featured - girls adds sticks to birdhouse
By Julie Goldstein

This week up in The Studio, we created bird nests with clay. We talked about where birds live and how they make nests. Then we played with clay, molding, pulling, poking and rolling it into a ball. After we created a small ball we used our thumbs to indent a small hole and used our pinchers fingers to create a small pinch pot that resembled a birds nest. Then we went out into nature to collect treasures for our nests.

The children had fun searching for small objects such as seedpods, leaves, and rocks. They indented the treasures into the soft clay. Lastly, we discussed where the nests might live and drew pictures of their nests and environments. Most children drew in a family of birds, eggs, trees, and flowers.

Creating with clay is not only fun but also very beneficial for your children’s development. It instills fine motor skills, creative problem solving, self-esteem, and most importantly it is naturally therapeutic. Work with clay at home or in your classroom and watch the children create magic!
toddler at our child care center makes a birdhouse
Air- dry clay
Access to natural objects
Drawing paper
Oil pastels
Toddler girls working on clay birdhouses

  1. Read the book “Look, Look, Look! At Sculpture” by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
  2. Learn the definitions for the words, “Sculpture” and “Texture”.
  3. Pass out a chunk of clay to each child. Have them play with the clay for 10 minutes. Pull, poke, roll, etc.
  4. Roll the clay into a ball and use your thumb to push in an indent.
  5. Use your pincher fingers to mold a pinch pot that will resemble a birds nest.
  6. Go out into nature and collect “natural treasures” for the nest.
  7. Indent the objects into the clay.
  8. Have the students dialogue about their nests and discuss where their bird nest might live. Are there more than one bird? Does she have eggs? Is the nest in a forest or mountain?
  9. Pass out paper and pencils and motivate the children to create a drawing of their nest and its environment.
  10. Add color (optional).
  11. Have FUN!

toddler designs the clay nest
Toddler boy draws a design for a bird house
Toddler boy adds found object to birdhouse
Girls create clay nest at our child care center
toddler add leaves to clay nest