Clay is a wonderful medium for kids to let their imagination soar. Pottery can be made from a variety of clay types such as the traditional pottery clay that can be fired in a kiln as well as air dry clay or polymer clay. Children as young as preschool should be encouraged to give pottery projects a try, you might be surprised at how nice it turns out!
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Beginning Pottery Projects
Pinch pots are often the first project a young child will be taught. A lump of clay about the size of an adult's hand is all they need to begin. Show them how to form a firm ball with the clay. Have them press their thumb into the centre to start the pot. Pinch around the sides to form a uniform pinch pot. Be careful not to make any area too thin.
Coil pots are another easy project. Teach the kids to roll their clay into long snakes. Then starting at one end, form a tight coil for the base. Then continue to build up the sides by rolling the clay snakes around and around. These pots can be smoothed out after formed, or left as is.
Slabs of clay can be used to press objects in to create different designs before it dries or is fired in a kiln. Children can use common objects like paper clips, pencils or their own fingers to create a pattern.
Creative Pottery Projects
Create a mini clay room diorama using the slab technique. Kids can roll out three squares, approximately 4 to 5 inches. These will form the floor and two corner walls. Once the mini room is created, they can make furniture and design it anyway they choose.
Tiny masks are a nice pottery project, using a small amount of material. Each student receives a 2-inch ball of clay. They press the ball of clay on their thumbs to make the initial mask shape. Then they can use their imagination to create eyes, pull out the nose and add other details, including a hole at the top so they can wear this as a necklace or hang on their wall. Air dry the masks and paint them once they are completely dry.
Broken Pottery Projects
Gather broken pieces of pottery, clay flower pots, pieces that didn't make it through the kiln and collected pieces from classroom families. Use these to create a mosaic mural with the class or as individual students. Provide hammers and teach them to gently tap the pottery under a towel for protection.
Make a mini village. Let students work together to create huts, houses and trees using pieces of broken pottery. They can use the smaller pieces as walkways and vehicles.
Use the interesting shapes to paint faces or make animals. The shape can suggest a facial expression or a different the kind of creature.
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