Little K plus ClayPosted: May 15, 2011 | Author: Jena | Filed under: Artsy Fartsy, Clay | Leave a comment »
K’s little playgroup met at Old Sturbridge Village this past Thursday and we stopped at the potter shed where a man was making mugs. He generously offered all the children in our group a small ball of clay to take home. This reminded me that we had a whole process table full of clay in the studio. We started to reconstitute dry clay this winter and now it’s seems moist enough and ready to use. If you’d like some clay, the best place to get it around here in MA is Amherst Pottery Supply. A huge bag of clay should run you about $10, at least that’s what it cost when we bought our bag 3 years ago.
My playgroup friends ask how they should go about introducing clay to their young children, and this is what I suggest:
Let the kids explore the clay for the first time with no tools, bells or whistles. Little hands make the best first tools. Shape 3 lumps of clay into balls and leave them in the middle of a reachable table for the kids to discover. Use this VOCAB when playing: Pat, push, poke, pull, squeeze, pinch, roll, and whatever other actions you can think of to do with the clay.
The next visit, we might have some other tools, sticks, rocks, shells, Popsicle sticks or toothpicks. I might shape the clay differently…a huge coil, snake shape.
The third time I might put small balls of clay out, or one big hunk with holes poked in, set some water next to the clay, with a spray bottle or a paintbrush and cup of water. When you get clay wet, it gets very messy very quickly so be prepared. To store the clay, airtight container, wrapped in a wet towel, checking on it once in a while to make sure it’s not drying out.
K and I go into the Studio the night of our Old Sturbridge Village clay adventure, and I open the process table. He sticks his hands in to his elbows. He takes huge chunks of clay and plops into the open bin on the floor next to the table. He discovers some Popsicle sticks and toothpicks and throws them in for good measure, singing happy birthday when he realizes he can stand them up like candles. Then he sprays the clay with a water bottle found in the sink when washing hands, but the water bottle is too hard to squeeze for his little hands, so he says he’s all done.
Resources: Children, Clay and Sculpture by Cathy Weisman Topal
Rapunzel’s Supermarker by Ursula Kolbe