“The important thing is that we stick together!” Wise words indeed, from that heroic Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear. And whether your little one loves Toy Story, or princesses, or soccer, or hippos, your wisest toddler development move could be sticking with some custom stickers featuring that childhood passion to help teach fine motor skills, ABCs, focus, logic, and countless other developmental competencies.
From the delightful juxtaposition of sticky and smooth sensations on the same object, to the endless possibilities for appealing images, stickers are ideal for engaging children. They’ll be having so much fun admiring the pictures and figuring out how to peel the stickers off the paper, they won’t even notice that they’re learning skills that will be fundamental in pretty much everything else they ever do.
Handling stickers lets children practice and strengthen their ability to press their pointer finger and thumb together in a pincer grasp that’s the basis of everything from stacking blocks and stringing beads, to using a crayon or pencil, to zippering a jacket and cutting with scissors, to getting dressed and brushing teeth, to manipulating that plastic spork. These movements all require dexterity in the small muscles in the hands and wrists – fine motor skills that can be honed with the simple custom sticker.
So don’t be a stick-in-the-mud – gather up your favorite little ones and some custom stickers, and let the good times roll with the rollicking fun in these five fabulous activities.
They’re So Appealing: Small stickers,dot stickers, shaped stickers – variety is the spice of life, and a variety of custom sticker shapes will challenge children to improve their fine motor skills. Simply peeling the pictures off the backing is enough to entertain the youngest toddlers, but it requires complex motions that are good practice for tiny fingers. The first few times, you may want to fold the paper backing at the edge of the sticker to make it easier to remove.
It’s Poetry in Motion: Grab a stack of blank paper, and encourage children to place their choice of custom stickers wherever they want on the paper. Show them how to make sure the sticky side is down, and how to smooth the edges down so the stickers will stay in place. And don’t worry if the result ends up looking like a tall stack of pancakes – beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and your toddler has just created something beautiful for sure. As the children become more advanced, you can draw a line or even the child’s name on the paper, and help them use stickers to “trace” what you’ve written. This is also great preparation for teaching the alphabet, colors, writing, and other more advanced concepts.
Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes: Put stickers on the child’s feet, elbows, nose, and other body parts, naming each one as you go, then help them name each part as well. Get faster, get sillier, and get a head start on Anatomy 101 with some basic custom stickers.
Think Outside the Table: You’ll want to be sure your toddler only puts stickers where you want them – but that doesn’t just have to be on the paper on the dining room table. Put some on masking tape to see if they’ll stay. Let your little explorer practice different wrist positions by placing the stickers vertically on a piece of paper taped to a wall.
Two (or More) Can Play These Games: Remember “Concentration”? With older children, you can make your own version at home with two sets of identical round stickers that you put in caps from the same plastic bottles or milk caps. Put the caps down so the stickers are hidden, and voila – it’s a match game featuring your child’s very own custom stickers. Create an “I Spy!” game by letting your child scatter stickers throughout a notebook, then playing detective as you page through the book together. Or you can improve the age-old standby tic-tac-toe by drawing the simple grids on paper, and using custom stickers instead of those boring Xs and Os.
When you’re ready to get sticky with it, check out Blue Bee’s many options for custom stickers. Just one suggestion – because you never really know what your imaginative child is going to come up with next, make sure your stickers are low-tac, available in white, clear, or clear with white ink – the removable adhesive does not leave behind any residue. Die-cut, oval, rectangle, round, rounded corner, square, on a sheet or on a roll, you’re bound to find just the right custom stickers to improve inspire your little one’s fine motor skills and inspire endless creativity.