Lilia has been asking me to buy modeling clay for about a week now and while running errands today, we were able to find some. We bought a natural earth clay that air dries which is great for beginners.
It's a step up from play-dough, but not as hard to mold as some other clays. While Franky napped, Lilia started in on the clay. First she decided to make a house, then a log cabin and then settled on a raft.
She was starting to mold a pinch pot when Franky woke up from his nap. He walked into the kitchen, rubbed his eyes and immediately wanted a hunk of clay to play with.He started making "baby eggs", a dinosaur and a superhero.
A strange thing happened with the clay. The kids went back and forth from quietly working on their clay to sharing what they were making. The clay seemed to have a calming effect, which in my home is welcome any time.
There are three major benefits to why your kids should be playing with clay:
1. It's therapeutic. Simply the act of molding clay in one's hands whether you're a child or an adult can be very calming. Remember those stress balls that were once so popular? Manipulating the clay can help relieve stress or even be an outlet for young children who physically express their emotions.
2. It's an outstanding sensory development activity for little hands. Young children are still working on fine motor skills and dexterity. Rolling, squeezing and forming the clay helps them in this area.
3. It's play based learning. You might not realize it, but playing with clay is promoting those little minds to get busy by thinking about what they're going to create and how they're going to create it. This type of creative play promotes imaginative problem-solving skills.
Kids, of course, think it's just plain fun. Next time you're at the craft store pick up some clay. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can even dig up your own. Happy modeling!