Saturday, September 26, 2020

 Clay & Creativity

Creativity is the act of conceiving something new and original. It is expressing one's own ideas, trying new things, and experimenting with new materials. One of the best ways to develop creativity in children is to introduce them to new tools and materials, and possible ways to use them. Then give children time to create and see what they can come up with. Here are some clay tools that lend themselves to some great experimenting. 

How does the creative process work?

The creative process teaches the thinking skills children need in order to make art personal, meaningful, and in their own unique style.

The Creative Process Steps:

#1 Think Of An Idea - Where do ideas come from?

Use Your Imagination 

Imagination is the ability to see pictures in your mind. It enables us to reach beyond the limits of the practical here and now into an area where anything is possible. 


Use Observation

Observation is the ability to pay close attention to what is being perceived. 

The characteristics of objects are carefully examined and recorded.

Use Your Memory

Memory is the ability to recall to mind facts previously learned or past experiences. 

Express Your Feelings

Feelings are an emotional reaction to people or events in the world around us.

 #2 Make A Plan 

Once you have an idea, make a visual sketch of your idea on paper. This will help you to think of details that can be included in your finished work. Determine which design elements and principles you will use as part of your plan.

#3 Create Your Artwork

Gather the materials and tools you will need to make your artwork. Then execute your idea. 

#4 Reflect 

When you are just about to put your finishing touches on your artwork, evaluate what you have done so far. You can ask someone to give you feedback about your work. Have them tell you what they feel your artwork communicates. Ask them what they think needs to be done to your artwork to improve it or to make it better communicate your intended idea. 


   #5 Share Your Artwork

Art communicates an idea or feeling about the world around us and its nice to share that self expression with others. You can display your artwork for others to view and enjoy.  You can include an artist statement that tells viewers about your intent behind creating your artwork.  


What is creative thinking?

The process of becoming a creative thinker is dependent upon the development of these four basic creative thinking skills:


The ability to think of lost of possibilities or answers. Brainstorming is one way to become more fluent.


The ability to find ways to change ideas. You have the ability to shift gears and take detours in your direction of thinking. Flexibility requires a variety of thought categories and the ability to shift from one category to another to generate more ideas.


The ability to create unique and unusual ideas.


Taking an idea and stretching or expanding it by embellishment. 

How do you generate creative ideas?


The way to generate a wealth of creative ideas in a very short time. 

Guidelines for productive brainstorming:

Be Open 

Do not judge ideas as they come up. Accept all suggestions, even if they seem silly or stupid.

Aim For Quantity

Accumulate ideas as quickly as possible, encouraging both obvious and unusual ideas.


The collecting of information about a particular subject. 

Ways to help aide research with children:


Provide whenever possible the real subject being studied for children to look at and examine closely.  


Provide visual reference materials such as photographs and reproductions of the subject being studied.  


The idea that influences your creative mind’s activity. 

The 4 Stages of Creative Thinking


Involves collecting knowledge and information for the problem to be solved. 


Involves resting and relaxing to allow images from the subconscious to surface. During this sitting and thinking time, the creative thinker starts visualizing parts of the idea or solution. 


This may come suddenly and unexpectedly. The idea or solution just pops into your brain. The light bulb goes off over your head and you experience an “AHA” moment!


Involves carrying out an idea or solution to see if it really works. 

How can you help children tap into and nurture their creativity? 

Think of your children as works in progress. Children are in the process of growing themselves. Reflect this back to them by making a safe place in which to explore a range of ideas, art materials, techniques and develop artistic skills through trying new things and practicing newly acquired skills. Help children discover the world of creative thinkers. Share information about creative people and how they work. Introduce children to famous artists and their creative processes. Provide a relaxed and non-threatening climate and you will nurture the child’s creative potential. Promote such habits as, exploring, imagining, and equating thinking with playing.

Provide children with playtime. Play is a means by which children develop their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social capacities. It also provides a state of mind that, in adults as well as children, is uniquely suited for high-level reasoning, insightful problem solving, and all sorts of creative endeavors. 

One reason why play is such an ideal state of mind for creativity and learning is because the mind is focused on means. Since the ends are understood as secondary, fear of failure is absent and children feel free to incorporate new sources of information and to experiment with new ways of doing things.

This point about the mental state of play is very important for understanding play’s value as a mode of learning and creative production. The alert but unstressed condition of the playful mind is precisely the condition that has been shown repeatedly, in many psychological experiments, to be ideal for creativity and the learning of new skills. 

Approach art like open-ended play. Provide a variety of materials and see what happens as the child leads the experience. Children will be able to explore, create art from their interests and express their feelings. 

Creativity Builders


   Provide children with repeated exposure to creative activities.


   Provide children with different kinds of media, so children can create many  types of artworks. 



   Provide children with open-ended creative experiences where the child directs the learning experience. Let the child take the lead and play around.

   Encourage Individuality 

   Children should be allowed to create their own imagery in their artwork. Give them the freedom to choose their own style. Creativity means having the power to express yourself in your own way. 

   Personal Space

   Provide children with space to create, take risks, make mistakes and even get a little messy. 

   Value the creative process, not the product.

   Remember the value for children is in the process of exploration, and self expression and not a focus on a specific result or product. Accept the sometimes experimental works that children make and realize that play is part of the process.


   People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by interest,  enjoyment, satisfaction and challenge of the work itself.

   Adequate Time

   The crucial element in cultivating creativity is time; open-ended time

   for the child to savor and explore a particular activity or material to 

   make it their own. Adequate time on a creative project leads to flow state. The ultimate state of creativity is called flow. In flow, time does not matter. There exists a state of complete absorption in which all self-consciousness disappears. The creator is so thoroughly and enjoyable engaged in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

Written by Art Teacher Ruth Post

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Clay Box

 Join My Art Class!

It's that time again when we head Back To School. 
Only classrooms are looking a little bit different these days. I would love to help you learn about art and create sculptures out of clay this school year, so I added online videos to my clay subscription box. Still the same great clay box delivered to your doorstep each month only now you will gain exclusive access to video instructions to help you sculpt your clay. Plus once the school year gets rolling we will be getting together via Facebook Live and Zoom meet ups for some live Clay Play!
And who doesn't LOVE to play with clay?!

FREE Class!
For your first clay lesson I thought it would be fun to make some homemade clay.  
You can join my class here:
Here are the video downloads:
 I would LOVE to be your art teacher this school year. If you would like to learn, create and grow as an artist with me, you can sign up at:

To receive 25% off your first subscription box.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Growing As An Artist

Early Childhood Learners

For early childhood learners art serves as a way to communicate their understanding of themselves and the world. Children at this age are striving to understand the world around them and need experiences that allow for learning exploration and discovery. Children need to learn about the process of making art rather than the creation of a finished product.

Suggestions for early learners:

  • Use large pencils, crayons and brushes that are easy to grasp.
  • Broaden use of materials to include those things that require more fine motor coordination.
  • Provide tactile materials for them to use.
  • Have them "show & tell" about their artworks.
  • Have them finger paint.
  • Play with homemade play doughs.

Early learners are able to:

  • Use gross motor skills over fine motor coordination
  • Learn through active exploration involving lots of physical activity.
  • Make art in a kinesthetic way rather than working realistically.
  • Pay attention for shorts periods of time, so they need a variety of art activities to sustain their interest. 


The word Kindergarten means "garden for children". The art room can be a wonderful place to help children grow. Allow kindergarteners to play, explore and experiment with art materials. Play is how children explore the external world and discover their own skills and abilities. Play allows children to communicate complex ideas and messages that would be otherwise impossible due to their lack of verbal skills. Kindergartners are enthusiastic and eager to learn. They are unable to sustain any activity for a long period of time. Proved children with opportunities to draw often and give them assistance and the encouragement they require. Let them make drawings about themselves and their personal experiences. As kindergarteners become increasingly aware of the world around them, the many objects that make up their environment will begin to appear in their artworks. Rather than drawing what something actually looks like, they tend to draw what they know about the person, place or object. Show new skills and techniques step-by-step and allow for repeated opportunities to practice newly acquire skills. 

Kindergarteners are able to:

  • Identify and draw different lines.
  • Recognize and draw basic shapes such as squares, rectangles, circles, ovals and triangles. 
  • Identify the colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  • Identify dark and light colors.
  • Compare things that are alike and different.
  • Create patterns by repetition of shapes, lines or colors.
  • Begin to use a variety of art tools.
  • Able to grasp drawing materials and brushes.
  • Able to finger paint.
  • Recognize different art materials.
  • Talk about their own art and that of others.
  • Cut on a drawn line.

Suggestions for Kindergarteners:

  • Provide a variety of materials to allow for free expression of ideas.
  • Use large sized paper to allow children who are still developing their fine motor skills to make a big gesture.
  • Use large crayons and markers.
  • Paint with large brushes at the easel.
  • Cut straight and curved lines with developmentally shaped scissors.
  • Manipulate clay to form a ball to be flattened, rolled, squeezed, and pinched.
  • Provide building blocks to construct sculptures.
  • Provide beads to string.
  • Use dot markers, stamps and sponges to do printmaking. 
  • Demonstrate how to draw a heart, star, and diamond shape. 

1st & 2nd Graders

Children at this age are very excited to learn new things. They love lessons that are full of activity and fun. They have big imaginations and enjoy fantasy and make believe. They like to depict subjects that are familiar to them like the people, animals, and places around them. At this age children are moving from an egocentric outlook to an awareness that there is a bigger world out there. 

1st & 2nd Graders are able to:

  • Follow a series of drawing steps.
  • Describe various types of lines.
  • Recognize and draw geometric and organic shapes.
  • Recognize basic forms like spheres, cones, cubes, and cylinders in their surroundings.
  • Create patterns by repetition of shapes, lines, or colors.
  • Identify details and add them to drawings and sculptures.
  • Trace templates.
  • Create more realistic looking artworks.
  • Begin to understand scale and size relationships.
  • Cut, tear, curl, fringe and fold paper.
  • Mix primary colors to make secondary colors and make colors darker or lighter.
  • Express personal tastes and preferences in their art.
  • Identify art mediums. 
  • Distinguish between realistic and abstract styles of art.
  • Analyze similarities and differences.
  • Learn and use art vocabulary.
  • Construct 3-dimensional sculptures.
  • Sculpt in clay.
  • Recognize and describe differences in textures.

Suggestions for 1st & 2nd Graders:

  • Provide time to discover, experiment with, and manipulate new tools and media.
  • Provide different kinds of painting experiences so that children can experiment with different techniques.
  • Teach them to observe and really see their subjects.
  • Model how to use a reference.
  • Show different artists artworks from both the past and present day.
  • Discuss proportions of the human body.
  • Teach contour drawing.
  • Draw from real life.
  • Follow step-by-step directions.
  • Provide templates for difficult to draw shapes.

3rd & 4th Graders

Children at this age are very social with their peers. They are successfully able to work independently and in groups. They have begun to develop an artistic eye and can see details in people, animals, places and things around them. Children this age will begin to experiment with representing things as they really appear. They will be interested in drawing things realistically and may get frustrated at times when they are not able to do so. They will begin to compare their artworks to others. They prefer realistic artworks because they are easier to understand than abstract pieces. They can also distinguish between genres of art such as portraits, animals, and landscapes. As the child's understanding of the world in general is expanding, his or her understanding of the world of art can expand as well. Instruction can expand to introduce children to art history, aesthetics and art criticism. 

3rd & 4th Graders are able to:

  • Cut well with scissors.
  • To fold, attach, curl, and weave paper.
  • Identify different media.
  • Mold forms and coils out of clay.
  • Add details to the subjects used in their artworks.
  • Draw people with correct proportions and gestures.
  • Identify genres and styles of art.
  • Identify art mediums such as glazes, fibers, wood and found objects.
  • Use a variety of tools due to increased fine motor control.
  • Mix tints, tones and shades.
  • Explain basic perspective using foreground, middle ground, and background.

Suggestions for 3rd & 4th Graders:

  • Have children engage in observational drawing from real life or reference photographs.
  • Explain facial and body proportions. 
  • Explain basic perspective rules.
  • Define color schemes like primary/secondary, warm/cool, harmonious/contrasting.
  • Demonstrate how to mix tints, tones and shades.
  • Show different styles of art.
  • Define different ways to achieve balance - symmetrical,  asymmetrical and radial.
  • Explain different types of patterns using rhythms like regular, alternate and random. 

5th & 6th Graders

Children at this age are starting to become aware of social structures from small groups at school to larger ones on a global level. They tend to separate themselves into boy and girl groups. They are developing a sense of self, with their own likes and dislikes. They will begin to develop their own sense of style and will have idols in the media world. They are interested in making art about themselves and their own personal interests. They often become very critical of their inadequacies when making works of art. Some will lose their confidence in their artistic ability because they cannot make things the “right” way. Some will quit making art altogether if they are judged too harshly by others or themselves. Others will own the title of being an “artist” and devote time to creating art. They will be proud of themselves if their work is displayed or wins an award. Their fine motor skills will allow them to work with a wide range of tools and materials. They will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time on their work. 

5th & 6th Graders are able to:

  • Draw with a variety of art materials.
  • Identify values and add shading to their drawings.
  • Add details to the subjects used in their artworks.
  • Draw people with more details, correct proportions and gestures.
  • Understand viewpoints such as: front, side, rear, bird’s eye, worm’s eye, distant and close up.
  • Identify positive and negative shapes.
  • Understand that the history of art has a past and present.and gestures.
  • Understand viewpoints such as: front, side, rear, bird’s eye, worm’s eye, distant and close up.
  • Identify positive and negative shapes.
  • Understand that the history of art has a past and present.
  • Identify hues, values of colors and color schemes.
  • Recognize artworks based on their style.
  • Identify different subjects in art.
  • Do many steps in the art making process at one time.
  • Use scissors, hole punchers, and sewing needles.
  • Form pinch pots, roll clay coils and form clay slab constructions.
  • Paint with watercolor, tempera and acrylic paints.
  • Sew, appliqué, weave fibers, do beading and tie-dye.
  • Assemble cardboard, wood, plastics, and other found materials.

Suggestions for 5th & 6th Graders:

  • Help them to improve their art skills so they will have the confidence to continue learning about art. 
  • Show how to compose a picture.
  • Explain how to create depth in a picture.
  • Explain how to perceive, analyze and judge works of art.
  • Encourage children to research subject matter that interests them.
  • Provide drawing lessons that include shading techniques, gesture, contour drawing and implied texture.
  • Explain perspective drawing that includes changes in scale, overlapping shapes, size changes from big to small, and colors from darkest to lightest.
  • Expose them to art from different cultures.
  • Tell them about the history of art.
  • Tell them about living artists that are currently creating works of art.
  • Explain the meaning of symbols used in artworks.
  • Do fine motor skills projects like origami, and sewing.

Gifted & Talented

Children use art as a personal visual language to communicate about themselves and the world around them. As they get older, they typically rely less on visual communication and more on verbal abilities to express their ideas and understandings. Some children however are uncommonly skilled artistically. There are certain indications of possible artistic talent in some children. 

A child that has artistic talent:

  • Pays very close attention to details.
  • Has an extreme interest to draw in as realistic a manner as possible.
  • Seeks perfectionism. 
  • Has a big imagination and ability to generate many ideas.
  • Has a story line in artworks. 
  • Researches their own subject matter.
  • Is intrinsically motivated to create art.
  • Experiments with media and techniques.
  • Is highly skilled at using art mediums and tool.s
  • Does not have the need to copy.
  • Is highly sensitive to one or more elements of art, like colors, space, or textures.
  • Shows integration of thinking, perceiving and feeling.

Written By Art Teacher Ruth Post