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Saturday, 01 January 2000

How to Make a Great Collage

Written by  Esther Boylan Wolfson

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Appropriate for ages:
Two and Up

Time needed:
10 minutes and up



1. Set up a child-friendly collage tray.

* I suggest purchasing a plastic tray divided into a few sections with a circle in the middle.

* If you don't have a chance to buy a tray, you can take a regular tray and place three or four non-breakable bowls on it in a circle, with a space in the middle. (If you have disposable plates and bowls, you can glue the bowls onto the tray.) Put a small glue container in the middle.

2. Choose your materials.

You do not need to buy anything special. You can use:

* Colored construction paper cut into different size pieces.
* Leftover wrapping paper.
* Bits of yarn.
* Small rocks collected from outside.
* Sandpaper
* Tissue paper that comes wrapped around presents.
* Multi-colored beans.
* Pieces of an old sponge.
* Old pieces from games you no longer use and will otherwise throw away.
* Pieces of ribbon

These are some suggestions. Use your imagination. Choose three items for your 2-3 year old and 4 items for your 4-5 year old. Try to choose items with different textures. If two of the items are different colors of construction paper then for the third choose pieces of a sponge or sandpaper.


There is no end to the number of interesting collages you can make with your child.

1. Place the materials in the bowls and put a small container of glue in the middle. Pick a piece of paper for your child to glue the materials to. Plain construction paper is fine.
2. Let your child glue the materials to the paper.
For a very young child, you can put the glue on the paper first and then have them put the pieces onto the parts with glue. Older children can put the glue on themselves. A very young child requires supervision. Try to encourage them to vary the items they choose to glue. Once they get the idea you can leave your child at this activity and have them call you when they are finished.
3. Let the collage dry and hang it up. Let your child know you are proud of his "work."

This is an activity that can be repeated over and over again. As long as the materials in the collage dishes change regularly, most children never get tired of this activity. Keep an eye out for new items that might be interesting for your child to glue. If you get a delivery packaged in Styrofoam balls, put them in the collage tray and tell your child "Do you want to see something special that I put in the collage tray?"


Here are some ways of making a collage that are more challenging for your older pre-school child.

* Help her to make shapes, letters or numbers out of glue and paste the collage pieces into these shapes.
* Children love to write their names in glue. Write out your child's name in glue or help him to do it on her own. A kindergarten child can often do this without a parent helping. Have them glue the collage pieces in the shape of their names.
* A different collage method that older (4-5) pre-school children sometimes enjoy is to have them "plan" the collage before they make it. Have your child design the collage with only the materials and no glue on the paper. Suggest that she think if that's the design they want and only then bring out the glue.

Last modified on Sunday, 26 August 2012 11:18
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Esther Boylan Wolfson

Esther Boylan Wolfson

Esther Wolfson , director of our Early Childhood Development Center is an Early Childhood Specialist, who received her BA in English Communications from Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University and an MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, both in New York City. Esther worked as a pre-school special education teacher for seven years. Three of those years were spent working in a school for language delayed pre-schoolers, which is her area of specialty. Another special love of hers is cooking with young children. One of her most enjoyable projects was developing a program for cooking with pre-school children for three special education programs. Esther and her husband Myles have three boys aged eight, five and two-years-old. While her three lively boys and her work at WholeFamily, keep her quite busy, in her spare time (if she ever has any!) she is an avid reader who also enjoys creative writing, exercising and swimming.

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