Video 5: Something from Nothing? Clay!

There is always something that comes from pounding, watering, mushing, and squeezing clay.

The child in the video has been developing some interesting stories with his made-up character, John The Mouse. He ended up making a house for John The Mouse, with a bed on the roof.

This episode started with a clump of clay that started as a ball, morphed into a car and ended up as a house. The time for exploration was crucial for learning. Children need time to explore, to reinvent and, in this case, to figure out how to make clay soft, or how to use it when it is dry; how to cut pieces of clay from a 25-lbs slab using dental floss; how to come up with something from nothing.

Children, when they find themselves in an environment that is set up with optimal conditions for learning, are constantly using scientific thought to explore. They use a sensory motor approach and practice using their small motor muscles as well as larger muscles to answer questions. They develop a relationship between what they see and what their hands can do. And, best of all, they learn about starting a thought, an idea, or a story and changing it over time. They learn to take their time in play.

Set-Up for Episode #5:

  • Low-fire white clay
  • Clay tools
  • Playdough tools
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Bowl of water
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Dental floss
  • A visit to your local library (for book tips, visit our BookTip page!)

The type of clay used in this episode seems to be the easiest for children’s hands, but I know that there is quite a variety out there.

The tools I use with my children are: molding tools, cookie cutters, and cooking tools. I prefer to offer limitless room for their imagination to blossom. Dental floss is quite useful with clay but others prefer to use clay cutting wires.

Did you find this helpful? Need more? Let us know how we can help you enjoy this site with your children by leaving a comment below.

Have fun and go beyond the classroom!


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