In this post, we explore the creative world of children's clay exploration. Building on that exploration, we invite you to learn more about the benefits of clay play in our latest article: ‘The Benefits of Clay Play: Understanding the Exploration Stage of Children.”

The following photos are from two classrooms at Rosa Parks Preschool, Mrs. Winters and Mrs. Terry. A huge thank you to the teachers!!
It begins with one slice of clay.
A blank canvas receptive to endless explorations . . .

Squishing and pulling pieces off.

Using a tool to make markings and indentations.

Exploring the ability the clay has to hold an object upright.

Making textures and impressions.

Working with the small pieces – focusing on the details.

Clay exploration pieces on display.  Mrs. Terry figured out how to make these great shelves.  Love it!

The clay pieces are allowed to air dry.
I noticed one teacher had put an acrylic finish over some of the dried pieces and it worked beautifully.

Provide clay boards.  A clay board is a board covered in muslin.  You can use a tray as well.
Provide a piece of clay on the board.
Do not instruct the children.  Allow open and free exploration.
Clay play works well as a small group center or station with 4 to 6 children.


[If you're interested in a more in-depth exploration of these benefits and gaining a better understanding of the exploration stage of children, check out our latest article ‘The Benefits of Clay Play: Understanding the Exploration Stage of Children‘ for further insights.]

  • Developmental growth:
    • Manipulating (squishing, squeezing, pulling, pushing, etc)  a piece of clay helps develops the child’s large and small muscles – improving dexterity.
    • Fosters eye-hand coordination.
    • Builds a child's ability to focus/builds attention span.
  • Mathematical Understandings:
    • Fosters beginning pattern making.
    • Builds an experiential understanding of 3-dimensional shapes.
    • Tactical experience of size and weight differences
  • Literacy growth:
    • builds vocabulary – pound, pinch, roll, flatten, poke, tear squeeze, coil, stretch, squash, twist, and bend
    • Creative story telling with clay pieces

And so much more!