Paper-bag Trees

Paper bags come full circle as imaginary trees. Your child’s fresh take on an ordinary item cultivates their divergent thinking and environmental awareness.


This is messy, so prepare yourself, your child and your work area.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Lunch-bag sized, brown paper bags, here on Amazon.
  2. Colored tissue paper, like this example. Your kids will have fun tearing it up during this activity. Before starting, test to see if it's easy to tear. If not, you can pre-cut squares beforehand.
  3. Bottle of white glue. We use Elmer's White Multi-purpose glue,. It dries clear and is useful for lots of activities. Find even more glue guidance in our Materials Page.
  1. Skilly Spark: Ask your child to think about trees.  Discuss what colors, shapes and sizes they see in their mind. Is it winter or summer? Consider where and when they grow.  
  2. Open the lunch bag. Take the bottom of the bag and twist it with both hands, like you’re wringing out a wet dishrag. The bag's base will form the tree's roots. Flatten the bottom and it can stand on its own.
  3. Start ripping the top part of the bag into small strips, remembering to keep them attached to the tree trunk.
  4. Twist each torn section to form the branches of a tree.
  5. After choosing the tree leaves' colors, help each other tear up the tissue into small pieces.  It’s good exercise for the small muscles in the hands and fingers.
  6. Finally, form leaves by using a dot of glue to add the torn tissue paper to the branches. 
Keep the fun going
  • Make trees in different seasons of the year. What does your Summer tree look like in Fall?
  • Create a forest of many trees using bags of different sizes.