent?


This ripped paper Ice Cream Cone craft celebrates Summer! What flavor is the ice cream cone you designed? Make ice cream in a bag when you are done. 


​A torn paper flower can be made any time of the year. I love that these flowers can really be any shape or size that the artist wants. Include a stem or don’t. Make multiple flowers or just one large one. There are so many possibilities. 


Make a torn paper campfire. You can’t roast marshmallows on it, but you can use vibrant colors to make the campfire. This is a fun Summer camp activity too. 


Fall is the perfect time to make a torn paper tree. Use Fall colors for the leaves. Add red paper for apples if you want. The trunk of the tree can be from torn paper or it can be drawn ahead of time. 


torn paper pumpkin seems to be the perfect craft for October. Use different shades of orange paper to make each one different. Add black to make yours a jack o lantern. 


​With Thanksgiving right around the corner, try making a torn paper turkey. Make one for each member of the family as a Thanksgiving placemat or name card. 


Try a torn paper hanging collage. What a cool idea to make a 3D piece of art. If you want it to be a Christmas project, use red, green, and silver paper. It would even be pretty garland in the tree. 


Torn Paper Crafts for Older Kids

Ripped paper crafts don’t only have to be for young children. Older kids can strengthen their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination by ripping paper too. Try Kandinsky Inspired Torn Paper Art. This idea is so cool because each child’s art will look different and yet all still inspired by Kandinsky. You can make scenery with torn paper. Take a look at this torn paper art inspired by Ted Harrison. An older child may even want to use ripped paper or paper scraps to make their own paper beads. Turn those beads into beautiful necklaces or bracelets. 

There are so many crafts and projects that you can try with ripped paper for kids of all ages. So get started today. Collect different kinds of paper in a box and start tearing.


Young children may need to revisit the same piece of paper on multiple days (remember they are strengthening important muscles). Older children may be able to complete a project in one day. That is the beauty of this open ended activity. It is so beneficial and can be targeted to any age group. 




Virginia Lee

Monday 14th of September 2009

Love that he piled the papers as opposed to spreading them out. Isn't it funny how kiddos can have such exact ideas in mind and we never would have thought to do it that way?

Our Little Family

Saturday 12th of September 2009

Did you read my mind?! Lol, seriously, as soon as Maddie wakes up from her nap, we are going to do a mosaic activity. I have scrap paper that I want her to tear and then we're going to glue (and I'm actually going to let HER glue!). Ha! We'll see how it turns out. Love the paper tower he created!! :)


Saturday 12th of September 2009

Wow, it's like you and Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot had the same idea at the same time! (I just visited her blog a few minutes ago.) You know what they say about great minds. ;-) Way to go! I'm so happy to see you guys getting a little messy with the glue.

Preschool Playbook

Saturday 12th of September 2009

Ripping is an extremely hard concept for little ones. At school I try to have activites out for them to practice this a lot.

Nicole {tired, need sleep}

Saturday 12th of September 2009

It is so funny that he piled the papers up - M does that too! I just don't get it. He will completely cover up what he's just worked on instead of spreading things out, lol! I'm glad to hear he is not the only one now. :) And, really, I think tearing and ripping paper is harder than it seems. M would much rather cut with the scissors - he just isn't into the ripping thing either and will give up. Good luck with all your *messy* experimenting!