Saturday, August 4, 2012

Making Clay Pots With Kids

Working with clay is so much fun, and children especially can't get enough of it. It's a great way to build up their fine motor skills and is a wonderful sensory experience. I have made pinch pots with children as young as three. Beyond the obvious difficulty of the task, clay isn't something you want your child ingesting so I think three is a pretty good cutoff.

To start, you will need to buy your clay. You'll want to get air dry clay, unless you have access to a kiln.  You can by it from a number of sites online (links below) or you can just get it from any A.C. Moore or Michaels (don't forget those coupons). If you're only using this for your family, get a small amount- 5 to10lbs. Clay is dense. A little goes a long way.

Next, you will need fishing line, or you can buy clay cutting wire. I just use fishing line and it works perfectly.
Select a workspace with a flat surface that's fairly easy to clean. Clay is so moist, it will tear up anything you try to cover the table with so it's easiest to just clean up afterwards. Clay is water soluble so water and a sponge work fine.

Wrap the fishing line around your fingers like this, and slice off a chunk of clay.  Give each child a piece about the size of a tennis ball.

Show them how to roll the clay in their hands or on the table to make a ball.


Once they've made their ball (or something close to a ball) have them give a thumbs up sign. Then use their thumb to press a hole deep into the ball, but not all the way through.The next thing you will need to show them is how to pinch their thumb and index fingers together.

Once they've shown you that they know how to pinch, you are ready to show them how to pinch around the ball to create the pot. But I guess I should show you first. :)

Placing your thumb all the way down into the hole squeeze your thumb and index fingers together to flatten the clay, repeat this all around the base of the pot. After you've finished the bottom, you just keep pinching your way around the pot until you've reached the top.

Once their pots are completed, They can use a little water to smooth out the clay if they'd like. You can give them a small bowl or cup of water to use, but instruct them to only dip two fingers at a time in the water. Too much water will destroy the clay.

Now they are ready to decorate their pots. Any pencil or play-dough tools will work. They can poke holes (not all the way through) draw pictures or shapes, whatever they want to make it their own. Do not push objects like buttons or play jewels into the clay. Clay shrinks as it dries so any solid object inserted in it, will cause it to crack.

Lay your pots on wax paper to dry. (If you have trouble removing them from the table, run the wire along the bottom to cut them off). It will take a day or two for them to dry completely. Once they are dry, you can paint them with acrylic (not tempera or washable) paints. After the paint has dried, spray them with a clear coat sealant.

These pots have not been fired so you cannot put water in them and they are very fragile, but they work very nicely as little trinket holders and the children are very proud of them.

If you have a local potter who is willing to fire your pots for you in a kiln,  you will need to fire them first, then paint them with a glaze and fire them again.

Any questions? Post them in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Crayola Air-Dry Clay - 5 lbs. Crayola Air-Dry Clay - 5 lbs.
Kids will have a blast creating sculptures beads plaques and decorative projects. Smoother and less sticky than traditional clay--perfect for young hands to manipulate. This natural white clay air-dries without baking in an oven or kiln.

Air-Dry Clay - 25 Lbs. Air-Dry Clay - 25 Lbs.
Children will love the tactile experience of modeling keepsakes with this air-dry clay - the clay hardens without being fired in a kiln! Easy to use with traditional modeling techniques such as pinch coil and slab building itÆs also a snap to clean up. Decorate with paints when dry.

Colorations Acrylic Paint 8 oz. - Set of 8 Colorations Acrylic Paint 8 oz. - Set of 8
This set of 8 specially-formulated acrylic craft paint is stellar for small projects. Get amazing one-coat coverage with 8 oz. each of 8 brilliant colors: black blue brown green purple red white and yellow.


  1. OMG! Your kids are so incredibly cute! I don't have kids , yet, but this looks like a great idea to implement ... one day :p.

    Hope your week's off to a great start! ;D


  2. I love this! I know that as a child, I always loved modeling clay..... can't wait until my little one is old enough for this activity... and such a great keepsake! Thanks for sharing...
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Stringtown Home

    1. They are great keepsakes and the kids are so proud of them. You have to be really careful they don't break though because that's devastating. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Clay is one of my favorite activities to do with my students but now as a SAHM I completely forgot about it with my own kids.Thank you for re inspiring me. I found you in the True Aim blog hop.

    1. I did too until I decided to do it with my preschool class. Strange how we don't think to do these things with our own kids. I'm trying to be better about doing this with them. Thanks for stopping by. I love True Aim!

  4. that looks like such fun! putting the 25lbs on my list!

  5. It would be so cook to find someone to fire them. I took a pottery class when I was young and it was such a fun experience. One that I will never forget. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

    1. Yeah. I wish I had a kiln, but it just isn't practical. I really do need to find someone to fire them so they last longer. I love pottery. The one thing in art school I was really good at. ;)

  6. This is great! I will be trying this with my son! I found you over on Take a Look Tuesday hop and am now a new follower!

    I'd love it if you would visit me over at


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