The Beach Schoolers and Kirsty @throughthehedge spent some time this week exploring natural clay. Clay is often overlooked in early years and schools for being a bit messy and unpredictable but it actually has the most incredible soft responsive sensory qualities.
Clay lends itself to open ended creativity because children often need lots of time working with clay, but it is incredible for motor skills development: Pounding, pushing, rolling, squeezing, poking, pinching and twisting.
Because of its responsive qualities, we observed that small children are naturally fascinated by clay. It responds to their touch so they are motivated and empowered to keep experimenting with it. Through work with clay, they are learning not only how a natural material behaves, but also how to make something in their imagination take a physical form, the development of their imaginative expression.
We use 100% natural clay as it is suitable for use in the natural environment (air dry clay often contains plastic polymers), a stainless steel tray and some simple wooden clay tools. We also recommend having a bowl of water to dip your clay in if it starts to get dry. And if you are worried about the mess – always take it outside.
Other experience ideas for natural clay:
Making faces on trees/ seawalls
Find more inspiration here:
Millie’s Garden Instagram
Photos by Kirsty Southam