Here's a riddle! What's hard as a rock, light as a feather, is made of something you throw away every day, and will last for many years?
The answer is Papier-Mache, but most people write it as "paper mache", so that's how I'll write it here! Papier mache may have a fancy French name, but it is really just ordinary newspaper mixed with a special paste. It's easy to make, easy to mold, and easy to be creative with.
Paper Mache Supplies
Back when I was a kid, every had a newspaper delivered to their house on a daily basis (for us it was only week days) so everyone had old newspapers lying around. We used them for craft work, wrapping up food scraps, and protecting table tops or floors when we were polishing our shoes. There was always newspaper around, so ripping a bunch of them up to make paper mache was not a problem.
But these days every few of us still have newspapers delivered. I get my news online, and so does pretty much everyone I know, so what can you use if you don't have access to newspapers?
I recommend butchers paper or construction paper. You will have to buy it, but it is reasonably cheap and you can get it from most craft stores.
(Although you might find it at a packaging supplier or stationary supplier for a lot less, I found one online that was selling a 500 meter roll for just under $40, whereas the local craft store is selling 100 metres for $47 - mind you there is a delivery cost on top of that).
If you are going to be ripping it to shreds and smothering it in paste, then the cheaper you can get it the better I say!
You are also going to need buckets or bowls to mix your paste and to make your paper pulp. You might also like to get a paint stirring attachment for your drill to help with the mixing and pulping processes.
You can get on at your local hardware store along with a couple of paint brushes and drop cloths for your work area. Get more than you think you need, you will be surprised by how far the mess will expand around the kids as they work with the paper mache and any you don't use will keep for next time.
You will also need to get some bits and pieces to create the frames for your objects, which might include balloons, old paper bags, pipe cleaners, cardboard tubes (paper towel rolls for example), and sticky tape.
When it is time to decorate your paper mache you will need paints, and maybe textas as well as some kind of shellac or top coat to waterproof and finish your artwork.