Sensory Gluing Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers

My toddler loves what she calls “sticking art” which basically involves a lot of glue and anything else she is given. I was having a clear out of the cupboards and found a number of out of date dried pulses and grains. Rather than throw them out I thought it would be great to make some pictures with them.

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Toddler gluing lentils and couscous onto card in sensory art idea


Getting Started With The Sensory Gluing Activity Using Grains and Pulses


For this activity I used: 

  • Split peas, green lentils, bulgar wheat, polenta and giant couscous and put each one in a different bowl. You could use any dried grains or pulses including rice, but I would recommend against pasta or beans because they tend to fall off easily. The polenta worked really well because it filled in all the gaps.
  • PVA glue 
  • Glue spreader
  • Card

The key to getting a good picture is lots and lots of glue. The more glue used the more will stick on. I also suggest using card rather than paper to stop it wrinkling when wet.

For younger children this is as much about feeling the different textures and seeing the different colours as it is about the end result.

Set up showing bowls of grains and pulses, glue and card with a toddler ready to go

Basic Gluing Activity (2 years up)


Give them the card, bowls of grains/ pulses and glue to see what they create. Younger children might need help with getting enough glue on the card. When they have finished carefully pick up the card and pour off all the excess into a bowl. This can then be reused. 

Toddler taking handfuls of split peas to stick on the card

End result of basic sensory gluing activity

Advanced Gluing Activity (3 years up)


Draw a pattern or picture on the card to encourage the child to put a different texture in each section. If you are feeling arty you could draw a picture with large shapes rather than the random design I went for. 

Older children (5 plus) will also enjoy this activity, why not suggest they draw their own design before filling it in?

Toddler reaching for more grains to stick on her picture

Card divided into segments with different grains in each section

The result when excess grains were poured away from the advanced sensory gluing craft


Any left over grains can be kept for other play activities.

Sensory Gluing Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers with grains and pulses

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