Sticky Easel: Coloured Craft Sticks and Straws

Aug 1, 2012

activity for kids, creative kids

Ever since seeing this fun post on Teach Preschool, I have been wanting to try a "Sticky Easel"

It's so easy, tape down some contact paper or sticky-back plastic (sticky side up), on an easel or any other surface, and let kids stick materials to their heart's content. The possibilities for learning, creativity and skill practice are wide and varied.

Ages: 2-6+

Materials: Contact paper/Sticky-back plastic (the stuff you cover books with), sticky tape, coloured craft sticks & straws

I set up the easel with the contact paper/sticky-back plastic and provided two tubs. 
Coloured craft sticks and cut-up recycled straws

There was no instruction necessary, she was straight into it after touching it for a bit

Working with small materials. Fine motor skills being practiced

Making a house and putting straw tiles on the roof

Even I was surprised by how long she sat there working away

"I love this" she declared and hugged the easel.
We had a lot of great discussion about her creation and her thought processes.

At about this stage she wanted more room so we popped them back in the containers and she started all over again.

We hope your kids enjoy it as much as we did and keep coming back to it over the week for a great progressive art/exploration.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by providing materials for sticking that are appropriate for your child. If cut up straws pose a choking risk, try keeping them at a longer length or switching them for other light-ish materials. Also, if sitting/standing at an easel won't work, try sticking the contact onto a baking tray and giving them that to play with on the floor.

- Extend this activity by having your child test the strength of the stickiness by trying to stick other objects from around the room on there. What weight or size becomes too much? Use the sticky easel for early literacy practice such as making letters, writing words etc.

-Ask questions to help connect their understanding and use vocabulary to give them words to describe what they're creating, eg. "That looks great, tell me about it" "What are you creating?" "Why did you choose that?" "How are you going to fill this space?" "I love how you've lined them all up in a row" etc.

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests.

Here are some more fun activities of ours using craft sticks

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. that's an awesome idea! I'll have to try it with my nephews on Fri...will let you know how it goes :-)
    BTW ~ for UK readers: contact is known as sticky-back plastic...took a long and very confusing discussion with a workmate in London to figure this out!!

    1. haha, Thanks Ferg!! Sorry about the confusion. I shall update the post to add that in. :D

  2. So awesome! Did you tape the contact paper onto the easel? Definitely going to do this and use it to make some shapes. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Tulip. Yes, it's taped on just using a bit of stickytape around the edges.

  3. this looks soooo fun! we've got to try this! thanks for linking it up to tip-toe thru tuesday!

  4. That looks really fun. I will try this when our four 21 month-old toddlers get a little bigger. I imagine there are many combinations of things you could stick on the contact paper. Please link this post to Artsy Play Wednesday on Capri + 3 (and any other arts, crafts and play posts you'd like to share). I hope to see you there.

    : 0 ) Theresa

  5. Oh, how fun!! We will have to give this a try. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  6. do you replace the contact paper often? do you think spray adhesive will help keep the stickiness?

    -curious pre-k teacher

    1. Good question. It really depends on how and what it's used with. If kids are using it with dirty hands and stick things like threads, fluff etc then it will end up looking pretty scrappy. I've found I've only replaced it after time because it got too dirty, not because it lost it's stickyness. As I'm using it at home there aren't so many kids to make it dirty but doing something like sticking the paddle pop sticks and straws, you should be able to use it for quite some time. (If you try it out, i'd love to know how long it lasted you with a class) :) Thanks, debs :)

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