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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Visit the carle


Making Art Together

Playing with Clay

Its been a beautiful Spring-y week here in MA, and though we haven't had enough snow to make for soggy ground, I'm reminded that the rain and mud season is approaching. I am, therefore, reminded that week 3 (way back in January) of my Friday series for toddlers, Materials Play in the Morning, was all about clay.

tools for clay Clay Play tools

Knowing that most toddlers don't have the hand strength/coordination to roll snakes or coils I didn't try to teach any building techniques. I did display a variety of tools for making impressions in the clay. Each guest who came got a tray to work on, a couple of golf ball-sized lumps of gray air or kiln fire clay, a small dish of water, and the invitation to just get a feel for the clay.

Clay in the Art Studio

The traditional clay rolling pins didn't see any action. Most were interested in the tray of odds and ends.I had a few parent/child pairs stay for only a little while. I don't think the children liked the sensation of the clay on their skin. One parent/child pair worked quite a while, with the little one particularly engaged in putting a plastic fork into the clay. They also added more and more water to clay until it was a creamy slip on their hands. The mom had the idea to print their hands so I gave them a black piece of paper so they could press them onto a color that would contrast the light gray of the clay. I'm sorry I missed getting a picture of that. Storytime in the Reading Library included a few related books: Clay BoySheep in a Jeep, Hand Book, and Dirt on My Shirt. I hope this inspires some fun and messy digging around at your place!



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 



by Meghan Burch

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 1:44 pm and is filed under By Meghan Burch, Toddlers, Nature, Preschool. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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