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Pop's Paper Tree

This is one of our favorite things in the book. Give it your all and it will become one of your favorites, too! Fascinate your child with a memorable routine that turns five sheets of newspaper into a towering tree. Add dramatic impact by reciting a poem and using the tree to deliver a special message.

Find five double-pages of newspaper and set them in a pile. Roll the first sheet of newspaper into a tube. Stop about five inches from the edge. Add a second double-page sheet and continue rolling, stopping again with about five inches to go. Add the third, fourth, and fifth sheets the same way, rolling the fifth one all the way up to complete the tube.

Flatten the tube, hold the top, and slowly begin to tear a straight line Pop's Paper Treedown the center. Tear about an inch at a time, stopping when you are about one third of the way down the tube. Flatten the tube the opposite way (so the torn strips lay on top of each other). Make a second tear down the center just as you did before. You now have four torn parts made up of several strips. Bend them out from the center like fronds of a palm tree. Put your fingers into the top of the tube and pull the innermost page upward in one swift motion. The tubes will "telescope," stretching the tree to its full length.

Pop's Paper Tree

The best method of presenting the poem is to simply memorize it and recite it as you make the tree. This is not as hard as it sounds. There is an opening verse to say as you set out the paper, one verse for each sheet you add, and a final verse to recite as you make the tears. Your actions will help you remember the words and the words will help you Pop's Paper Treeremember the actions! Time the presentation so you can stretch the tree to its full length right after reciting the last line.

If you don't think you can learn the entire poem, memorize the first and last verses only. Photocopy the five middle verses and glue one onto each of the five sheets of newspaper. Read the verses as you add each page then roll them out of view. Whichever method you use, present the poem with passion and panache to deliver an experience your child will never forget!


One day my father came to me with a smile
And showed me five sheets stacked up in a pile.
He told me each sheet represented a seed:
A small grain of knowledge I was going to need.
He took the first sheet and he set it down flat.
He rolled it a bit till it looked just like that.
Then he stopped and shared the first piece of advice,
"Never forget you should always be nice."
As I smiled at his words and started to think,
He grabbed the next sheet and gave me a wink.
He rolled them together combining the two,
And told me, "Be honest in all that you do."
He reached out his hand and picked up the third.
He rolled it the same without saying a word.
Then he looked in my eyes, and the message he gave
Was, "Believe in yourself and strive to be brave."
Next, he reached up and took sheet number four.
He put the page with the rest and rolled them some more.
They all intertwined, and I heard father say,
"Find a reason to laugh in your life every day."
He took the last sheet and he smiled at me.
I was longing to learn what the fifth seed would be.
He rolled the sheet in where the others had gone,
And said, "Teach what you know so your knowledge lives on."
He said, "If you plant these seeds deep in your heart,
You'll always be strong even when we we're apart."
I followed his words and with them I grew.
"Now I'm passing my father's knowledge to you."

The Amazing Dad - The Book

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