Materials for making mosaics with children

In this series of posts, I am hoping to show a progression of activities that can help young children have fun and get a grasp of the basics of mosaic making. Before I talk about Activity Two, here is a list of things you can use as ‘tesserae‘ (this is the mosaic term for the tiles or other objects you stick) for making mosaics with young children. Obviously, beware of choking / eating hazards with very little ones:

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  •  mosaic tiles (these are small and come in beautiful colours. You can pre-cut them further into strips / squares for older children who you think can work with the bit of sharpness this creates)
  • pebbles
  • glass nuggets
  • gummed paper shapes
  • foam
  • sweets – liquorice allsorts are particularly nice, you can varnish to preserve them
  • pasta shapes
  • nuts / seeds/ items from nature walks such as acorns, conkers etc…
  • beans
  • coloured / shiny / gift wrapping paper cut into small shapes
  • packaging – packaging from gifts / perfumes etc… is often very shiny and ideal for cutting into shapes to make ’tiles’
  • sequins
  • buttons
  • pom poms
  • hardware such as washers, blunt screws etc…
  • beads
  • ordinary tiles, pre-cut by you (creates some sharpness to the edge so monitor carefully)
  • aquarium gravel
  • garden gravel – you can get in various shapes and colours
  • sticks and twigs – can be cut with secateurs into smaller pieces
  • bottle tops (plastic and shiny milk ones for those of you who, like us, still get milk delivered to your door from the milkman!)

Activity Two

You will need a cheap picture frame – IKEA ones are ideal – PVA (white) glue and ‘tesserae‘ for sticking. Either stick with one type of tesserae or give your child a variety.

This is a very simple activity – guide your child to stick the tesserae around the edge of the frame. At this point, you can teach your child the importance of using enough glue. In normal sticking craft activities, children often spread the glue quite thinly. This won’t work with mosaic making as the pieces will get knocked off. I teach my children to make a ‘glue mountain’ (ie. a big blob!) to put their piece on. The glue will dry clear so don’t worry if it seeps out underneath.

Isabella has made a beautiful picture frame with small shells – totally unaided – for her granny’s birthday (sadly no picture, but it really was lovely). Toby did one too with help from mummy!

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