31 - 33 Months

Let’s get gluing—DIY activities with developmental benefits that stick

Toddler playing with pom poms and popsicle sticks on paper

Combining glue and two-year-olds is not for the faint of heart, but hear us out 😉

Applying glue to one side of a shape and sticking it to another piece of paper may not sound like cognitive development, but it is. Between the ages of 24 and 30 months, your child may begin to be able to do this.
Learning to use glue develops hand-eye coordination and fine motor planning skills. It also helps your child understand the sensory concept of stickiness. Use a non-toxic glue, glue sticks, or white paste.

Here are some fun ways for your toddler to explore glue:

Dot-to-dot pom poms

Gluing with pom poms adds a new sensory element, and this activity involves color matching as well. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place small circle stickers on a piece of paper or use markers to make dots (butcher paper works well here so your child has plenty of space to work). 
  • Find some pom poms in the same colors as your dots. 
  • Give your child the pom poms and ask them to match the color of the pom pom with the color of the sticker or dot. 
  • Using a small bowl of liquid glue and a brush, your child can glue each pom pom to its matching dot.

Glue Station: Liquid glue + paper shapes or scraps

Liquid glue is trickier to use than a glue stick. To make it more manageable, give your child a paintbrush, which will make gluing feel a bit more like painting. Here’s how:

  • Make a pile of paper scraps or shapes cut from construction paper.
  • Squirt a small amount of glue from the bottle into a small bowl.
  • Give your child a small paintbrush brush for applying glue to the scraps of paper.
  • Your child may want to explore the stickiness of the glue with their fingers or dip the paper directly into it—using a small bowl helps contain the mess.
  • Gluing is deceptively complicated—your child will most likely need your help, especially when bits of paper start sticking to them 🙃
  • You can also do this activity with a glue stick. Twist the glue stick just enough so that a tiny bit of glue sticks out the top—too much, and the glue will break off. Your child may want to try twisting the glue stick up and down, too.

Sand or Salt Art

Young child holding a piece of paper with glue on it and pouring salt on top.

Touching, squeezing, and sifting gives your child a direct experience with texture. You can use sand or salt since both make a great contrast to glue—sticky versus gritty and wet versus dry.

Here’s how to make sand art:

  • Set up a large bowl of sand or salt.
  • Give your child the glue bottle and invite them to squeeze some glue onto a smallish piece of thick paper or cardboard in any shape they want. 
  • Give your child a spoon and let them pour plenty of sand or salt onto the glue. 
  • When the glue is coated, show your child how to pick up the paper or cardboard and pour the excess sand back into the bowl. 


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Posted in: 31 - 33 Months, Fine Motor, Playtime and Activities, Cognitive Development, Child Development

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