As I admitted to the first time I offered Greysen glue, I was unsure how best to set up this material so that her learning would continue. I was fairly confident that she would enjoy gluing again, but how should I set things up to provoke a sort of next-step learning experience?
In their early years, keeping art materials simple and the tools few helps the child stay focused. Repeated experiences with the same art mediums gives the child time to consider different aspects of an art material. To create a familiar yet interesting experience, I offered her glue exactly as I had last time, but added a few drops of food coloring to add to the experience.
Greysen has just started to explore glue, and I’m not sure at this point what she understands or remembers about it. An atelierista that I studied under often remarked that a child’s first experiences with materials are predominately exploratory. They may handle the plaything or art materials in ways that are playful and superficial. It’s only after they become more familiar with the material that they come to get a sense of what it can do, and impart their ideas on what they want it to do.
Glue & Food Coloring
She immediately mixed the colors and continued spreading the glue. Just as soon the glue started to dry, she returned her full attention to her hands and the bits that had begun to dry on them.
Suddenly, an idea! I could see it in her eyes.
Maybe a comparison test?
Interesting to Who?
In retrospect, adding color to the glue was of only minor interest to her. She is primarily interested in what happens to glue when it dries. I have been guilty of adding what I think may be interesting elements to clay that are not related to what her interests are at all. She has, on more than one occasion, tossed them aside and proceeded as she wished.
I could give her things to collage and glue, but she is still interested in glue on its own. So for now, let’s do it again! I’ll give her more glue soon, but perhaps in a different way. A bottle maybe? I do know one thing for sure – I’ll hold off on the color for now.