Confetti Play & Art


Habitot has a long tradition of celebrating the New Year with Confetti Arts. Each year in the Art Studio, families use small bits of colorful paper to create art and to learn through play. This week, we’re sharing three Confetti Arts activities for festive at-home play and learning.

In some cultures, throwing confetti is a way to celebrate special events such as New Year’s Eve and weddings. People use lots of things as confetti, rice, beans, and cut mylar. Our activities use earth-friendly confetti to commemorate the arrival of the New Year.

Happy New Year!

Skills We’re Learning

  • Fine motor
  • Creativity
  • Tool use
  • Cultural understanding
  • Sensory awareness

Gathering Confetti Materials

  • With the help of your child, walk around your home or yard and gather flat, light-weight items that can easily be turned into confetti—paper, gift and tissue wrapping paper, magazine or newspaper pages, repurposed children’s artwork, dried leaves, flower petals, fabric scraps and recycled gift ribbon are some suggestions.
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, you may also want to consider using uncooked popcorn kernels as confetti (for the collage activity below)
  • Encourage your child to collect items of different colors and make it a color scavenger hunt

Materials and Supplies

  • Different kinds of paper (See Gathering Confetti Materials above)
  • 2-6 wrapping tissue squares (2.5” each or slightly longer on each side) for Confetti Flinger
  • Child-safe scissors
  • Non-toxic liquid school glue (squeeze bottle or in a cup) or glue stick
  • Paintbrush
  • Card stock, copy paper or piece of cardboard box (5” x 7” or 8 ½” x 11” are suggested) for collage
  • Several small bowls or small containers to hold the confetti
  • Toilet paper roll (1 or more depending on how many people will be using them) for Confetti Flinger
  • Kitchen or bathroom size trash bag for Ball Drop

Optional Supplies

  • Paper shredder (for adults)
  • Hole punch
  • Dried leaves
  • Popcorn kernels (uncooked)
  • Cup for glue
  • Watercolor or food coloring to add color your school glue
  • Non-toxic tempera paint
  • Fabric scraps
  • Small baskets (to catch confetti for Ball Drop)
  • Tape

Making Confetti

You and your child can create confetti by tearing and cutting small pieces of paper. There is no one correct size, but confetti tends to be small, about a 1” square or smaller. Children with the hand strength to do so can try to use a hand-held hole punch or a three-hole punch to create tiny confetti circles. Children, preschool-age and older, can use child-safe scissors to cut small pieces of paper. Tearing, cutting and hole-punching paper helps young children practice and develop their fine motor skills.

How much? We suggest making at least 1 cup of confetti (loosely packed), but more is even better! For the Ball Drop, you may want to have a large mixing bowl filled with confetti.

Note Cutting and tearing a large amount of confetti can take more than a few minutes. Considering that young children generally have short attention spans, adults and older children can prepare some confetti in advance. Adults can use a paper shredder or paper cutter, but these are not safe tools for young children to use.


Activity 1 — Ball Drop

Noon Year’s Eve is celebrated by many schools and children’s museums as an alternative to celebrating at midnight. In addition to the paper confetti described above, you can supplement your confetti pile with packing peanuts and leftover gift-wrapping ribbon. You can also add baby socks or small stuffed animals for fun.

  1. With your child, put the confetti inside a standard kitchen trash bag (for a toddler, a small, bathroom-size trash bag may be enough). Tie it shut.
  2. Flip the bag upside down and poke a small hole through the bottom of the trash bag. This hole will be used to hang the bag upside down. (The tie on the bag will be hanging toward the ground when it’s hung up.)
  3. Find a place in your home or yard where you can hang the trash bag.
  4. Using the hole you made in the bag, hang your bag upside down in your archway, from a tree branch, or wherever you choose. You might want to use string or tape to attach the bag to a branch or a hook.
  5. Find some fun background music to play as you prepare for the countdown.
  6. Gather together with your child or children and prepare for the Noon Year Countdown. Invite them to stand under the hanging trash bag.
  7. Point to a clock and show them that it’s almost time!
  8. Practice counting backwards with the kids starting at 5. Ask them how they want to celebrate after they’ve said 1. Will they jump? Will they dance?
  9. Gently start to loosen the knot you tied on the trash bag.
  10. Start counting down 5-4-3-2-1! Untie the knot and release the confetti as you say Happy Noon Year!
  11. An alternative would be to have an adult or older child stand on a step stool and toss the confetti into the air so the younger children can try to catch it.
  12. Children can continue tossing and catching confetti with their hands or with baskets.

Confetti Flinger

In addition to the Ball Drop, you can add to the fun by creating a Confetti Flinger from a toilet paper roll, confetti, a couple of wrapping tissue squares, and some glue or tape.

  1. Have your child apply glue around one end of the toilet paper roll, about ½” to 1” down from the opening.
  2. Next, have them cover the hole with the 2.5” wrapping tissue square. The tissue paper should be pressed onto the glue around the hole of the toilet paper roll. This hole should now be closed up. If you don’t have glue, you can use tape to attach tissue to the roll.
  3. Let the glue dry for a few minutes.
  4. Now with one side closed up, invite your child to put confetti in the toilet paper roll. We suggest that you put enough confetti in to fill the tube half way.
  5. Repeat steps 1 & 2 to close up the other side of the roll.
  6. Prepare for the Ball Drop moment or countdown.
  7. Just before the countdown, have your child poke a hole on one side of the Confetti Flinger to expose the confetti.
  8. After the countdown reached 1, your child can fling and shake the toilet paper roll and the confetti will come out.

Confetti Collage

  1. For the confetti collage, set out your glue, child-safe scissors, and card stock, along with the confetti (in bowls).
  2. Work separately or together in making art with your confetti. Apply the glue and add the confetti to the paper. Be open to your child’s ideas, which may be of a two-dimensional or three-dimensional nature. Note: Children from age 1 to the younger 2’s may need assistance or modeling from adults as they’re beginning to understand how glue helps to stick items on to paper. Infants and young toddlers may only be interested in feeling and exploring the thin paper on their fingers and hands. Remember to focus on your child’s process over product.
  3. For a classic collage, consider starting your collage by covering your entire sheet of paper with glue and placing or gently tossing a few pieces of the confetti on to the paper. You might consider adding popcorn to this part as it’s heavier and makes for an interesting experiment in how heavier objects stick or don’t stick to paper with just a small amount of glue.
  4. Once the confetti has landed on the wet glue, ask your child if they want to lift the paper up (about 90 degrees) to see which bits of confetti stick and which fall off the paper. For the pieces that don’t stick well, ask your child what they can do to make them stick better.
  5. Invite your child to crumple or ball up tissue paper or magazine pieces into paper beads that can be glued onto the collage. Paper beads may need more glue to stick onto the paper. Note: Some children may prefer to pile up and glue together the crumpled balls of paper and other pieces of confetti to create a sculpture. Large paper balls or beads can also be connected together using tape.
  6. Let your artwork dry in a well-ventilated place. This may take a day or so.

Clean Up

Using a broom, sweep up the confetti and consider reusing for a future art or play activity. If you have pets or very young children, make sure you pick up every little piece so that there’s no possibility of any choking problems for the children or the animals.