I have written about clay and children in a previous blog entry. I realize it is time to write more.
The great thing about using clay for representational work with children is its malleability. If a part isn’t working then a child can smooth it and start over until it is the way he or she wants it.
Another of my favorite experiences with children 4 and a half and up is making what I call vessels.
I call them “vessels” from my time in art school in the clay studio where ceramicists were building these vases and huge cylinder shapes.
Clay also supports fine motor development through the processes required to make self portraits with Clay. Making a portrait in clay requires using the
scoring tool kind of like a pencil or pen. The child draws on the clay similar to ones on a piece of paper, making eyes, nose, mouth and being able to smooth the lines with a finger if not to the child's liking. Using clay to work in a relief style (clay as a piece of paper) helps the drawing development.
Another component of complexity with clay can be to have the child draw what it is they are going to build. For example here is a butterfly a child drew and then broke down the shapes of the butterfly before connecting them. Working like this provides children with a slowed down process where they can take the time to do the steps to go from a one dimensional media (drawing) to a three dimensional media (clay).
Clay is a media that works for all ages and stages. It is a favorite of mine. I learn as I manipulate it.
I hope this gives you some ideas.