Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sticker activities have the potential to be instant entertainment for kids.  Whenever I'm at Diddams or the craft store and I see a deal on stickers, I buy them up because I know on some rainy day, I'm going to need an instant activity that interests them enough so they all down quietly.

However, if you know me, and you know Beansprouts, you know that it doesn't stop there.  I can't just sit down with the kids to do a sticker activity without completely over-analyzing the situation.  Each activity, each moment, has information locked away that the quiet attentive teacher can access.

This sticker activity was that moment.  And this post isn't about what the kids learned from the activity.  This is about what I learned...

Each child got one page of stickers and one paper.  They received no instruction as to what to do, except that a couple minutes in I set the marker block on the table and said they could add to the bugs' surroundings with markers if they wanted.  What did I learn about the children?

 Te was more into the story around the stickers, and drew the "water" where the bugs lived.  And she was the mommy bug.  Did I know she was at a level of representational art where she could draw with purpose (as opposed to looking at it afterward and labelling it)?  No!  But I do now, thank you very much Lakeshore clearance stickers.
 Le (on the end there) saw the water bug artist drawing and wanted to draw, too.   But there was no explanation behind it, nor should there be.  It's the process of creative expression that matters, not my adult need to extract forced meaning out of kids' art.

 One of these kids even left her bed (her bed! She never wants to leave her bed!) to come and do that activity.  I learned that her interest in doing activities with friends exceeds her desire for cuddling on her bed with her stuffed animals.  (This surprised me).

 The linear fashion in which Ro took her stickers from the page was SO in the sequence of the direction that we read, that I couldn't help being startled at her pre-reading skills.  She wanted to show me how many she used (no those are not my tiny little fingers holding that sheet).

 This child had a long attention span in this activity.  After she distributed every last sticker very evenly on her paper, she filled the back of the paper with her name (sort of a collage with the letters of her name).  Do you think she felt complete when she was done?  Absolutely. 

 This child was challenged with the fine motor task of removing and re-applying stickers.  How to help?  Offer him more small motor activities and make them fun.  Later that day we had clementines for snack that had a starter peel at the top and the kids were to peel the rest themselves.  They did it beautifully (so did the guy who had trouble with stickers!).  It was a great way for them to practice fine motor skills and be successful (and get the delicious reward at the end!).

 We had another linear thinker in the group.  Their brains are telling me that they are preparing to read.  Children are exposed via written language in the environment to linear and left-to-right thinking. That is because as a culture that's how we read (in some other cultures this is not the case).

 This child had a not-so-long attention span during the activity.  What will help him?  Supplying activities of interest that will hold his attention so he can practice long periods of focused involvement.

A lot of time people assume that I'm a preschool teacher because I "love kids" or am "patient".  Um, not really.  Too cliche : )  Of course the kids and I love each other, but this is not the gratification that rewards what I do.  I do this because I'm so inspired by what children reveal to me throughout the day.   Attentiveness to each moment unlocks the door to profound knowledge about each child, and what's going on underneath the behaviors and actions.  This sticker activity gave me great insights about the participants today.



  1. We love stickers, too. And I really enjoyed the insights you gained from this activity.

  2. The predictable constellations of stars suddenly and mysteriously appear as the darkness breaks. On the backdrop with sticker dot intentionality, one might luck a glimpse of behavioral secrets revealing themselves dot by luminous dot to the open eye delight of the patient stargazer.


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