When I was a middle school teacher I used contact paper all of the time because it allowed me to transform regular cardboard boxes into nice looking sturdy containers on the cheap. I wish had photos of this but this was well before digital cameras!
In early childhood contact paper is a great creative art material. It can encourage collaborative, fluid, re-arrangeable art. The experiences encourage process thinking. It is really fun and engaging sensory play for babies, toddlers, and children alike. It is movable, interactive art that stretches the mind and body!
Alissa Marquess at Creative with Kids and Jenae at I Can Teach My Child offer great ways to use contact paper with toddlers and babies.
I’ve been wanting to explore more art projects with Little Miss F. I bought the contact paper and kept it in my craft & cleaning closet for a while. The other night I decided it was the time to try it out with LMF.
One my goals was to make this a vertical experience for LMF. She’s really enjoying standing up and I want to encourage this, so I wanted this to be an opportunity for her to engage in a standing activity. So this activity was one of my responses to the question, how do I encourage my baby to stand?
Now, recognizing how I positioned the contact paper meant we were also working with (and against) gravity. Some of the items totally worked, others did not.
What worked: curling ribbon, narrow fabric ribbon,
What Little Miss F. loved but didn't work: sparkle pom poms, cornstarch packing peanuts*
What worked with adaptation: pipe cleaners* did not work on their own, but if I tied them with curling ribbon, the ribbon could sustain their weight
Next time: I am going to look for some ratafia and gift bag paper. I think some textiles will also work well.
Does anyone have any favorite materials to use with contact paper?
How to Create your own Contact Paper Vertical Play Wall
Clear Contact paper
Tape (I recommend painter’s tape to save your walls)
Lightweight interesting materials (this will be very age dependent)
The Set Up Plan:
Cut contact paper to desired shape & size
Pull part of the backing from the contact paper. (I began by securing one corner.)
I intentionally left the canvas blank so Little Miss F. could explore the materials first and then showed her how they stuck.
At 10 months, this it's completely appropriate for babies to spend most of their time pulling materials off rather than putting them up. This is important fine motor skills development, too. With time this interaction will change.
*saftey notes: Pom poms & packing peanuts both immediately went in LMF’s mouth. Use at your own discretion and comfort. Not everyone feels comfortable letting their child play with pipe cleaners because the metal wire can be sharp. Use at your own discretion and comfort.
Update 6/30/3016 LMF continues to LOVE her contact paper wall. Since this initial creation I’ve offered her other options to encourage her vertical explorations and have more practice standing. Since this initial vertical invitation I’ve also added fabric, paper straws, gift tags, repurposed clothing tags, and cupcake liners. I am amazed by how this activity encourages LMF to stand and gives her an opportunity to strengthen her leg muscles while supporting her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
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Safety Reminders: Adult supervision is highly recommended for all of the activities, ideas, and materials featured on this blog. As parents, guardians, and caregivers, you know your children best and your own comfort level with the different suggested activities. Littleredbarn is not responsible for any injury or damage from reproducing the activities, materials, or ideas from this blog.