We haven't used the punches much, so we had a quick tutorial on what to do - insert paper in the slot, make sure it's all the way in, punch, move over so you have enough paper to punch again, etc.
We made some great collages.
But we had lots of paper shapes where the kids just wanted to practice and experiment with the punches.
So the next week I put out the punches in the writing center. They began experimenting again.
We started having lots of shapes that no one really wanted to use or keep. So I put out a cup. "If you don't want the shapes," I said, "place them in here." Kids dropped shapes in the cup throughout the morning. I was surprised that they didn't want to keep them or use them in a project.
They were just interested in using the tools. These are hole punches I got on sale in the scrapbooking section of a craft store. Not really tools for kids.
Real tools - just the thing for kids! I was reminded that kids need time to explore and experiment. Sometimes my end goal is not their end goal. Making a collage wasn't as important (to them) as exploring the paper punches and how they worked. So I put them out again so they could explore.
At the end of the day, I had a cup with hearts and stars. Of course, I can't toss anything. But what to do with them? I dumped them in my shredded paper bag - so the next time we use shredded paper to dig through, the kids will find some shapes, too.