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10 Simple Pasting Activities for Preschoolers

Pasting is a skill that young children learn through practice. One of the best ways to teach it is to provide lots of opportunities to engage in free, child-led process art.

Pasting is one of the best fine motor activities. A child must learn to control a glue stick, squeeze a drop out of a bottle or spread the glue with a brush onto paper or an object.

Glue is a tool children use that can help them take materials and turn them into a work of art, thus helping kids to develop their creative side. 

It also happens to be great for eye-hand coordination.

Children at a classroom table, pasting things together with glue.

Here are some cutting and pasting activities for preschoolers, to add to your collection. Try them at home or at school and remember to focus more on the process of creating and less on what the product looks like.

One of the best activities for pasting is the collage, which can take many forms, but it is not the only way to offer gluing projects.

1. Paper Plate Faces

Provide paper plates, glue, scissors and various papers or materials. Ask kids to create a face.

This can be done in two-dimensional form by offering glue sticks and pieces of coloured paper, cut into shapes.

For a three-dimensional activity, provide liquid glue and various kinds of materials, such as buttons, wool for hair, pom-poms, natural items, coloured paper, etc.

Let kids have the freedom to choose which materials work best for which facial features.

Child making a face out of nature on a paper plate.

2. Nature Collage

Take a walk in the garden or in nature, collecting interesting items that can be added to this collage.

Begin with a sorting activity, separating the objects into baskets or small containers – leaves, twigs, sand, etc.

Liquid glue works best with this activity. Put some into a tray so that bigger items can be dipped into the glue. Provide a paintbrush to apply glue to flatter items.

Use a piece of cardboard as the base.

3. Theme Shape Picture

For this paper pasting activity, provide small precut shapes in different colours, including less common shapes, and a glue stick.

Either give kids complete freedom to create whatever picture they can imagine, or use your current theme – if you are using one.

Kids can be asked to make an “under the sea” picture, a castle or a train on the tracks.

4. Sand Picture

For this glueing activity, use sand or salt. Mix it with coloured tempera powder to give the sand a fun colour or make several colours.

Kids can use a glue stick or a liquid glue tube to “draw” a picture on paper or cardboard. Then, sprinkle the sand over so that it attaches to the glue.

Finally, shake the extra sand off the paper to reveal the sand picture.

Child making a sand art picture

5. Food Collage

Your kitchen has many valuable art materials, even though you may not realize it. Why not try a collage with food?

Here are some examples of foods to offer:

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Popcorn (popped)
  • Oats 
  • Pasta tubes

All you need is a solid board to make it on, some craft glue and some food items. Offer markers as well in case kids want to draw a picture and fill in parts of it with collage items.

6. Make a Puppet

Puppet making is a perfect cut-and-glue project for preschoolers. There are also many developmental benefits of playing with puppets.

There are different kinds of puppets you can try, depending on what supplies you have on hand, as well as the age of the children.

  • Paper bag puppet – This is the easiest to make as it only requires a paper bag, coloured paper, glue and scissors.
  • Sock puppet – A really fun puppet to make. Experiment with materials and objects for facial features, hair, etc.
  • Glove puppet – For this you’ll need an old glove (even a shower glove will do) and some fabric to make the puppet.
  • String puppet – The most complex of the four types, this can be made with string and toilet rolls.

It’s best to use craft glue for this project; however, you can use a glue stick or craft glue for the paper bag puppet.

Here are examples and instructions for making these 4 types of puppets

7. Texture Collage

Collect all kinds of papers, fabrics and objects to make a fun texture collage. Think beads, sequins, paper, tissue paper, serviettes, gift wrap, sandpaper, felt, velvet, lace, etc. 

The only limit is your own imagination. Give kids total freedom and lots of liquid glue to create this work of art. 

Always offer materials for collage in separate baskets or containers, so they look appealing and inviting. You don’t want to place a big, messy basket of random items in front of a child.

By presenting materials well, kids get to think about what they want to make, choose items they think will work well together and plan their art before beginning.

Here’s a complete list of collage materials.

Child creating a collage with glue.

8. Theme Collage

While a collage is most educational when it is free and not directed by an adult, you may want to integrate one into your current theme.

This can be done by choosing materials and objects that fit your theme. 

Here are a few examples of this:

  • Offer sand and shells for a beach theme.
  • Pick up different coloured leaves and bark for a fall/autumn theme.
Dad doing an art project with his children.

9. Colour Picture

To teach colour recognition, focus on just one colour for a collage.

Offer paper and markers/crayons in your colour of choice, as well as scissors and glue. For this one, don’t offer precut shapes, rather let kids cut what they need from the paper provided. 

Another way to do this is to encourage kids to find all the pictures they can in a magazine that are a certain colour, and cut and paste them onto their page.

10. Box Construction

Box construction is a wonderful activity during the early years and one that sparks symbolic play and construction play.

Large boxes may be difficult to paste together with glue, but if you paste smaller boxes together, or paste small papers and boxes onto one larger box, then this can be a great pasting activity.

Offer items such as cereal boxes, small pillboxes, rolls from paper towels and toilet paper, coloured paper, bottle tops, corks, egg boxes, paper cups, scissors and lots of white glue. You may want to offer tape as well.

This is a great way to recycle your waste.

Are you a preschool teacher or working in Early Childhood Education? Would you like to receive regular emails with useful tips and play-based activity ideas to try with your children? Sign up for the newsletter!


Total Learning: Developmental Curriculum for the Young Child”, written by Joanne Hendrick.

Paper plate face made with natural materials. Text reads 
'Pasting activities your preschooler will love".

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Joya Franklin

Thursday 20th of July 2023

Thank you so much all. So many doable ideas all put together in one place.

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 21st of July 2023

You're welcome, Joya!

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