We love working (playing) with Clay. Be it plain chappati dough or clay dough or ceramic clay. The messier it gets, the better. When I announced the theme for this month, I assumed that most of you would be using clay already. If not, here are a few questions answered.
What type of Clay to use?
There are clays available, Play-Doh or modeling clay, to mold and shape that stay soft, are easy to work with, and can be used over and over again. There are clays available that you can use to make sculptures that will set-up and harden without heat, such as Air dry clay or Makin’s Clay. There are also clays made of polymer, with such brand names as Sculpy or Fimo, that are a little tougher to manipulate, but they can be shaped into finely detailed items that, once baked, will keep their shapes forever. Finally, you can also make your own clay if this is what you desire or try your hand at ceramics.
Where do I buy them from? Playdough is available in all toy shops and comes in a variety of colors. Do buy the non toxic ones if your kids are handling them. I have noticed that commercial clay like playdough is most suitable for kids 3 and above. For younger kids, chappati atta mixed with a bit of oil works better. For slightly bigger kids aged 5 and above, give them air dry clay or oven dry clay and make tougher projects. Staples, many shops in Commercial street and avenue road in Banglore stock them too.
If you are looking for polymer clay, you need to buy them online – at Himalaya Fine art .
If a pidilite store is nearby do check them out too.
What do I make with them??
Ages 1-3 : Make simple structures like a snake, ball, Its fun and improves dexterity in younger kids. Learning to roll dough into a ball takes some practice 🙂 use the atta. Line their palms with a bit of oil though
Ages 3-5 : Make play dough animals, fruits, flowers, flat faces. Most kids enjoy bright colors at this age. Also give them a variety of tools – Rollers, moulds , cutters to play. Reuse.
Ages 5-7 : Buy natural air drying clay for these young ones. Make pencil stands, Fridge magnets, animal sculptures, ganapati, jewellery. Give them acrylic colors, glitter, sequins, colorful stones to decorate.
Ages 7 and above : Make more complex sculptures using polymer clay and pottery clay. Try making photo frames, personalised gifts, Pots. Enroll them in a pottery class. Make Mseal flowers, The possibilities are limitless.
Some tips that work for me
- Cover the dining table with an old bedsheet. Kids are limited to their seats and its easier to clean.
- Most craft sessions happen in the balcony. I cover the floor in news paper and let my daughter play on her own with colors or dough.I usually sit at the entrance while the younger kids play to my left and the older ones are to my right. [ I’m talking about my neighbours kids. I have no experience with 2 kids 😀 ]
- We have a painting shirt and pants. An old pair of shirt and night pant that is kept exclusively for craft sessions.
- Keep old rags handy and within reach.
- Always supervise when you give colors or items that have a choking hazard.
- Have fun. Be silly. Nothing has to be perfect. the more you restric the less fun it will be.
Some books that I might buy