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 develop your child’s awareness of colour and texture. And if you talk with your child about their collage, it helps their language development too.
What you need for collage
- Glue or paste
- 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
- 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. They might want to make a picture with the collage – for example, sticking down leaves and paper to make a forest. Or your child might just want to stick down the items in a pretty pattern. Let your child choose, and give them plenty of praise.
- Sit with your child while they create. 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’ or ‘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 or children with diverse abilities
Younger children might manage to stick on only a few items to make their collage. Your child probably won’t be able to use scissors, and they might need help with glue. Praise all your child’s efforts. Their attention span might be short, so put everything away when your child looks like they’ve had enough.
Many well-known artists use collage. You could search online for images of collage artworks to inspire older children.
All children learn and develop through play. Our articles on play and autistic children and play and children with disability are great starting points for adapting this activity guide for children with diverse abilities. You might also like to explore our activity guides for children with diverse abilities.