Designing with DIY colored glue in preschool

In my previous post, I shared how we explored glue bottles and brushes. Although we do use the small glue jars with brushes for some activities, we will most likely use squeezable Elmer’s glue bottles more often…

To introduce the process of using the squeezable glue bottles, we invited the children to make their own designer glue collages…

I had lots of partially filled glue bottles left over from last school year so Mrs. Courtney prepared the colored glue by adding Colorations liquid water color (purchased at Discount School Supply) to the partial bottles of glue and then used a skewer to mix the glue and color up a bit…

Once the glue bottles were all filled, they made a very inviting process for the children to explore…

The canvas we chose to use for this process was a styrofoam plate which gave the children plenty of room for designing but also gave a simple and somewhat natural boundary as to how much glue the children should use…

We did not have to tell the children to stop or to not use too much. Instead, we invited the children to use all the colors and allowed them the freedom to explore the glue, the flow of glue, and the squeezing process…

Every child enjoyed this experience and took their time exploring the glue bottles and all the beautiful colors on their paint canvas…

And every child approached this process in their own way. Some children preferred to add glue on top of glue or color on top of color….

While other children preferred to spread the colors around their paint canvas…

Along the way, the children would find that the glue was hard to squeeze or that the lid had been closed. This process invited a little problem solving and the opportunity to discuss why the glue might not be coming out as they expect it to…

This was a wonderful way to introduce and explore the gluing process. The children were able to freely explore and create while we were able to talk with the children about how to manage the use of the glue bottles…

As the children continue to use the glue bottles throughout the school year, we will begin to draw on their experience and help the children to regulate the flow of glue and the amount of glue needed for each new process…

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To see more ideas on how to use glue, check out these ideas on Pinterest!

By |2012-09-01T09:00:24+00:00September 1st, 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. Anne Nowicki September 1, 2012 at 11:51 am - Reply

    This is such a cool idea. It sounds like it would be less messy than painting, but just as fun and just as colorful. I’m always looking for fun creative ways to teach and explore new skills. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Montessori Way September 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Ms. Deborah,

    I simply love your ideas, I am a KG teacher, and your posts are really helpful. I get updates on facebook too.

    Thank you for helping new teacher like me.

  3. stephanie September 2, 2012 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    My 3 year old likes nothing better than the glue bottle right now. I love this idea and will do it with him this week! Thanks!

  4. Tara Mouk September 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    I’m wondering if adding paint to the glue would work the same?? Also, what did they look like afterwards?? I can imagine the kids loved these.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

      Hi Tara,
      You could try adding food color or paint to the glue. I have tried food color and it worked well – I haven’t tried paint. The colors turned much darker after the glue completely dried. I haven’t peeled them off the plates yet to see how they will look in light. Going to do that today!

  5. Dawn September 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    We recenly did this with glitter glue on the foam trays from fruits and meats and then once it’s dried you can peel it off the foam tray and hang it in the window or anywhere you’d like. My 3 year old did some little lines or splotches or whathave yous so we peeled them off and she put them on contact paper as a window decoration.

  6. Momma's Fun World September 8, 2012 at 11:26 am - Reply

    LOVE colored glue we did this with kool-aid to add some fun smells to the glue.

  7. […] to children. I even offer glitter glue pens in my home writing center, Do-a-Dot markers, and even bottles of colored glue. Offering a range of materials will not only keep children interested but any of these listed help […]

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