This morning my 4 year old son innovated his own activity! He asked me if he could take some red tape and stick it on the window. As the tape in question was easy-remove, I agreed, and gave him some scissors to cut a few pieces. The roll actually ran out pretty quickly but Zeph reminded me that we had some ‘Christmas tape’ (thank you Granny!).
This is a super simple activity with no set up and almost no clean up required. We work on our verandah doors quite regularly, using glass crayons, sticky back paper or turning it into a makeshift easel by taping paper to it. It’s great to work on a vertical surface to strengthen the elbow and shoulder joints; practice extending the wrist for better pencil holding position; promote hand-eye coordination; and give a very immediate sense of spatial concepts such as up and down. Using a large space like this also encourages actions that cross the midline of the body helping the left brain and right brain to work together for physical coordination in fine and gross motor skills, as well as reading and writing skills.
A window or glass doors
First we cut some pieces of tape and stuck them on the windows. Zeph is able to cut his own pieces while juggling the roll of tape, though the tape will often get stuck to itself and he will then sometimes require a bit of help getting it straight again. At nearly 19 months, this was the first time that Elly was allowed to really try proper scissors (as opposed to child safety scissors). Although he had a propensity to aim them into the fingers of his other hand, he did well with them, and was also able to cut off bits of tape by himself.
Next we unrolled loooong pieces, sticking them on as we went, all across and up and down the verandah doors. Then we got bits all stuck to each other and tried to untangle them again. We also stuck some pieces onto the arm of the chair for cutting practice. Finally, Zeph turned the activity into an impromptu small-world play by stretching tape from the glass doors to the toy table to make a bridge. Next he drove cars along it; tried sticking some on to hang above the floor (great opportunity to discuss how some were sticking and others were falling off depending on their weight); and got out his tow trucks for a rescue mission.
For younger kids, you might give them stickers to stick on instead of rolls of tape, for older children you could always challenge them to make shapes with the tape (square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, etc.), or they could attempt simple images (trees, flowers, a person, etc.)