Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Flow of Paper

We have a problem. My kids seem to think paper grows on trees. They go through pages and pages of paper everyday. They are always drawing, coloring, and cutting out things. We almost constantly have little bits of papers all over the floor. This isn't a great condition to be in since our little crawler seems to love to eat paper. I am also really tired of throwing that much paper away at the end of each day. Sure it goes into the recycle bin but it still feels like such a waste to go through that much paper. So, I have decided to make a change.
It may not save me any money. In fact I know it will end up more expensive in the short run. I am going to start enforcing a no printer paper rule. There isn't going to be any more trips into my room to raid the printer of it's paper.

What I am giving them is one sketch book a piece. They only have that sketchbook for all their doodles and drawings for a whole month. That seemed very generous on my part. When I was younger I used to have sketchbooks that lasted me a year or more.

My desire is that by having a tighter limit on paper consumption in our home, there will be more careful drawing. I want them to really work on a picture until it is done and not just jump to the next paper and the next drawing. I am also hoping there will be less cutting out of pictures and therefore less little bits of stuff all over the house.

I just instituted this new rule and handed out sketchbooks tonight. They immediately went to work. This first book may be used up quickly. They each already went through a few pages of their new books. They really loved that they can take their drawing to the couch or the chair rather than always sitting at the table.

There is a part of me that hates to put a limit on their creativity. I love that my boys spend a lot of time drawing. They are always showing me their latest rendering of Indiana Jones and telling me all about his latest adventure. This is new. It wasn't that long ago I couldn't get Ian to color anything. Sophie's creations are usually 3D and require tape or staples. But all these papers end up cluttering up my house and eventually get filed away in the recycling bin.

Am I guilty of placing a clean home over creativity? I hope not. I anticipate that by making this small change there will be more purpose and planning involved in their work.  These first few weeks are going to be hard on them. Once their books fill up and there isn't any more paper they will either go back and rework their old drawings, find little places in their books where they can doodle or they will find something else to do.

Does anyone know of a place to buy cheep sketch books? I have often used Michaels coupons to buy them 50% off. But even at at price they will still be more expensive then a ream of white printer paper.

It is an experiment. We will see how it goes.



Bibliophile said...

I think this is a good idea! When the grandchildren are here our printer paper stack is quickly depleted. They haven't caught on to the fact that we would like them to use the paper that has one side used already. Being more frugal may seem expensive at first, but if you help them understand that they can use the paper more wisely, then it will be beneficial in the end. I like this idea!

Jen said...

We've had really good luck with dry erase markers & laminated pages.