Stickers, Crafts, and Kids: A Winning Combination
Summer is almost here and that means a whole lot of uninterrupted free time for the kids. And while summer is a great time to go out and play, the lingering threat of endemic COVID will keep everyone indoors more often than not. It falls to parents and caregivers to help their children find fun ways to occupy their time indoors, both with the family and on their own when Mom or Dad need some precious self-care. Luckily, kids have a seemingly bottomless well of creativity and a love of DIY and craft projects. And custom stickers are a great way to fuel the imagination and contribute to nearly any project.
Of course, the most straightforward way to play with stickers is just to use permanent stickers as decorations on some appointed surface. Kids love keeping sticker books to collect images of their favourite animals, characters, and symbols. Some will arrange them carefully in rows by type or colour, others will get wild and wacky and plunk their stickers down every which way. A fun notebook and several rolls of creative stickers with your kids’ passions du jour (superheroes, fairies, trucks, dinosaurs…) will keep younger and more artistically inclined children occupied for a long time. This may be the simplest way to use stickers and is also a good way to gauge how kids harness their creative energies.
Sticker Book Basics
But sticker crafts can go a level deeper and encourage all sorts of emergent avenues of self-expression. A simple sticker book can become a storybook or a comic as kids arrange the characters, write in word bubbles and tell whatever tale comes to mind. Kids can also cluster stickers together to form composite “mosaics” by forming a cluster of dinosaur stickers into a bigger dinosaur. Parents can even set their kid’s special artistic challenges to see what they come up with. Just be sure not to turn challenges meant to inspire inventive fun into a competition, instead of encouraging friends and siblings to cooperate.
Sticker books are great, but carry the big assumption that kids will always contain their play exclusively to the designated areas. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you — your kids will draw all over it. And many of them will cover the walls and furniture with stickers. It’s hard to blame them, as plastering your favourite images all over the place is pretty fun. Now, this is rarely a real problem as most stickers for kids can be scraped off and the glue removed with a bit of GooGone. But this will destroy the stickers and damage to the paint is still possible. If your younglings can’t resist doing a Travel Size Banksy impression, grab some removable decals. Everyone wins — your walls remain intact, and the sticker can just be peeled off and put up elsewhere.
Stickers Go With Anything
While stickers can be an end unto themselves, they also make great additions to many other sorts of arts-and-crafts projects. Making a collage? Add some stickers. Doing some book-binding with string? Decorate the covers, pages, or bookmarks with stickers that fit the theme. LEGO buildings look great with a few choice stickers to add personality, and they can also decorate model vehicles. Just be careful if your kids love historically accurate model aeroplanes or Anime battle robots — not everyone wants a big glittery Scooby-Doo on their B-29 Superfortress. And even then, those kids love stickers of their favourite vehicles and robots (and robots who turn into vehicles.) Just not on the models they spend months putting together.
Put a Label On It
Kids love asserting their independence and claiming their property, and there’s no better way to do that than with labels. A label-maker can be a fun toy so long as the kids don’t feel the need to label everything, but other than fonts, there’s not a lot of visual razzle-dazzle available. Instead, grab some custom labels or some blank ones for children to decorate themselves. Parents who do their own canning or sell their crafts can also score some cuteness points with buyers by letting their kids hand-decorate the labels they put on their products. It’s not child labour if they’re having fun, right? Just make sure to reward them somehow.
The Sticker Economy
Speaking of rewards, stickers make a great way to motivate children. Just ask anyone who’s ever pined for a gold star on their homework. While it’s less fun to withhold any and all stickers unless kids do their chores, caregivers can pick or even create a special variety of stickers with which to incentivize good behaviour. Stickers come in every variety, from bubbled and textured to glittery to scratch-and-sniff, and there are even temporary tattoos to show off to friends at the playground. Especially for younger children, it can be good to delay a money allowance to let them enjoy a few years before the work-a-day world sinks in.
Stickers are a classic avenue to many different kinds of fun, and their use always spurs creativity. Just invest in a simple sheet of stickers and hand your kids a piece of printer paper and see what they come up with. Even something that basic should inspire a flood of ideas, whether planning a daily activity or a unique birthday party.