Baby Play: Sticky Paper

After each of my baby storytimes, I include a Discovery Time free-play session that encourages parents to talk to one another and to interact with their children. I include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to 0-2-year-olds.

Finding multiple ways to use one item is a staple for library programming, and something I try to do with baby play materials. Libraries only have so much money and so much storage space (as do parents). Our regular storytime space has floor-level windows that work perfectly for foam shape water play. Our larger programming space, which generally works better for our large crowds, unfortunately does not have windows. However, a similar activity can be recreated with contact paper taped to the wall, creating a sticky surface.

Foam shapes (also tissue paper and construction paper scraps) stick easily to contact paper. Little ones quickly realize that some things are too heavy to stick, helping them experiment with cause and effect. Older toddles can also practice identifying colors or shapes.

How to Make Sticky Paper Play

Materials: contact paper, painter’s tape, scissors, objects to stick (foam shapes, construction paper, tissue paper, etc).


  • Lay contact paper on floor in front of wall. Cut strip to preferred size.
  • Tape paper to wall with side that peels off facing you.
  • Once secure, peel off one piece of tape at a time to remove cover for sticky part of paper. Put each piece of tape back as you peel so that the paper doesn’t fall off the wall.
  • Consider additional pieces of contact paper as your wall space allows.
  • Put out objects to stick to paper.

Cost: $10+

  • Contact Paper Roll
  • Foam (if creating foam shapes)
  • Construction Paper (if using as sticky object)

Time to Make: <5 of prep, 5+ minutes of time immediately before program

Pro-Tip: Make sure to plan the time to tape up the paper before your storytime. The contact paper can be hard to wrangle.

Conversation Starters

Start conversations as babies play with this tool by asking questions like:

  • What colors are you using?
  • What does the paper feel like?
  • Why did that fall off the paper?
  • What happens if you stick this to the paper?
  • Can you find some red paper?

Stretch Vocabulary

When talking with little ones, use big words and small words. The more new words a child hears, the larger their vocabulary will be when they start to learn to read.

Consider using some of the following vocabulary words when using this activity:




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