Clay or playdough is one of the most fun toys for a child! Besides the conventional ‘give a child a tub of clay and let their creativity run wild’ (which is amazing!), have you ever tried using clay for other activities? Clay is extremely versatile and can be used for so many fun and educational things. (Click here for a quick and cheap homemade recipe for clay)
Here are a few ideas to set you off on a journey of unlimited clay fun!
1. Use Alphabets and Numbers as Forms
Magnetic alphabets and numbers are great for making impressions in clay. If your child is learning to spell, this is a great way to learn.
2. Teach Alphabet Prewriting Skills
Draw the outline of the alphabet on a paper and the child has to fill it with clay. Younger children can simply fill it with clay, older ones can make ‘snakes’ and put it on top of the letters. This is a great way to learn what lines (straight, slanted, curved) make different letters.
3. Teach Numbers
Just like the alphabets, you can do the same with numbers.
This is great for 2-3 year olds. All you have to do it draw a shape and get your child to fill it in with clay. For older children, you can also draw more complex shapes like hexagon, trapezium, etc. and get them to make an outline with the clay.
Write a number and get you child to make the same number of balls and put it next to the number. A more fun creative way could be to draw a tree and use red clay and ask them to put 4 or 10 or 17 apples on the tree.
6. Straws and Pasta
Give them a big ball of clay and a few straws and pasta. You’ll be surprised at how long children can sit playing with this!
7. Cutting Practice
Clay is a great medium for tiny fingers to practice cutting. The great thing about clay is that you can even use a plastic scissor to cut it.
8. Toothpick Tower
Make a toothpick tower using clay to bind it together.
9. Caterpillar Families
Make small balls with clay and join them to make little caterpillars. Make them of different lengths and you have a caterpillar family! This is a great exercise for their fine motor skills.
10. Animals and Clay
Give your children a few plastic animals and some clay. Footprints, blankets to cover the animals, food for the animals to eat, are just some of the things your children will use it for!
11. Clay Activity Mats
You can print worksheets, laminate them and use them over and over again. There are so many resources online. Here’s one that has some interesting worksheets: https://www.playdoughtoplato.com/100-free-playdough-mats/
If you have different coloured beads or buttons. Mix it all together and get them to stick it into the same coloured clay.