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Anyone who is a parent or who has worked with small children will know that they revel in putting things up their noses. And down their earholes. Noses seem to be favoured, though, possibly for ease of access and commodiousness. That said, it's not a pastime that's limited to the under-12s. I know many an adult whom I suspect would be furtively cramming peas up their schnozz with joyous abandon were it not for the fear of reprisal and an alarmed reaction from an A&E nurse. And, you have to admit, there is something immensely appealing about wedging as many jelly beans as possible up your nostrils and then waiting in gleeful anticipation for your next sneeze. It's not a hobby generally approved by society, though, so those of us with sense stick to shovelling Maltesers in our gobs until the point where our cheeks bulge like a gorged hamster's and you can do little more than dribble a chocolaty mess down your chin. All of this is by roundabout way of saying that I don't think it's a good idea to encourage children to shove glue sticks up their nose. I'll explain further, shall I? On a day to day basis, I use a LOT of Pritt Stick. I stick worksheets into book, I do cut and stick activities and I help make glittery works of art. Pritt Stick is excellent for this: it's sticky but not overly so, it's low odour and it's solid which makes it easy for children to use. Recently, I ran out of my supply of glue sticks and started using Bostik's Big Blue Stick. It's terrible, and here's why... * It smells of marzipan. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE the smell of marzipan and all things almondy. So do most children. Naturally, the first thing they want to do with this glue is sniff it. Inevitably, they end up sticking it up their nose at which point I offer tissues and sympathy but maintain a safe distance. Also, you've got to wonder whether it's really a good idea to encourage children to sniff, um, glue. In the area where I work, we already have a number of children (under the age of 10) who bunk off at lunchtime, do a bag of glue and then saunter back to school, pupils like saucers and unable to achieve anything more than staring fixedly into the middle distance and occasionally smiling beatifically. I'm not saying the progression from glue stick to hardcore solvents is an automatic one, but I am suggesting that it's perhaps not a good idea to plant the idea in impressionable minds by making a glue product that smells edible and is a really attractive colour. Which brings me to... *It's blue. It's not that I don't like the shade or anything (in fact I'm wearing blue today) but when children see something that's a really attractive colour they want to plaster it everywhere. Hands, faces, clothes, tables. And, well, glue is a bit of a bugger to clean up because, by its very nature, it's rather sticky. Bostik claim the blueness is to enable children to see where they've applied glue so that you don't end up with loads of pages with the corners not stuck down. The reality is that children's ability to stick edges and corners is less to do with colour perception and more to do with the fact that children are naturally cack-handed. The fine motor skills that enable youngsters to manipulate a glue stick around corners and straight edges come with age and practice (which is why we give them plenty of cut and stick activities in the first place); blueness is neither a help nor a hindrance, just a gimmick. *But...I could have forgiven all of the above if it was a good glue. However, it's not. It's just not sticky. Children need to apply loads and even then whatever they're sticking in is more likely to adhere to them rather than their books. On the rare instances that something does get stuck, there's a pretty good chance that it will come fluttering out as soon as the glue dries. I feel that in the interests of fairness I should highlight a few positives. It's washable and won't stain clothes permanently. It's the same size as Pritt Stick and so easy for children to hold. That's it. And both of those good points can be achieved by Pritt Stick. I have no idea how much this cost as some eejit in work ordered it as part of the requisition. Trust me when I tell you that you wouldn't want to buy it anyway.