Contact paper (any color will do)
Things that stick
Start by cutting your contact paper to the size you want, keeping in mind that bigger is probably better for this activity. Lay the contact paper down on a flat surface, backing-side up (you may want to use a few books to two of the corners). Slowly start to peel off the backing on one of the short sides of the rectangle of contact paper; fold the backing so that it stays put and leaves one short side of your rectangle exposed, sticky-side up. Rip off a piece of painters tape that is longer than you need, then secure it to the edge of your exposed contact paper (sticky side of the tape should make touch the sticky side of the contact paper and hang-off the edge). Use the painters tape to secure this first end of your rectangle to the wall. Begin (slowly) removing the backing from your contact paper, securing the top and bottom edges with tape as you go. Once all the backing is removed, use the painters tape to finish taping your rectangle to the wall. You’ll know you’ve done this right if you can now stick stuff to the contact paper!
Now, grab a bucket or bowl and walk around your house looking for small, light-weight toys that will stick to your newly created Sticky Wall! We love pom-poms, foam shapes and letters/numbers, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, ribbons (these do fray with use), and felt shapes. The only items that won’t work well are those made of paper or cardboard, or things that are too heavy or don’t have flat sides. For older kiddos, consider placing tangram pages/shape puzzles between the wall and the contact paper, and then letting them stick the tangram shapes onto the wall to complete the puzzles.
This activity takes a little time to set up, and would definitely be easier with an extra set of (adult) hands to help! That being said, you can certainly do it by yourself… just take your time. You can leave the Sticky Wall up as long as you’d like, but it will hold your little one’s attention for longer if it is a special activity that is only available at certain times. The first time I unveiled this, it kept my 3 year old and my 1 year old occupied for nearly an hour; now when it comes out, I’m lucky to hold their attention for 10-15 minutes. We still love playing with our Sticky Wall, though. It’s great for exploring textures, doing science experiments (will it stick or fall?), and learning about shapes!
- If you want this to be an independent-play activity, make sure none of your pieces are choking hazards!
- This can be an open-ended activity, or you can give your kiddo challenges: build a house, make a face, sort colors/shapes, etc.
- If you have multiple kids who may want to use this at the same time, go BIG to minimize sibling interference!
- Contact paper is awesome, and every crafty mama should have a giant roll at all times. Just sayin’.