In Montessori classrooms and homes, children often use real materials, real glassware, real utensils, real knives, real hammers and saws. The children are in a prepared environment that includes caregivers who provide supervision and support. We ensure the children are given the skills to gradually over time use real materials in a safe and age-appropriate way. We may provide alternative or safer versions like a knife with a rounded tip - but it's still a real knife.
I've previously used a real hot glue gun with my children at four years. I've closely supervised and no one has got hurt. However, I've been following MaryAnn Kohl's Process Art Facebook group and recently found out something huge. There are now low temp glue guns, some have been designed specifically for children. The low temp or ultra-low temp glue guns allow the children to safely create construction and art pieces with wood, plastics, and fabrics that wouldn't hold with white school or PVA glue.
I'm not the only fan of glue guns for young children, Teacher Tom shares:
"Anyone who has been a regular reader here knows that I'm a strong advocate for putting hot glue guns in the hands of preschoolers. They are such powerful tools, ones that give young children an opportunity to bring their 3 dimensional ideas to fruition with a precision and in a timeframe that perfectly suits their age."
"This is not the first time these particular kids have used the glue guns, but still the adults always emphasize the hazards, regularly pointing out that the tip "will burn you if you touch it," and helping them remember that the glue itself, for at least the few seconds after it comes from the tip is also hot. I'm always struck by how focused the children are while using these tools, concentrating their entire being on the task at hand, accepting responsibility for their own safety, working quickly before the glue re-hardens, but with a care for the safety of themselves and others."
I demonstrated how to use the glue gun, and asked my child not to touch the tip or the glue. This is a low temp glue gun designed for children (recommended for 5yrs+).
I personally waited until my children were four before introducing the glue gun. At four, I found my children had the self-control not to touch the glue. Here we've used the glue gun to make Easter-themed collages.
We can create so many things with a glue gun. I can't wait to introduce it into our woodworking area. Above is another collaging tray with mosaic tiles, wooden craft sticks, wood shapes, wood cubes and stars. The base is scrap wood. Paper plates or cardboard scraps might also make a good base. I would love to add some paint or thick crayons to this work too.
It's really as simple as point and squeeze. The child has to use the glue quickly though, or it dries and nothing will stick to it.
It's lovely to see what they create! ❤️
Resources: We use the Kids Gloo Glue Gun, from Spotlight (AU), it's recommended for 5yrs+, it's no longer available online. You may find other low-temperature glue guns suitable. For US readers, I've seen this low temp glue gun recommended for preschoolers, in a prepared supervised environment.
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