Why didn't I think of this craft before?
A few days ago I was refereeing/entertaining/being-entertained-by my daughter and the neighbor boy at the craft table in our garage. They were doing their usual thing of telling each other little kid things, drawing pictures with silly captions, and messing with some stickers. The neighbor boy suddenly stopped and asked me: "How do you make stickers?"
Since I had recently read about tricky ways to get children to think critically, I told him "Well, farmers grow these little bushes on their farms, and when the harvest is ready, the farmers pick the stickers off the bushes, wrap them in plastic, and send them to Target." For a few beats he had a strange look on his face: knowing it wasn't right, but trying to determine exactly which part wasn't right. So I asked him if he thought it was true. "No!" he said in his relieved little neighbor-boy way.
So, anyway, I eventually explained the real story: slightly tacky glue, paper, and pictures, and wrapped it up by saying "So, a sticker is really just a piece of tape with a picture on it." Before the words had even completely left my mouth, I had formulated a plan, and knew what we must do.
In the the first version, I used regular waxed paper. It seemed to work, but with the humidity and the kid-handling, it had a bad tendency to tear when removing. The parchment paper is sturdier and works much better. The slick side of the parchment paper is almost too non-stick, so I ended up using the less glossy side. It worked awesomely.
The two of them made their own stickers for about 2 hours. With pre-packaged stickers, they'll sometimes draw a scene around the stickers, and sometimes do other creative things like build scenes, but usually the stickers are applied willy-nilly and are gone in a few minutes. Drawing the stickers was entirely a creative process. The best part is they haven't even stuck most of them on anything yet: they had more fun making them than using them!
|Pre-packaged stickers||$1.00 - $5.00||0.5 to 5 minutes|
|Homemade stickers||$0.05||30 to 120 minutes|
I had all the supplies already. All I had to do was tear off small sheets of wax/parchment paper, cut strips of tape, and apply the second to the first. If they were a little older, they could have handled that as well. The stencils are optional, of course, but I think it really lengthened the playtime by giving them ideas of what to base their stickers on.
This is yet one more reason I continually ask: "Why are we always buying all this shi… uh… 'stuff' for kids?"