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::: more than just glue gun fun

After the children had fun threading the beachy drift wood, we asked them if they would like to use the wood to make some sculptures using the hot glue gun.

While these children had never handled a hot glue gun before and were a little concerned as to whether five year old childrenΒ were in fact “allowed to handle such things” …

it didn’t take too long before they were hooked!

We have become proud advocates of putting all sorts of tools into the hands of children.

Suddenly this activity went from being about creating something with a hot glue gun …

to a lesson in empowering five year olds …

to celebrate their confidence

trust themselves and believe in their capabilities!

When our friend Tige had finished playing he ran straight up to his Dad and said …

“Look what I was allowed to do Dad! I used a glue gun all by myself with no one else touching it. They just watched me and didn’t even help!”

Talk about engaging boys!





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11 Responses to “more than just glue gun fun”

  1. Tom says:

    More ideas for those little pieces of driftwood. Thanks a bunch!

    ::: Any excuse for a walk by the river hey Tom! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  2. Louise says:

    Great ideas to teach such important lessons. πŸ™‚

    ::: Thanks Louise … It was so powerful and such a good feeling for ALL of us. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  3. Kellie says:

    I don’t own a hot glue gun but I’m seeing a reason to rush to Spotlight now. Thanks.

    ::: Sounds like a good plan Kellie! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  4. Snagrom says:

    I’ve been watching and reading you (and Teacher Tom) doing things with the glue guns with your kiddies. I had a go at giving my 4.5 year old a glue gun and it was disastrous. I explained how it was hot and she had to be very careful and she did very well for about 10 minutes after which time I took my eyes off her constantly and just sat next to her occasionally glancing at her. Well not too long after that I heard the cry and wiped off the glue on her fingertip before racing her to the tap. Ouch!
    I seriously wonder how you guys manage with a table of kids. Are your glue guns not so hot, or your glue not so runny, or is it just that you are watching the kids like hawks ALL of the time? Unfortunately I think it will be a while before either my daughter or I get up the courage to give it another go.

    ::: Oh Snagrom we’re sorry to hear you and your daughter had that experience. It often only takes one bad experience to put us all off! Certainly our glue guns are hot although we’ve have heard you can get cool glue guns but we’re not familiar with them.
    When we introduce anything ‘dangerous’ to our children we certainly have a talk about what those dangers are and demonstrate the working appliance to the children. We also have the advantage of many children learning together and from each other. We find that not only are we teaching the children, but they learn from, and teach each other. If a child was going to touch the hot part of a glue gun and an adult didn’t see it coming generally the children around (and there is always children watching and waiting for their turn) will pipe in STOP! When we first introduced glue guns last year one girl did touch the end of the glue gun … she was one of these children who just had to find out for herself … and the children around her soon learnt that YES it really is hot, so after that no one else was tempted. I guess it is a lot about supervision. Certainly we watched very closely but not in an inhibiting way although we are constantly reminding the children of the dangerous parts. We also have a bowl of water on the table so that if the children did touch the glue while it was still hot or brush their fingers across the tip of the gun they new they could dip those parts straight into the water. As for the consistency of the glue. We have found that glue bought from Bunnings Hardware (while being a lot more expensive) appears thicker and less runny that glue sticks bought at the $2 shops.
    While we totally understand your hesitance to try again perhaps you could try working with larger bits and pieces and glue them onto a board as opposed to trying to connect smaller items to each other … this may just give you and your daughter your confidence back … Good luck Snagrom! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. Sarah says:

    This was wonderful! This is exactly what I want for my own son – to empower him and give him confidence in his own abilities. (Right now he uses “I can’t!” a lot.) Thank you for such a great example.

    ::: You’re very welcome Sarah. This is an article I’ve had filed away which you might find helpful Sarah. It’s titled – Ten ways to gently respond when a child says “I Can’t. You might find it helpful … “http://attachmentparenting.org/blog/2010/09/20/ten-ways-to-gently-respond-when-children-say-i-cant/ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. love this project!

    ::: Thanks PLP … so did they! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. Scott says:


    What other reasons are needed for glue guns? πŸ™‚

    (And, after all, they are a little dangerous!)

    ::: Right again Scott AND boys and danger DO go hand in hand! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. Snagrom says:

    Thanks for the reply to my post. I will give it another go in a couple of weeks with, as you suggest, some bigger objects, a bowl of water nearby and constant supervision this time. The glue I have been using has been the $2 shop stuff which is fine for me but I’ll buy some Bunnings stuff and see if that makes life a bit easier for my little one. Thankyou!

    ::: You’re welcome Snagrom … On more idea is you make something while your daughter watches. If she sees you manage okay she might be keener to have another try … Good luck and please let us know how you go. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  9. Michelle says:

    I like the idea, but a word of caution: I’ve worked with glue guns before and, of course, have been burned before, but never very bad. The other day, I got out a glue gun I hadn’t used in a long time. My 5-year-old wanted to use it, but I wanted to try the project first – and was glad I did. I touched some hot glue (not the tip) and was burned so bad it left a blister. Neither of us wanted to use the glue gun after that, and we finished the project with glue sticks instead. I think some guns must get hotter than others. Find out just how hot yours gets before you give it to your child. As for me, I think I will put that particular gun in the trash.

    ::: Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! You poor thing Michelle! Yes we do have to be extremely careful using the hot glue guns … regardless of our age. We have heard of cool glue guns but haven’t seen them around. Perhaps we will look into them. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  10. Mary Faulkner says:

    We use cool melt glue guns at kindergarten.If you get a bot of glue on you it doesn’t burn like hot glue tends to do.You can still get an ouch but it is over pretty quick. Ice packs tend to make it all better.

    ::: Cool melt glue guns Mary? Hmmm … we’ll look for ‘cool melt’ and see if we can find them. THANKS!

  11. Snagrom says:

    Well cool melt guns sound sort of like the one I bought several months back. After a not so great experience with my daughter I bought a smaller one at Bunnings. I think it was an Ozita (or something similar sounding) as were the glue sticks I used. When I compare how easy it is to burn yourself on the new little one the difference is astounding. I volunteered at my daughter’s pre-school today and the project I took in was sock puppets. As you can imagine there were lots of little things glued on the socks. I did take the precaution of having the kids press the eyes/swords/tails and so on with a pop-sickle stick however the glue is really pretty harmless. The gun was on for about 3 hours straight and it never really got hot enough to burn unless you’d emitted a huge dollop and stuck your finger all in it straight after it came out. I did have one boy with “burns” but at a small blister it was very minor. And I discovered that he got them because he kept using his finger to pull free the stick from the glue!

    Anyway, the kids loved doing the puppets. I loved the ninjas, superhero spider, mermaid princess, birds, happy face, Mum princess and more. What imaginations.

    So I just wanted to say thankyou for the advice as I’m hoping that I’ve inspired my daughter’s pre-school teachers to consider using some of these real tools.

    Oh and I just wanted to add that the kids have a long memory as I last did a project with a glue gun at least a couple of months ago. Many of the kids remembered on the kids burning himself on the palm (ouch!!!) with my old glue gun and runny glue. They knew they had to be careful. Now I just need to work up the courage to leave them at it alone. I can’t really see that happening. I know hovering is bad but I feel so badly responsible when some kid goes home so sad from a burn.

    ::: Snagrom thanks for sharing your day with us. I think the cool glue guns sound like a great alternative to the hot glue guns and it sounds like your children had a ball using yours! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚