How to Make Landforms From Molding Clay

Written by kelly sundstrom
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How to Make Landforms From Molding Clay
Geography can be fun when adding in an exciting activity. (globe: north america image by studio vision 1 from

When teaching geography, it can be helpful to provide activities that can help children understand landforms visually. This can be difficult when learning geography primarily from a two-dimensional book. Fortunately, landforms can be studied in three dimensions by creating them from modelling clay. Children will gain a deeper awareness about the shapes and purpose of each landform by sculpting them. Even if you or your students do not possess artistic abilities, it can be easy to create a display of the many various landforms on earth.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Swiss roll tray
  • Air-drying modelling clay
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Sand
  • Glue
  • Grass

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  1. 1

    Give each child a Swiss roll tray that has at least a 1-inch lip around the edge, a printout of the various types of landforms, and two to three different colours of clay. Have each child work a piece of clay in their hands to soften it, then instruct them to press the clay into their tray. Repeat this process with each of the colours.

  2. 2

    Allow each child to sculpt at least three different landforms, which can include volcanoes, islands, plateaus, mountains and archipelagos. To create a volcano, the child can push the clay into the tray into a triangular peak, then create a hole down the middle of it. To create an island or archipelago, the child can press a small mound of clay into the tray, form either a round or elongated shape, then fill the tray with a small amount of water to demonstrate the actual appearance of the landform. To make a plateau or mountain, have the child press a long strip of clay into the tray, then form the strip into peaks, some with pointed tops and some with flat tops.

  3. 3

    Once the clay has dried, the children can decorate their landforms with sand, soil or grass that they have collected at home. Empty out all water from the trays before decorating the landforms. Each child should apply craft glue around their landforms, then apply their decorations. Allow the decorations to dry completely before refilling the trays with water.

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