a young child plays with tape

Active Play

10 Fun Ways to Play With Tape

Dec 18, 2017

It’s amazing how kids can take a fairly mundane household item and turn it into hours of imaginative fun. I was reminded of this recently when my eldest son got his hands on a roll of painter’s tape I’d picked up from the dollar store. He wasn't making a mess, he was on mission. My son worked tirelessly to tape and re-tape a handful of cardboard tubes to the wall to craft the ultimate pom-pom run.

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From there, he moved on to adding tape to various toys to create something new. He transformed a pylon into a lunch bag, and then took a pair of toilet paper rolls and made them into binoculars. Who knew that a single roll of tape could be such a powerful boredom buster?

Whether you’re trying to beat the after-school blahs or looking for new ways to keep your littlest ones entertained, reach for the tape and give these fun and easy activities a try.

1. Peel Back the Layers

What you’ll need:

  • a flat surface
  • a roll of tape (or rolls in various colours)

For wee ones with busy fingers, this simple tape activity is just the ticket. Layer strips of tape on a flat surface, such as a highchair tray or coffee table and let your little one work to peel them off, piece by piece. In addition to making a ripping sound they’ll love, this activity will help your kiddo strengthen their fine motor and concentration skills. 

2. Rip Up Sticks

What you’ll need:

  • a handful of craft sticks
  • a roll of tape

Once your child has mastered the art of tape removal, increase the difficulty by taping an object, such as a craft stick or a small toy, to a flat surface and have them peel the tape until the item is free.

3. Walk the Line

What you’ll need:

  • a large section of bare floor
  • a roll of tape

Balance and coordination skills will get a workout with this activity that’s perfect for keeping kids active indoors. Simply tape a path on your floor and have your kiddo follow it, like they're traversing the highest tightrope. 

4. A DIY Balance Game

What you’ll need:

  • a roll of tape
  • a marker

Take those balance and coordination skills one step further! Start by making a snowflake pattern with your tape, and write a number at the end of each strip. Have your child stand in the centre of the snowflake with their hands on their hips. Then, ask your child to stand on one foot and use the other foot to tap each number as you call them out at random. Switch feet, then try it again!

5. Make Your Own Car Track

What you’ll need:

  • a large section of bare floor
  • toy cars
  • assorted blocks and other toys (optional)

Let your wee one design their own roadway with a roll of tape, and a few extra toys to act as bridges and tunnels. Will your kiddo build a racetrack or a whole city block? This one is all about imagination. 

6. Try an Open-Ended Building Activity

What you’ll need:

  • a roll of tape
  • materials from your recycling bin

Who doesn’t love a good STEM challenge? Hand over a roll of tape and a basket of building materials (think empty yogurt containers, cardboard tubes, tissue boxes, etc.) and see what your little ones can create.

7. Paint a Tape-Resist Masterpiece

What you’ll need:

  • blank paper or inexpensive canvas
  • painter’s tape
  • paint
  • brushes

Your little artist is sure to love this colourful painting project. Start by having your child create a pattern on their paper or canvas using painter’s tape. They might choose to spell out their name, or go for a more abstract approach. When the design is taped, let them loose with some paint and brushes to cover the entire surface (including the tape) in bright colours. Once they’ve finished painting, peel up the tape and let them admire their latest masterpiece! 

8. Pom-pom Obstacle Course

What you’ll need:

  • a roll of tape
  • a pom-pom
  • a straw

It doesn’t take much to create this giggle-inducing obstacle course! Just tape a winding path on a large surface, and see if your child can navigate a pom-pom through the maze using only a straw and their own breath. To make things even more fun, add a second course and turn it into a race.

9. An Easy DIY Matching Game

What you’ll need:

  • craft sticks
  • washi tape

Put your rolls of decorative washi tape to good use with this sweet DIY matching game. Simply stick a piece of tape to one side of a pair of craft sticks, and repeat until you’ve created a whole set. Place the sticks tape side down on a flat surface, and take turns flipping them with your child until you uncover matching pairs.

10. Make One-of-a-Kind Jewelry

What you’ll need:

  • craft sticks
  • washi tape or duct tape
  • boiling water
  • a heat-safe container
  • a small glass or mug

Feeling creative? Help your child make their own stylish bracelet using craft sticks, and washi or duct tape. To begin, you’ll need to soak wooden craft sticks in boiling water for one to two hours, or until the sticks are pliable enough to gently curve without cracking.

Fit the curved stick into a glass and allow it to dry completely (this may take several hours — best to leave it overnight). Carefully remove the wooden bracelet from the glass, and let your child wrap it using the tape of their choice. These make great friendship bracelets, or sweet handmade gifts for special occasions.

Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

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