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Welcome to Day 11 in the 30 Days to Transform Your Play series! Today we’re exploring clay. Clay is such a satisfying medium to create with. It is unique in it’s responsiveness and consequently is brilliant for self expression and imagination. Clay can also allow a child to be less afraid to make mistakes as it is repairable. Making mistakes is essential for creativity & can be an obstacle for some children.
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
― Sir Ken Robinson
Setting Up An Exploration of Clay
When introducing clay to a young child for the first time, try not to instruct the child on what to do with the clay. Clarify that it is for play and not something to eat, and let them explore. Initial clay experiences are best without tools or any loose parts, merely allow the child to explore the clays texture and mold it freely. It’s beautiful to watch children delight in the clays sensory and tactile qualities.
Clay is brilliant as an introduction to creating in 3D with it’s vast possibilities. As your child gains more experience with clay, you can include the baking of clay to create a finished piece. The functional and durable nature of finished clay is very satisfying for a child.
Lucy (24 months old) is most definitely in the process stage of clay. Cameron (4 years and 3 months) has begun to form 3D representations as well as creating more complex 2D expressions in rolled out clay.
Cam recently created a little snowman and we baked it. He loved being able to paint it and play with his creation. It was a beautiful process to watch unfold.
- clay (You can purchase this from great teaching resource stores or a local pottery supplier),
- a smooth working surface (we use a large re-purposed tile we got from Reverse Garbage),
- a mirror to place in front of your child, and
- a bucket of water and a towel for washing up.
- nature – stones, shells, sticks, leaves, nuts/seeds, flowers, small pinecones, etc
- modelling tools
- craft cubes
- glass gems
- wooden discs
- craft mirror tiles
- marbles (lovely to roll imprints into the clay)
- craft match sticks
Of course, just choose a few items and present them in neutral containers.
For a recent exploration, we simply included nature and I watch on as the children took similar approaches to the clay.