LEARNING THROUGH CLAY
~Rebecca Blackwood, Of Many Circles
Few art forms kindle growth and skills in children in the way that clay does. Working with clay is invaluable in sensory and motor skill development, building manual dexterity, self-esteem, and self-expression, problem solving skills, discipline, and pride. It has therapeutic qualities; children and adults immediately calm when using clay. Here are a few ways children learn through clay.
Co-ordination and sensory development
Clay is cold, it’s wet and squishy, it’s heavy, it begs to be poked, pinched, twisted and rolled. When children play with clay they develop fine and major motor skills. They inspect the clay’s surface and colour, they smell it, they laugh at the sounds it makes when it’s wet. For some children, it’s the first time they’ve got wet and dirty. When it’s ready to take home, children hold what they’ve made, smoothing their fingers over glazed surfaces inspecting their creation.
Trial and error
As children mould and shape it they become aware they are in charge. The feeling that they are in command gives them the confidence to attempt anything; opening their minds to self-expression and imagination. Everyone makes mistakes but when it comes to clay mistakes can be easily corrected so children learn to keep trying new things.
Creativity is a highly valued attribute. Playing with clay enables a child to mould different things with endless possibilities for exploration.
Learning through play
Clay is a tool for teaching lots of subjects. Numbers and letters can be moulded in clay for numeracy and literacy and science can be taught by testing clays. Clay is effective in preparing children to problem-solve and be creative.
There are numerous benefits of playing with clay from developing creativity, to physical dexterity and coordination, academic and problem-solving skills but most importantly it’s relaxing and pure, unadulterated fun!
Get hands on
For all the family there are workshops and meet the maker sessions – have a go at handling clay, throwing a pot and painting ceramics. View our events programme for upcoming dates.
Summer of Ceramics runs until 8 September. Doddington Hall and Gardens is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, 12noon – 4.30pm. The gardens open at 11am and last admission is at 3.30pm. Admission applies. The Stable Yard Galleries are open daily 10am-4pm and entry is free of charge.