Simple Preschool Art Tools:  Glue (part one)! 

Glue. Plus kids.  Equals a mess.  It’s true.  But, glue plus kids also equals fine motor, creative, problem-solving fun!  In my opinion, glue should be available every day in a preschool classroom.  And in the homes of all preschoolers as well.  Yep–it’s sticky. But with lots of exposure and practice, the mess becomes managable.  Creativity and motor skills grow.  And your walls get covered in bright collage reminders of all that sticky fun! 

Glue Two Ways

Okay, so you’re taking my words to heart, and you want to add glue to the mix.  Yay, you!  So now, let me introduce you to one of the two glue methods I liked to use with preschool kids.  I’ll introduce the other method in a future blog post.  Each has its own benefits, and kids love them both!

Glue Sticks

If you’re really afraid of the mess, glue sticks might be right up your alley.  Out of the two glue methods I’m suggesting, glue sticks are definitely the less gloppy method.  And any mess that does occur is easily cleaned up with a little soap and water. 

I like glue sticks for a few reasons.  First, glue sticks are portable, so you can easily use them in various parts of the classroom, house, library, etc.  (Not to mention on trips to the park, coffee shop, or even on a plane…)

Second, taking the lid on and off involves fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.  The same is true for pressing the glue onto the paper with just the right amount of pressure, twisting the glue up and down within the tube, etc.. 

And finally, when you’re short on time with a project, glue sticks dry quickly, allowing projects to go home the same day they’re made. 

All that said, glue sticks are not my favorite.  That quick dry time happens because it’s such a thin layer of glue.  Which means that it doesn’t have the greatest stickiness factor, and it certainly doesn’t hold anything heavier than regular construction paper. And even that sometimes is too much for a glue stick (unless the kids are really glopping it on, in which case–why use a glue stick in the first place?)


But don’t let those points stop you from using glue sticks!  As I said, there are certainly lots of benefits to using them.  But you are going to be limited to what you can use them with.  Nothing too heavy (no rock collages with a glue stick, let me tell you!)  Things like feathers, lightweight wrapping paper scraps, tissue paper, very lightweight fabric scraps, yarn and string will all work well.  

For satisfactory results, be sure you show the kids how to twist the glue stick up just a little. Too much and they’ll just get a lump of glue that falls off their paper!  Show them that they can apply the glue directly to their big surface and then press their smaller scraps onto those glue marks. Or, they can apply the glue stick directly to the scrap, and then press the sticky side onto their big surface.   

A basket or bowl of cut up or torn scraps of lightweight papers smack dab in the middle of a table is so appealing to the kids!  (Just cutting and tearing those scraps up ahead of time is a great activity itself!) Alongside some larger pieces of paper and a bowl full of glue sticks, and you’ve got an ‘invitation to glue’ all set up.  Toss it all in a ziptop bag and you’ve got yourself a portable version of semi-sticky fun.  (Don’t forget to pack some wipes 😉 )

Now you’ve got some ideas for how to use glue sticks in your classroom–or on the go!  And if you’ve been following along, your art area toolbox is already stocked with lots of other great fine motor tools.  Join me next time for my favorite way to use glue with kids.  Warning:  it’s way messier!  (And way more fun!)


Oh, wait!  Speaking of portable, creative, fine motor fun–without any chance of a sticky mess–check out my felt board DIY sets!



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