Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kids Using Glue Guns?

It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose.

This time I don't want to talk about using something for a different purpose. I want to focus on letting kids use things that are usually kept from them.

Kids love to use real tools. Let's think about two of those "tools."

Glue Gun

Glue Gun (Brick by Brick)

One of my favorite "don't use that with kids" items is a hot glue gun. Teacher Tom was the first blogger/teacher that I read using these with preschoolers. I bought some and waited for the right opportunity to pull them out. 

We have made wonky frames at Christmastime for the past several years. I tell kids that the end of the glue gun is hot and the glue coming out of the end is hot. That if they touch it, it will be very hot. We put out a small bowl of water so if a finger gets into the hot glue, it can plunge directly into the water. A  couple of times that has happened. 

"It's hot," I say. "Yes," the child says. Then we go back to work.

I can't tell you how excited the kids are to use them. And to tell parents that they got to do it.

Teacher Tom repurposed my thinking and I'm not going back.

Glue Gun (Brick by Brick)


A stapler isn't the same as a glue gun. But many times kids are told to leave it alone, to not waste the staples.

But my kids love it when it is out. We will use lots and lots of them sometimes. But that's okay.

Stapling (Brick by Brick)

They will staple all four sides of their books and not be able to open it. But that's okay. (They've learned about the "permanent" nature of stapling, at least.)

I keep a stapler in my bag. If someone asks about it, I'll pull it out, even if I didn't plan for them to use it that day.

I've seen kids that are 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 that love to use the stapler. Sometimes, they surprise you - instead of making a fish book, I had a friend make a fish chain.

Fish Chain (Brick by Brick)

At some point, my thinking about staplers was repurposed. It's not just for adults; it's a tool for kids, too. 

What has changed in your thinking about certain items and kids? Have you repurposed your thinking about using glue guns, staplers, or other items with young kids? Tell me about it. Maybe my thinking needs some new challenges.


  1. What a great post! I buy scotch tape at the Dollar Store & let my kids use as much as they want in the art center. They love it and end up creating so much more than if I kept it off limits. And the look on their facea when I say they can use as much as they priceless!

    Learningattheteachertable.blogspot. com

  2. Great food for thought, Scott!!! We use staplers a good bit but I'm still working up the courage to use glue guns. Personally, I think most kids can handle it with proper supervision but I know many of the parents and admin may have reservations. We use a ton of tape freely though!

  3. We love tape, too. I brought tissue paper and tape from the dollar store and we wrapped small boxes and blocks. It was quite an interesting time.


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