Teaching Kids to Use Glue Bottles

glue_bottleAfter much thought, I have decided to formalize my teaching of bottled glue. Why? Because we, as art educators, take it for granted. Glue is magical to my younger students. To yours too, I bet. So, how do you teach kids, from the youngest age, to respect this material? It is certainly one they will be using all their lives in one form or another so it’s an important skill.

Just a Little Dab


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Picking the process apart using this Working with Glue Worksheet, your students will get the opportunity to practice squeezing out small dots of glue. No secrets. This is a simple exercise using fine motor skills. (Okay, a gross motor too if you count shaking the glue down.) There is s section for them to practice putting dots in a straight line. In another section, they can use a square and a circle to practice following along the contour of an edge. Some skills in art simply do not transfer into adulthood; however, this one most certainly does.

Special Needs

For students with special needs or those whose fine motor skills need more of a tune up, I created another worksheet to help them out: bigger dots with wider spacing.

Glue Brands

I like Aleene’s Tacky Glue. (Look for the golden bottle.) This brand is thicker than Elmer’s which works great for certain projects. However, it can make it tiring (sometimes near impossible!) for my youngest students to squeeze out. To help with that, you can empty out some of the glue. The excess air space inside the bottle will make it easier to squeeze! Of course, once the bottle gets less than half full, your students may complain of cramping as they will have to repeatedly squeeze and shake down the glue! You just can’t win, right?

Elmer’s Glue is, of course, the standard for most art rooms. Like Coke, it doesn’t need advertising so I’m not going to belabor the point. Elmer’s provides a washable version for super easy cleanup at school or at home. Though, I find the washable version doesn’t hold up as well over time. Not sure if that is your experience, too. With a nod towards being environmentally-friendly, Elmer’s also offers a glue that is plant-based. Who knew?!


2 responses to “Teaching Kids to Use Glue Bottles

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