Much has been said about the possible negative effects of any reward system such as stickers, when encouraging good behavior in a child. This article is not about that.
Instead, reward systems aside, we would suggest that you introduce your child to the wonderful world of stickers even from an early age – not so much as a prize to work towards, as a means of enlarging their understanding and experience of the world and developing their fine motor skills.
Stickers are small and delicate. Even large stickers require careful handling, or they will get torn down the middle. Children will learn to use a neat pincer grasp with the tip of their fingers, and control their strength so as not to crumple or tear the sticker (graded finger control).
Besides the therapeutic benefits of stickers, there are many ways in which stickers can help your child’s development. As an educational tool, they can offer a fun and engaging way for your child to learn the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes, and plant and animal names. You can get a wide range of appropriate stickers from Popular, Art Friend or even your local convenience store, and integrate them into home-learning sessions with your child.
1. Alphabet order
Ask your child to arrange the alphabet in the correct order (A-B-C-D-E-F-G), making the phonic sound for each along the way.
2. First letter sounds
Cut out pictures from old magazines and stick one picture per letter on the pages of an exercise book or notebook. Eg. an apple on one page (for A) and a butterfly on another (for B). Then ask your child to stick the correct letter on each page, that corresponds to the sound of the first letter of that word.
3. Animal names
Use a set of animal stickers to teach your child each one’s name, as well as the sounds it makes. You can even act out those animals, or find youtube videos of them in their natural habitats. The possibilities are endless, really.
Include stickers into art times, and give your child free rein choosing which stickers to use and where to paste them. Stars, hearts, even round circles and blank name tags – all these are great raw materials to spark off your child’s creativity!
- Pretty patterns
Arrange the stickers in patterns, either laterally (across the page), vertically or in circular fashion. A great way to decorate cards and such for your loved ones and friends.
- Mixed medium fun
Let your child stick the stickers any-old-how, higgledy piggledy, across the paper. Let him also dabble with other sorts of art mediums, like paints, stamps, ribbon, glue and bits of fabric. The only rule? There are no rules.
Lastly, stickers are a great way to empower your child by allowing him the control of a particular environment, albeit a small one. You can easily print out scenes from templates or images online, eg. ocean, forest, house, or zoo. Then give him a corresponding set of stickers and his colour pencils or crayons, and let him design his landscape just the way he likes it. So the eagle might be on the ground instead of up in the air, or the shark might be jumping out of the water even though it can’t fly. That’s ok. Leave the science lesson for later. Even little exercises like these can do wonders for boosting a child’s morale and self-esteem!
Here are some themes you can easily find stickers for:
- Underwater – sea creatures stickers
- Forest – flora and fauna stickers
- House – furniture stickers
- Zoo – animal stickers
- Restaurant – food stickers
- Supermarket – fruit and vegetable stickers
By Dorothea Chow
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