This summer we’re learning about Native Americans. I had the idea to make some simple pottery with clay. Crayola makes air drying clay that doesn’t have to be fired to make it harden. The stuff is awesome! Elle is four years old and loves play dough. Air dry clay is like high class play dough. You can keep what you make!
I wanted to teach Elle how to make a simple clay pot like the Native Americans did, but she wanted to make animals instead. She’s not quite old enough to mold anything complicated, so I suggested she make a snake. She rolled out the clay and I helped her shape the head and tail.
She also requested a butterfly and I helped with that as well. She really enjoyed getting her fingers wet and smoothing out the clay. We looked in a book to see pictures of the different decorative styles the NA’ s used. She used a butter knife to carve her own pattern on her creations.
The clay has to harden for two or three days before it’s ‘done.’ We did this craft right before vacation so when we came home from our trip, our creations were all set. The next step was painting them. Elle really enjoyed this too. We used cheap acrylic paint. (She didn’t have a shirt on because I didn’t want her to ruin her clothes.) We talked about how the NA’ s made paint out of natural materials and how they couldn’t just go to the store for what they needed.
The clay has become a staple in our craft closet. Elle really enjoys making things she can keep and things that are useful. We made Christmas ornaments a couple weeks after the snakes. She is very proud of her work and I’m happy that using different mediums is helping develop her artistic ability.