Prepare a few giant pieces of newspaper so you can enjoy this activity several times. Do your best to create a 12-foot or larger square of taped-together newspaper for each giant snowflake you wish to create. Remember that the more the paper is folded, the more complex the cutting will appear when unfolded, and that cutting away more paper yields a better result.
While working with your child on this project, be prepared to join in with your scissors to help make some of the deeper cuts. Children who are used to working on a small scale may not be prepared to cut out the very large pieces of paper that give the snowflake its interesting shape.
This project seems like such a simple one, and yet it has infinite variations. Indestructible Tyvek would beat newsprint for durability in the giant snowflake. If made from tissue paper, snowflakes can be sewn together into flower forms; these will float nicely when tossed from the top of the stairs.
Once you make the giant snowflakes, kids won’t want to stop the snowflake cutting, so be sure to have some smaller paper handy for the kids to keep creating. At our house, we have a fondness for origami paper, which comes in a perfect size and weight to cut smaller-scale snowflakes.
Other paper to cut
Create a giant square piece of newsprint by using masking tape to attach the newspaper pages edge to edge. This giant square should be at least 12 feet per side to account for the area lost when you round the paper.
Create a quadruple fold. To do this step, fold the paper in half, corner to corner, to form a triangle. Continue folding the paper on the diagonal to create increasingly thinner triangles.
Round off the snowflake. Take a piece of string, and tie a piece of chalk to the end. Hold or tape down the end of the string to the folded paper’s triangle tip, and extend the chalk to the top of the paper. Draw a curved line with the chalk along the top of the triangle. To draw the line, make sure the string is pulled taut as it extends from side to side across the triangle. Cut along the chalk line to create the curve necessary for a circular snowflake.
Cut into that triangle with a pair of sharp scissors. Be sure not to cut all the way across the triangle! The more cuts you make and the more surface area that you remove, the more intricate your snowflake will look.
Reveal your giant snowflake by carefully unfolding the paper.
Looking for more collaborative crafts you and your child can do? Learn how to make a potato-print Milky Way or a child-drawn stuffed monster.
All photographs by Meredith Heuer. From Side by Side, by Tsia Carson, © 2012 by Tsia Carson. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com.