A Simple Sticky Wall For Babies And Toddlers
BY JEN KOSSOWAN, MAMA.PAPA.BUBBA.
Mar 22, 2017
One of my favourite things to do as a parent is to set out little ‘invitations’ for my kids to explore. I get a kick out of watching them discover whatever it is and see what they do with it. Let me explain: while the word ‘invitation’ may seem a little intimidating, trust me — it’s not. An invitation to play, or create, or explore is simply some sort of set-up that sparks little ones’ curiousity and invites them to interact with the materials involved.
These types of invitations can be incredibly simple, and often the simplest invitations go over best as they’re so open-ended and child-driven. For example: a piece of paper taped to the floor with a couple of big chunky crayons on top is an invitation; a basket of cooking utensils left out for your little one to discover is an invitation; a little ball of baby-safe play dough with a cookie cutter is an invitation. And so is this piece of clear contact paper taped to the wall sticky-side out. Not only is a simple sticky wall fun and interesting for your baby to explore, but it’s also encourages sitting practice for those who are working on mastering the skill. Just be sure to stay close by should your little one start to topple over, of course.
Here’s what you’ll need to create a simple sticky wall at home:
- clear contact paper (available at dollar stores and hardware stores as a drawer liner)
- painter’s tape
- a permanent marker (optional, but recommended)
Contact paper sold in a roll can be a bit of a pain to deal with, but after several years of wrestling it up onto my walls, here’s what I’ve learned works best: cut a piece of contact paper to your desired size. Next, roll it up tightly so that the side that was on the inside of the roll is now on the outside. Hold it for a minute or two to help flatten it out. If you’d like to add some permanent marker stripes or designs to the clear non-sticky side of the paper, this is the best time to do it. The marker simply increases the visibility of the paper once it's hung on the wall.
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Next, place your piece of contact paper down on your work surface with the paper side up. Use something of decent size and weight to hold it down as you peel up the backing from one side. When you’ve got an inch or two of sticky contact paper exposed, simply crease the paper backing towards the centre to keep that sticky part exposed.
Next, do the same thing on the opposite side. Now you’re ready to add a long strip of painter’s tape on either side of your contact paper. Make sure the tape is sticky side down, but down press it down to your work surface — we want to secure the contact paper to the wall after all.
Now carefully peel off the paper backing and stick the whole thing up on the wall, making sure to pull the sides tight. Add a strip of painter’s tape to both the top and the bottom of the contact paper sheet so that it’s fully secured.
Depending on your little one’s age, you can simply leave the sticky wall for him or her to discover or you can point it out and invite them over to play. Chances are that if they’ve just watched you secure the contact paper to the wall, they are already curious.
From this point, I’d encourage you just to watch your baby or toddler play. See what they do! See how they react to pulling their hand away from the wall and having it stick. See what they do when their hand comes away and that interesting little pluck sort-of-noise happens.
Of course you can chat with your little one as he or she discovers and explores. I like to foster language development by simply narrating my little one’s play sometimes. As silly as it might seem as first, being their 'sports commenter' is a great way to encourage language development while still allowing your little one to drive their own play. Try saying exactly what you see, “oh, there’s something interesting on the wall;” “your hand sticks to it when you touch it, doesn’t it?” “It makes a noise when you pull your hand away!"
And don’t fret if your little one is into the sticky wall for like two minutes before moving onto something else. Simply leave the contact paper up for them to explore another time or day because I can pretty much guarantee that they will be back again later.
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