Glue:  The Messy Way!

Preschoolers love to play, and when they play they build so many important early learning skills!  Now, not all kids like to get sticky, and if you’ve got some of those sweeties in your life, you’ll definitely want to check out this post, and this one, too. 

But today, we’re going all out sticky!  So put your Get Messy hat on and read on for gluey, sticky fun–and how that fun builds important bonus skills…

Glue:  The messy way.

Hopefully you’ve been following along, and you’ve already read about a less-messy way to use glue.   But now let’s talk about my favorite ways to provide glue.  Keep in mind that the more the kids are able to explore these tools freely, the more they will master them.  And the less mess there will be!

Plus, making a mess is a GOOD, fun thing.  And learning how to clean up that mess builds independence, confidence, and competence.  All of which boosts self-awareness and self-esteem.  (Suddenly you love the sound of this, right?!)

Glue Spreaders

So this is really my favorite.  Rotate various small containers of glue, and various types of tools with which to spread that glue.  I love how this method requires so many different skills:  dip the spreader; scrape off any extra glue; drizzle or spread; replace the spreader; apply the collage material…  Make sure your containers have lids to keep the glue usable.  I always soaked my spreaders in a cup of water each night. The next morning all they needed was a quick rinse and they were ready to go for the day!


Glue Bottles

Ahh, glue bottles!  But actually, the best are not the pre-filled bottles you find at the store.  The tips of those always tend to get clogged and broken.  I much prefer these Nancy Bottles!  They’re easy to refill, the tips don’t clog, and they’re also so easy to adjust the flow.  As the kids twist the lids open and closed, squeeze the bottles with the right amount of pressure, and position their bottles over the paper in the right spot, they build fine motor and eye-hand coordination.  These things were a must in my classroom, and in 15 years I didn’t need to replace them, even with daily use!!  (No affiliate links for me–I really do love everything I recommend!)


Some of my favorite containers and spreaders: any paint brushes,  ziploc cupspaint cups (nice size for long-handled spreaders) and absolutely without a doubt, these mini spatulas.   My favorites are the mini spreaders because there are no loose hairs getting into the glue, and they are super easy to keep clean.  If you don’t get a chance to wash them, you can just peel off the dried glue. (Which I love to do.  Obsessively.)


Keeping It Clean

So now your kids are going wild with creativity, confidence and independence as they explore and master all these glue tools! 

But what about all the drizzles, the inevitable spills, the sticky fingers and floors and tables?!  

Two words:  sponges and place mats.  Get yourself some plastic place mats and sponges at the dollar store.  Keep a stack of place mats in clear sight at your art table, and show your kids how to get one before they do any gluing.  Wet your sponges each morning and keep them on a small plate at your art area.  I always had a special Small Group time at the start of the school year to show the kids how to use everything–the spreaders, the bottles, the sponges and the place mats.  That quick intro sets everyone up for success and fun!

No more excuses.  It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s good for your kids.  Go have some gluey fun!!  

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Not convinced?  Kids in your care just don’t like getting sticky?  There are tons of other ways to build creativity and fine motor skills.  Felt board sets, for example! (And woo hoo!  Language and math skills are thrown in, too!)  Go take a look at all the adorable felty goodness… (Click those bugs!)

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