In the Atelier the children have been exploring clay.
This lesson we began with a fun book “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen.
After acting out the story and singing along the children sat down to create their own bear caves.
 
To get started we cut the clay
(The older students were allowed to use wire to cut the clay)
cutting clay at preschool
cutting clay at preschool2
Then the children came up with their own designs and strategies to construct their caves.
Some folded flattened pieces of clay over – some created a mound then pushed their fingers through to make a cave.
(Working with clay helps strengthening fine motor movements)
folding clay at preschool
Children added to their clay more natural materials such as:
Leaves
Sticks
Rocks
Flowers
decorating clay bear cave at preschool
girl decorating bear cave at preschool

BENEFITS OF CLAY PLAY:

  • Developmental growth:
    • Manipulating (squishing, squeezing, pulling, pushing, etc)  a piece of clay helps develops the child’s large and small muscles – improving dexterity.
    • Fosters eye-hand coordination.
    • Builds a child’s ability to focus/builds attention span.
  • Mathematical Understandings:
    • Fosters beginning pattern making.
    • Builds an experiential understanding of 3-dimensional shapes.
    • Tactical experience of size and weight differences
  • Literacy growth:
    • builds vocabulary – pound, pinch, roll, flatten, poke, tear squeeze, coil, stretch, squash, twist, and bend
    • Creative story telling with clay pieces

And so much more!

boy cutting clay at preschool
benefits of clay play
preschool clay bear cave

(Ms Salena from Nature Lab even paid the Natural History Museum a visit to bring us a REAL brown bear skull!)

bear cave and skull
children's bear cave
finished preschool clay bear cave

Please check-out our awesome Carmel Mountain Preschool Art Studio here: The Art Studio – Carmel Mountain Preschool