9. Paint cup - used for holding water. This type is great because it comes a with brush/tool holder lip.
10. Natural sponge - has a great shape and holds up longer than a synthetic sponge.
Rolling pins are great for flattening clay. They come in different widths and lengths. Most are made out of wood because the clay doesn't stick to the surface. The ones with the ball bearings in the handle (1) are the easiest to roll back and forth with. Extra large rolling pins purchased from a ceramic supplier work well when flatting large slabs of clay for big projects for art students. Smaller sized rolling pins (3) work best for children's little hands. You can make your own by just using a wooden dowel (2).
To help make slabs evenly rolled or a certain thickness you can use dowels (1) of various dimensions on either side of your clay. The dowels will keep the clay from thinning out too much. Available at: your local hardware store. You can also purchase a leveled clay roller kit (2) like this one at:https://activaproducts.com
Slab rollers make rolling out clay a cinch, but are super expensive. Mostly art teachers and ceramic potters own them.
Rolling pins are even available in different textures.
These are Texture Wheels.
Cotton Duck cloth - used as a messy mat and to keep clay from sticking to the table top surface. It can be stretched onto a board to make moving around clay projects easier. Available at: Walmart and JoAnn's in the fabric section.
Here are some great add on tools to have in your tool box.
The most loved art supply by children is clay. It is the perfect tactile and moldable material for little hands to manipulate. Working with clay can be very calm and relaxing. Manipulating clay can help relieve stress. Having the freedom to explore and discover on your own is very freeing. To a child clay is magical. They love to squeeze it, poke it, pound it and shape it. Combine it with a child's imagination and its possibilities are endless. They are naturally fascinated by it and will create with it for long periods without help from an adult. They often get into the flow state without even realizing time has past so quickly. Playing with clay has many great benefits for children of all ages.
Here are some of children’s favorite thingsto create with clay.
The Pizza Pie
One of the number one things kids love to shape out of clay is a pizza pie. With pepperoni of course. So many kids are familiar with playing with their food, so making it out of clay comes naturally to them. Pounding clay flat is so much fun! Once flat it is easy to imagine it as a pancake or a pizza. They even like to pretend they are eating it.
Making a coil out of clay naturally looks like a wiggly worm or a snake to a child. Of course it's a child's favorite - snakes are cool!
Boys especially loves making these erupting things.
Making food and the containers to put it in comes naturally to a child. Clay can be easily shaped into a bowl or drinking cup.
Children's Developmental Stages Using Clay
This stage is characterized by the pure sensory experience of the modeling material. Children will pat it, pound it, squish it, poke it, pinch it, and play with it. They will make no attempt to make the clay or play dough into something. They just enjoy partaking in the sheer pleasure of exploring it with their senses and manipulating it.
age 4-6 kindergarten
At this stage, children use their fingers and palms to make basic forms with the clay like a ball, pancake or worm. Their fine motor skills are beginning to take shape and they can start to control the clay or dough.
Named Forms Stage
age 6-7 grades k-1
During this stage children give names and labels to modeled forms. They engage in narrative play with their products and use them like toys. Playing with clay engages the child's imagination and lends itself to the benefits of the creative process naturally. Clay is the perfect creative material because it can be reinvented over and over again by a child's imagination.
Symbolic Forms Stage
age 6-9 grades 1-3
After repeated experiences working with clay, children can now plan the forms that they want to make. They can use their fingers to join pieces together, add details, pull forms out of a larger piece of clay and use clay tools. Their finished products will be recognizable by others. They start modeling people, animals and food.
Providing children with repeated experiences working with clay, helps children to develop skills towards mastery. Children can then use clay as a medium to express their own ideas and life experiences through art making. Skill development requires children do similar activities over and over.
You're in luck! I've worked with just about them all and here are my test results...
Terra-cotta Clay Bodies
Amaco- Excellent plasticity but a bit sticky. The surface quality is gritty and dries with an
uneven skin layer. Its finished durability is brittle and breaks easily. Even though I was careful to score and slip my pieces properly, I still had pieces just fall off when they dried. So frustrating! - $ moderately priced
Activa - Great plasticity. The iron oxide in the clay body stains your hands a bit. Dries evenly to a beautiful terra-cotta rock color. It's very strong and durable. You could bang it on a table top and cause no damage. By far my favorite terra-cotta air dry clay! - $ moderately priced
Crayola - Good plasticity. The surface quality is smooth but dries unevenly in color. Strong but one drop and it breaks easily. Still comes in a close second to my favorite.
- $ economically priced
White Air Dry Clay Bodies
Crayola - Good plasticity. Dries to a bright white. Can be easily painted with water color, tempera and acrylic paints. Strong, but one drop and it breaks easily. I really like to use this brand because it's easy for kids to use. $ economically priced
Laguna Dry Hard- Excellent plasticity. Dries with a gritty skin. Hard, but parts fall off easily even if you score and slip them on properly. Laguna Mexo - Too soft plasticity, very sticky. I didn't like working with it at all! Dries with a gritty skin. Hard, but breaks easily. Some pieces just fell off after they air dried. $ moderately priced
Activa' - Excellent plasticity. Dries very strong. Takes paint/stains well. My favorite! $moderately priced
Here's a set of test tiles that I finished in a variety of ways:
Amaco - Great plasticity but sticky. Chemical smell. Dries hard, but has a chalky feel. $ moderately priced
Black Air Dry Clay Bodies
Crayola - good plasticity. Dries strong but to an uneven off black color. $ expensively priced since it is only available in a multi-colored pack
Activa' - excellent plasticity. Dries evenly to a smooth finish and is very strong. $ moderately priced