At The Art Spark we are constantly searching for ways to incorporate life-experiences into playtime. One of the most fascinating ways we have held the attention of toddlers and young children is with the magic of band-aids. A band-aid is a trophy, (I survived a terrible fall!) a sticker, a toy, and an instantaneous healer. When children are presented with the opportunity to use band-aids as a toy to magically heal an “injured” animal (usually an animal they paper mached or one of our many stuffed animals) they act as if they won the kid lottery. By allowing children to play with something they normally have to injure themselves to obtain, they “beat the system.”
Children experience what it is like to be on the other side of the band-aid. Instead of simply receiving the band-aid they are creating a story of their animal’s injury, and act as the healer & doctor with the all-powerful band-aid. They develop fine-motor-skills as they work independently to open and apply the sticky surface to their animals. Usually most animals end up with anywhere between 5 & 20 band-aids. (For many children, they apply band-aids until the box runs out.) Children feel an overwhelming sense of pride in applying the band-aids, healing their animals, but mostly in being able to use something that is usually reserved for adults.
Of course Band-Aids are just one of the many activity centers we offer for toddlers at The Art Spark. But what do they always gravitate towards? The Band-Aids. So next time you are wondering how to spend an afternoon with your toddler, splurge on a $3 box of Band-Aids and pretend their favorite stuffed animal needs some magical healing.