Collage: why it’s good for children

Collage is a simple craft activity that involves pasting items like leaves or photographs onto a sheet of paper.

Making a collage helps your child build fine motor skills. It’s also a fun way to encourage your child’s awareness of colour and texture. And if you talk with your child about his collage, it helps his language development too.

What you need for collage

  • Paper
  • Glue or paste
  • Scissors
  • A collection of collage items

Collage items are anything that will stick to your paper! You could try:

  • pictures cut out of magazines or catalogues
  • scraps of paper, ribbon or fabric
  • dried pasta, cereal or rice
  • sequins, glitter, tinsel or foil
  • natural objects like leaves, feathers and sand
  • pipe-cleaners, paperclips, ice-cream sticks or buttons.

Why not keep a ‘busy box’ of recycled objects and materials for collage and other craft activities? Just make sure that your ‘busy bits’ are safe – watch out for choking hazards and suffocation or strangulation hazards.

How to do collage

  • Work at a table, and keep the collage items in plastic tubs or on a tray. This can help you keep any mess under control.
  • Follow your child’s lead. She might want to make a picture with the collage – sticking down leaves and paper to make a forest, for example. Or she might just want to stick down the items in a pretty pattern. Let her choose, and give her lots of praise.
  • Sit with your child while he creates. Talk about what your child is doing, and ask questions. For example, ‘I love the way you’ve used the blue ribbon as the sky. Is that us on holiday last year?’ You might even want to make a collage of your own.

Adapting collage for children of different ages

Your younger child might manage to stick on only a few items to make her collage. She probably won’t be able to use scissors, and she might need help with glue. Praise all her efforts. Her attention span might be short, so put everything away when she looks like she’s had enough.

Many well-known artists use collage. Why not search online for images of collage artworks to inspire your older child?