Sticky paper shape tracing in preschool

Often times, when I watch my preschoolers try and trace an object, I find them struggling to hold the object in place.  One idea to introduce the tracing process to young children is to have them trace objects on the sticky side of contact paper…

Set out contact paper, sticky side up, on a table.  It will be best to tape or secure the edges of the contact paper to the table so it doesn’t move around or pop up as the children trace their shapes…

Invite the children to firmly press the flat side of a cookie cutter or stencil on the contact paper then use a marker to trace the shape…

We used permanent markers to trace our shapes.  I know that many of you are not too sure about using permanent markers and you will need to use your best judgement. However, I must say that we used permanent markers all throughout our school year and the children did a wonderful job using them, taking care of them, and not writing all over themselves in the process…

Many of my students decided it would be fun to color the insides of their shapes. How the children chose to explore this process was left completely wide open…

A simple way to help hold the tracing tool in place while working on those fine motor skills!

Please note: The use of permanent markers should not be used if they emit a strong odor at this can make them not feel well. This activity may work with other kinds of markers or crayons but I have not tried it yet. Our markers did not have a strong odor.

By |2012-08-14T07:00:15+00:00August 14th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Trisha @ Inspiration Laboratories August 14, 2012 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Brilliant. My son was trying to trace a plastic egg yesterday and was getting so frustrated because it kept moving on him. I’ll try this with him. 🙂

  2. Julie Locke August 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Wow – I love the contact paper idea for tracing. In fact, you really do have a lot of super ideas for contact paper that I want to try – which is why I ordered a big roll of it last spring to use this year. Thanks.

  3. Amber August 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Oh, the times I think…”why on earth didn’t I think of that.” 🙂 Great idea! Will definitely use this with my one preschooler who will be left this fall.

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