Everyone seems to love stickers, though our design preferences change as we age. Or so most people claim. We freely admit we still like stickers with cartoon characters, like Transformers and My Little Pony, but you won’t be seeing us putting them up in any place visible. We’re adults, after all.
However, what this does prove is that our fascination with stickers started when we were kids, like most people’s. And kids today love stickers just as much as we did, which is why they can be amazing tools to help children with their learning and development in school.
When thinking of stickers and school, your first thought might be to use them as achievement rewards. IN fact, many parents use sticker reward charts at home to get kids to do their chores without complaint. So, they do work that way. Up to a point. We’ll address that a little later, though.
First, here are a few ways you can help children learn and develop in a fun way using stickers.
Improve Their Concentration
Kids get bored quickly. Their attention starts to wander and getting them to focus can be a challenge. However, you can use stickers to keep them focused, as well as helping to improve their memory.
For example, you can use stickers with their favorite cartoon characters to create a memory game. By getting children actively involved and using the representation of something they love, you can improve their ability to concentrate, as well as exercise their memory for better recall.
Help Them Learn Basic Math
Stickers are also a great way for children to learn basic math. In fact, you can start with preschoolers and teach them how to count and learn to read numbers using stickers.
For example, you can write out a number on different cards and get the children to apply the right number of stickers to each card.
Likewise, you can use stickers to help children visualize basic addition and subtraction. Instead of using the imaginary apples, use stickers instead to teach them how to add and subtract.
When using stickers that feature a character they love, you’ll find kids are much more likely to focus on the lesson because it’s fun.
If you take things a step further and turn it into a game, you can be sure that children will find it much easier to grasp the concepts you are teaching them.
Enhance Their Analytical Skills
Developing kids’ analytical skills is essential, and one easy way to do that is with stickers. You can ask children, for example, to sort stickers by color or shape. Or to group them based on other criteria, including patterns, size, and more.
These exercises are great for young children, but also older ones. Just remember to change the sticker designs based on the age of the children you are teaching.
For example, stickers featuring cartoon characters are great for pre-teen kids, but once they get into their teens, you’re dealing with an entirely different kettle of fish.
And yes, you can still use stickers to teach teens as well, as long as you get a little more creative with the designs. They might not admit to liking stickers – they might even moan and groan about the exercise – but if you use designs that appeal to them, you’ll have an engaged bunch of teens who are having fun and retaining the information you are trying to impart, even if they won’t admit it.
Develop Their Creativity
Stickers are a great way to help children develop their creativity, as well as giving them the confidence to express themselves. For example, you can use stickers to tell stories. Pick a character everyone loves, then show them how to build a story around that character, and use stickers while doing it.
Then, help them each come up with their own story. Just remember, you are only there to guide. In storytelling, especially at that age, nothing is wrong or impossible. Let their imaginations roam free and try not to influence the direction of their story. It doesn’t matter how silly or impossible it is.
Don’t forget that there are plenty of works out there that are cringe-worthy, and they were created by adults. Any movie by Uwe Boll comes to mind. We bet you that anything your kids come up with will be a million times better than that.
And the most wonderful thing is that by giving them free reign, by trusting them, you will be giving them the confidence to express themselves more freely when they are older.
Use Them As Rewards… with Caution
We mentioned that stickers can be effective rewards, but you have to be careful. There are at least two drawbacks to using stickers to get kids to do what you want them to do.
First, it creates a transactional relationship with the child. This is especially true if their parents are using the same system at home. The child grows up with the idea that they have to get something in return for doing something. The result of this transactional relationship is that it diminishes goodwill and a desire to help others just for the sake of it.
Another issue is that teachers and parents often end up relying on stickers too much. For example, you might be tempted to go beyond giving a sticker for stellar achievement to make sure kids do what you want them to do. For example, instead of giving stickers out just for great grades, you might think that a good way of motivating them to do their homework is to give them a sticker just for completing their work.
Unfortunately, by making stickers easy to earn, their importance diminishes. So, instead of motivating them, you end up with the exact opposite when they no longer care about earning stickers.
So, while stickers can be great rewards, and are motivational, you must make sure that children also learn the value of doing something for itself. And you also must make sure those stickers keep their worth as rewards, or you could end up with a kid who’ll always be asking what they’ll get in return whenever you ask something of them.
In conclusion, there are many ways to use stickers in school to help children learn and develop. And they can be used regardless of the age of the child. You can help them develop everything from their analytical skills to their creativity, and all you have to do is engage in a bit of creativity of your own.