Mud and Imagination

A project about the environment woth Key stage 1.

Using Clay in the Early Years

Clay is a wonderful material to use with any age…it is calming, grounding and possibilities for the imagination endless.  I use clay with very young children and babies, often on a large scale, combining it with other unexpected resources, drainpipes, twigs, pipe cleaners, toy cars…….

Clay is often used as an introductory activity with a new group of children.  Having a large pile of clay is inviting and can focus childrens’ attention in one place whilst at the same time being able to free their imaginations without any boundaries.

With this approach I am able to facilitate the creative process, listen and observe. I am able to learn a great deal about individual children, their imagination, their communication skills and language development.

Supporting Language Development

What I really love about clay is that it is inclusive to everyone.  Working in this way doesn’t rely on spoken word and that means all children of all abilities and experiences can be involved and at the same time working in clay in such a flexible way Encourages verbal language development through the sharing of experiences, ideas and stories.

The children bring themselves and their life experiences to the creative process enabling myself and the staff to respond by collaborating and developing further creative processes that reflect the children’s interest and stages of development. 

Early Years Curriculum

Whilst the children are exploring the clay, I document, record and photographs the children’s creative process, capturing their ideas, language and levels of engagement which can then be used as evidence of meeting learning goals.  Using the documentation process as adults we can pay close attention to the children, developing further child led activities which reflect their interests and needs whilst meeting the requirements of the curriculum.

This process means that often we don’t have a finished product; the product is in the recorded evidence of the children’s high levels of engagement, imagination, and language use. 

Clay can meet more of the curriculum than creative development.  I have worked with children to discover the science of clay, watched the sun dry the clay and the rain disintegrate it. We have learned about changes over time and the science of liquid solid, scale and shape


And above all of that, it’s a material the children can manipulate offering them an enabling resource for indoor and outdoor work. 

The joy of clay is that it can be made, changed, squashed, and made again. With minimum of care, clay keeps forever to be used over and over again making it a very cost effective resource that has endless capacity for imaginative worlds.

4 Responses to Mud and Imagination

  1. Pingback: Large Collage Pictures | Artful Dodgers

    • ammieflexen says:

      Thank you for linking to my page Mud and Imagination. Really appreciate it. I’d be interested to know how you found me. I am currently building a new website under the name of Dandelion Arts, would you like me to let you know when it’s up and running (v soon) 🙂

  2. Jacqui says:

    I found you through the earlyarts twitter feed. I am interested in connecting with early years professionals around the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s