Paper Dolls and Math Manipulatives

This is one of those random projects that pop up when you least expect them.  It definitely wasn’t in the plan for the week, if you checked yesterday’s Sneak Peek

I was trying to do a little cleaning.  I ran into a few magazines that I didn’t need, but just couldn’t bear to throw them straight into the trash.  There has to be a use for them, right?  Of course!  One was a a Land’s End catalogue, and I have two small children, so of course they needed some paper dolls!  Thus I began cutting.  You can, too!

You’ll find that in one magazine, the people in the pictures showing the entire person are roughly the same size.  So, find those pictures, and start cutting!  I chose to cut the people in half at the waist, leaving their hands attached to the upper body portion, and then cut off their heads.  I felt a little mean decapitating them, but I got over it. 🙂

Now, what to do with the clothes and faces I had cut?  They’re just magazine pages, so a little flimsy, and easily torn.  Several options: 1) glue onto felt, and use them on a felt board,  2) glue them onto cardstock or empty cereal box cardboard and use loose, or add little pieces of stick-on velcro, 3) realize you have some magnet sheets you bought specifically for making paper dolls at some point, and find them, stick the pictures on, and cut them out!  I went with option three, because I already had this:

I found these at Wal-Mart; there are two sheets in a pack, for about $2.50.  These magnets are not super strong, but they serve this purpose excellently.  If you have young children, please read my cautionary note about magnets at the bottom of this post!

So I peeled off the paper, revealing the [very] sticky surface of the magnet sheet.  You really only get one shot at putting the magazine cut-out on there, so be careful.  I stuck my pictures on, trying to use up the magnet as efficiently as possible.

There was still a lot of wasted space, however, so I was trying to think of how I could take advantage of the extra magnet, when suddenly this image popped into my head:

Colorful buttons!  I found these at Wal-Mart the other day, and knew they needed to come home with me.  I had some ideas, but they were destined for this project.  Buttons can be fun math manipulatives on their own, but add a magnet to them and they become SUPER math manipulatives!!!  Perfect for my 4yo.  My 1 1/2yo will not even know of their existence.  Again, see safety note at the bottom.  So, I stuck the buttons on:

My daughter could not live without this dog that she found in the magazine, so he made it on the magnet too 🙂  Here are a couple of other sheets.  One has a lot of buttons; I just ended up with a lot of extra space on that sheet, so I was glad I had a plan to use it up!

I had already done two sheets before coming up with the brilliant button idea, so I might have done a little trash digging to get my scraps back (not really, they actually were on the floor, my 4yo threw them away for me)!

Cut out the clothes and heads, and you have magnetic paper dolls!  This magnet sheet is very easy to cut with normal scissors.  It’s not heavy duty, but it serves this purpose very well!  Magnets are ready for a refrigerator, cookie sheet, or, where mine are headed, the side of a file cabinet!

My 4yo decided this guy needed some buttons.  Making your own paper dolls, they don’t all have to be girls!  And you can choose ones that are dressed in clothing you deem appropriate!

The button manipulatives can be used with the dolls, obviously, or on their own for counting, adding, subtracting…

Making pictures…

The possibilities are endless!  And my 1 1/2 yo is going to be THRILLED with the dog.  See how easy it can be to make a kid happy?   And educational, too!

Want to see more fun magazine paper dolls?  I made some more with children and American Girl dolls!

SAFETY NOTE: Buttons not recommended for children under three due to choking hazard.  Small magnets are especially hazardous.  If a child swallows two, they can attract each other through the intestinal walls, causing the intestines to twist and contort.  This is life threatening.  Please craft with caution!

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4 thoughts on “Paper Dolls and Math Manipulatives

  1. Pingback: More Paper Doll Fun! « The Practical Perfeccionista

  2. Pingback: Sunday Sneak Peek! « The Practical Perfeccionista

  3. Pingback: A little success… | The Practical Perfeccionista

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