Clay Sculptures

Use clay sculptures to support children in connecting common and uncommon natural resources with each other. Children experience freedom when using clay to create according to their own imagination and do not depend on bought materials as they use natural resources from their environment. Providing opportunities for children who might prefer to work without interaction and communication.

Developmental Area

Artistic, Physical




Early Childhood

There is so much to discover when we use our imagination!

Sculpture is the art of the intelligence – Pablo Picasso


For this activity you will need:

  • Clay and natural resources such as sticks, leaves, stones, flower pedals, nuts, berries, feathers, sand, shells, seaweed, etc.

Learning Goals

With this activity you will learn the following skills:

  • Nature Awareness: Children collect natural resources from the environment and are encouraged to discuss what they find (touch/see) within their natural environment

  • Fine Motor Skills: Kneeling clay and creating sculptures encouraged refinement of children’s fine motor skills

  • Creativity: The early learners are encouraged to create a unique sculpture using their imagination or creating a sculpture of something (of their choice) in their environment using clay.

  • Communication: The early learners are encouraged to discuss their scultpture, (shape, size, colour, materials used etc) and listen to others explain what they have made

Process Description

Step 1

Introduce the early learners to sculptures, statutes and 3D Modelling. This can be achieved by showing them images of famous sculptures and discussing what they mean, who created them, the materials used, interesting facts about the sculptures and any other topics that emerge from the children’s questions or discussion.

The three images depict famous sculptures from around the world! Use these as your starting point. You may also read a book with the early learners on famous sculptures, like The Game of Sculpture by Hervé Tullet, which is an interactive book that encourages children to make their own piece of art!

Step 2

Gather natural materials with children, encouraging them to choose what they think they may need to make their sculpture. The materials can be gathered on a nature walk or in a nearby park/outdoor space. The educator may also gather the materials and display a selection for children to choose from.

Step 3

Show the early learners a simple example of what they could do with the clay. Demonstrate how to kneel clay to make it soft.

Step 4

Provide a calm space for children to work independently on their sculpture. Provide help when needed but encourage children to work as independently as possible, using their imagination and own ideas to create their unique piece of art.

Step 5

When the early learners are ready encourage them to engage in discussion about their sculpture. Adapt this learning opportunity to the interests, age and stage of children in your care.



Create a story with all of the children’s individual sculptures, with a role for each artistic piece. Write the story down and take images of each sculpture to create a fun and interactive book! You may also use the sculptures to create the children’s own art exhibit, invite parents and members of the community to view them.

Reflective questions

Ask these questions during and after the learning opportunity for critical and self-reflection

  • Did I give enough time for children to experiment and try out new things?

  • Where children interested in this learning opportunity? If they were, how can I extend their learning.

  • What additional resources could have enhanced children’s learning?

Author Bio



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