The kids tried papier mache for the first time — about two months ago now (!) — and they really enjoyed it. Frankly, I was amazed at how good both of them were at understanding how to add layers of paper and also managing the glop. We didn’t make anything specific, just practiced the technique of dipping newspaper strips, squeezing off the excess glue, and applying the paper to a base (in this case egg cartons).
We were practicing for a toddler/preschooler art group that we did with some friends (more to come on that once I get my act together) but I think the practice ended up working better than the actual class. I added some purple liquid watercolor to the glue to see if it would show up as they added layers, but it didn’t really do much. Maybe tempera would have been more effective — we’ll have to try it next time. I can’t find the exact recipe I used for the project but there are plenty online if you search for papier mache (or paper mache). We ripped the strips small so that their little hands could easily manage the process. I did cook the glue though, which isn’t entirely necessary but apparently makes the end product stronger. I also read that a recipe with a bit of salt prevents the papier mache from molding — good hint for anyone living in a humid area. Good messy fun.