I’ve started going through some of my earlier ideas that I’ve had for my website and I came across this incredibly simple pretend play and art idea. I used this idea years ago with Ada and, after remembering it again, I pulled it out again a month ago for both kids. Basically all you need is masking tape and, optionally, markers. That’s it. With it you can create simple play bandages for your toys or even, if they’d like, your children themselves. Since it’s masking tape it can easily be peeled off most toys and be reused. I did make sure to warn my kids about placing the tape on their doll’s hair just in case it might get pulled out.
I created this idea, probably, when I was looking for fun but quiet things for Ada, then a toddler, to do while Zoey napped so by default I wanted this to last as long as possible so I ended up creating two elements to this idea. This meant when Ada got tired of the first she could easily go onto the next part and it kept her interested for longer. With my kids now older I gave them the whole picture, from the start, and they had greater agency over their play.
The first part of this craft was simply decorating masking tape that I had already attached to the bench so I setup the craft by simply cutting lengths of the tape and sticking it to the bench for Ada. I chose to use the bench as Ada could use it as a standing table, pull up a chair to be the same height as it, or sit on the bench beside the tape to color. I chose to pre-cut the masking tape pieces so they’d be easier to color than on the roll and Ada could peel them up easily and use them without needing any help. Additionally, I figured this would help the tape lose a bit of it’s adhesive power by attaching it first to the bench and then, hopefully, there would be less of a chance of a stuffed animal loosing patches of it’s fur. Anyway, I started out by attaching strips of the masking tape and, for wider bandages, overlapped two of them together. I also cut out some smaller ones and, with my pen, added heart outlines so Ada could easily color them in.
Part 1: The Art
Now that the masking tape is set out I had Ada grab her markers so she could start decorating them however she wanted. When Ada was younger I limited her to just the markers as they were washable and I didn’t have to worry about the wax from the crayons or something wrecking a toy.
When I pulled this out last month my kids were much older, at four and six, so I just gave them the masking tape, told them they could decorate it, and that they could use the decorated masking tape strips to make bandages for their toys. It was up to them to figure out the details and they immediately and excitedly pulled out their art trolley to begin.
Part 2: Pretend Play
Once the kid(s) are done decorating their bandages it’s time to doctor their toys. I love how open-ended this can be. If they’re having difficulties you could always grab a plastic toy and have it tell them what’s wrong and once they get going back carefully away to relax or work on something else. Back when we first did this Ada ended up doctoring her elephant by fixing it’s leg, tucking it in to sleep, and taking it for walks.
More recently, when we pulled this out again, the kids had just set up a fort so they ended up turning it into a hospital and moved all of their bandages over from the bench to the more portable wobble cushions. They had a blast and later, once they were done, it was easy for them to pull the masking tape bandages off of the toys and throw it out.
Both times my kid(s) did this they started out with the art side of the activity and ended with the pretend play; however, I could see this becoming a revolving circuit of play as the kid(s) use up the bandages and make more. We haven’t watched it in forever but I could see this being the perfect activity to combine with watching Doc McStuffin’s or some other doctor or vet related show.
I figured this was an incredibly simple idea that may keep your kids entertained for a little while, or days, depending on what they’re interested in. Let me know if you pull this idea out for your kids and, if so, what’s the coolest or weirdest thing they bandaged? Feel free to share in the comments below. I hope this made your life just a bit easier and your day is going well.
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