Last month I brought some clay and plasticine out to the yard. I put several pieces of each on trays around the yard. The children explored the textures. I showed them how to use the heat from their hands to warm the clay and make it more pliable.
We collected various items from the yard and garden to add to the clay to make sculptures;
Of course the process was more important than the product and everyone had their own ideas and methods;
After the children were done with this activity the clay, plasticine, and other supplies were abandoned in the gravel area. Only the trays were returned to the outdoor art area. Later that week I brought some painting supplies out and placed them on the lid of the storage box – it is a nice height for the toddlers to use as a table.
Some children prefer to try alternative methods when painting – I thought it looked much more difficult to stand on the back side of the storage box but that was her choice;
It added a physical, gross motor, element to the art activity. Another bit of process over product – it could be described as ‘hanging’ art since her feet were not on the ground;
Over the last few weeks the children have discovered that the clay that was abandoned in the gravel area has now hardened into ‘rocks’. The plasticine however is still pliable – especially on warmer days. Of course you have to find it though – there are bits and pieces of plasticine strewn throughout the 400 sq ft gravel area.
There is always excitement when someone finds a piece of plasticine amongst all the gravel. It is even better when they can collect enough of it to create another sculpture;
The sunlight and shadows add even more artistic opportunities. Even though the process is our goal, some of the products are pretty amazing too;
Best of all, this plasticine is reusable. With a wide variety of nature items in the yard there are endless creative opportunities. Like all the loose parts in the yard, the plasticine offers the freedom to explore, imagine, and invent. It is all about the process.