Getting started with clay

Materials and tools

Children’s ability to use clay as a medium for expressing ideas develops from experience in handling and manipulating it, and this in itself can act as a very important stimulus.

Focusing on materials and tools gives children opportunities to:

  • Learn the skills needed to form and change clay through a need for expression
  • Use clay in increasingly purposeful ways
  • Enjoy the freedom to use clay in imaginative ways

Working in clay is often very satisfactory for young children, and they should have ample opportunities to explore the medium without having to produce a particular ‘finished’ object. Children who have not had much experience of clay will need to see, feel and talk about how it responds when they pull, pound, prod or roll it. They will learn from experience to distinguish between shapes that lie flat and solid forms that stand up on their own.