Who doesn’t love playing with glue? I have a strong memory of covering both my hands in glue with my best friend at summer camp, and then seeing the look of horror on our counselor’s face when we mischievously started peeling off our own “skin.” I’m not advocating for that kind of behavior here, but my point is that there are endless possibilities for creating and playing with glue: it can be used as an adhesive or a paint, it can be squeezed or dripped, and it has a delightful (and for some, disgusting) sticky quality that is fun to touch…and sometimes peel. There are lots of recipes out there for home-made glue, but I love good old-fashioned Elmer’s School Glue. It’s non-toxic, inexpensive, and works really well.
- When playing with glue, children can learn about viscosity, and how one object can adhere to another, sometimes permanently.
- Children will also make choices about which objects they want to use, where to place them, and how many to include on the paper, helping them experience decision-making skills and autonomy in a lovely way (rather than throwing an “I want THAT cookie” fit in the grocery store).
Set-up: 5 minutes (after materials are gathered and/or purchased)
Activity: 5+ minutes, depending on the child’s ability, interest, distractions, etc.
- Disposable Bowls
- Small objects for gluing (i.e. feathers, pom-poms, leaves, macaroni)
- Squeeze enough glue into a disposable bowl to fill its bottom. (After the glue dries, you can use the bowl again for another gluing activity. Hoorah for recycling!)
- On your own paper, show your child how to dip an object in the glue and place it on the paper. Hold your paper sideways or upside-down (depending on the weight of the object) to demonstrate that the glue is holding the object in place. Next, encourage them to try, and ask them what they’re doing and/or comment on their process by saying things like, “You’re dipping the noodle in the glue and dripping glue on the paper. And now you’re placing it on the blue paper.”
- Alternatively, give your child a small glue bottle and show them how to squeeze it on the paper. They can then place the objects on the small dot or pile of glue. This is a great option for kids who don’t want to touch the glue, and also helps children understand the physics of squeezing a bottle to release a liquid.
Another idea for the preschool crowd: Writing with glue as a preschooler