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Pottery for Young Children
Do you have a young child who loves art? Use this fun, hands-on lesson or "play date" activity to explore the world of pottery! I created this "lesson" to do as a two hour "play date" with my young children and some of their friends. Use this fun lesson with your class, family, or homeschool co-op group!
1. Pray. Read and discuss Psalm 95:3-5. Talk about God creating us like a potter creates a pot.
2. Read The Pottery Place by Gail Gibbons.
YOU WILL NEED: the book The Pottery Place by Gail Gibbons or other picture book on pottery
This was our favorite book about pottery. It includes much of the vocabulary related to pottery and explains the various aspects of creating pottery. It is written simply and has nice illustrations that keep the attention of even young children. If you click on the amazon.com link, you will be able to see the cover of the book.
3. If you have any pottery items, show them to the children. Talk about how the potter formed the bowl, vase, etc. with his or her own hands.
YOU WILL NEED: examples of pottery (such as kitchen bowls and flower vases)
4. Review some of the techniques used to throw a pot. Kinderart.com does a great job at explaining the basics in simple terms.
5. Have children make their own pinch pots using either regular clay or self-hardening clay (both easily purchased from a craft store) or play-dough. (Each child will need at least a golf ball sized amount of clay.) To make a pinch pot, the children will simply use their fingers to push around the clay to form a cup shape. They can use a toothpick to carve in designs. If you have enough clay, you can also allow them to create a coiled pot by rolling the clay into a long, snake-like strand and then circling it around to form a cup or bowl. If you'd like to get step-by-step instructions on how to make these two types of pots, go to Artforsmallhands.com. We used real clay, had the children make both types of pots, and then later took them to an art shop where they could be fired in a kiln.
YOU WILL NEED: regular clay or self-hardening clay (both easily purchased from a craft store) or play-dough, toothpicks, water, and something to cover the tables
This is a a great option if you do not have access to a kiln. It is fairly easy to work with and really does harden after a few days of sitting out in the open. The clay will shrink a tiny bit as it hardens. *If you don't care to go through the whole process of dealing with real clay and just want the children to have the experience of forming pots, using Play-Doh is a great option.
God is the Potter and We are the Clay
6. Remind the children of how God formed us just like they formed the pots. Did they have control over how their pot would turn out? Yes! God has control over how He made us, and He made each of us just the way He wanted us to be. Read The Little Clay Pot by Cheryl Kincaid.
YOU WILL NEED: the book The Little Clay Pot by Cheryl Kincaid
The Little Clay Pot by Cheryl Kincaid is a great picture book that follows the story of a lump of clay in the ground that is then scooped up and formed into a pot by a potter. It is based on Jeremiah 18 and has a wonderful message about how God has a use and plan for even "ordinary" pots.
Rice Krispie Treat "Clay"
7. Make Rice Krispie Treats by combining melted butter and marshmallows with Rice Krispies. Give each child a blob of the Rice Krispie-Marshmallow mixture on a sheet of wax paper. Spray their hands with non-stick cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking. Have the children form a person or animal out of our "clay." Eat the snack.
YOU WILL NEED: butter, marshmallows, Rice Krispies, a mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, wax paper, non-stick cooking spray, and cups for water
8. Review what we learned about pottery.
More of Our Favorite Picture Books Related to Pottery
A Potter by Douglas Florian is a short, simple book uses rhyming text to explain how a potter throws a pot on a wheel. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill tells the true story of a gifted potter who was a slave in South Carolina in the mid-1800's. He was also a poet, and so the book is written in poetic form. If you have older children, The Potters (Colonial Craftsmen) by Leonard Everett Fisher does a good job of describing how pottery was crafted during the colonial period. I did not read through this book because it is longer than my young children could sit through, but we did look through the illustrations together.
Great YouTube Clips on Pottery
Looking for all of my art lessons?
- Sculpting for Young Children - Examine works by Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, and others and the recreate their works through soap carvings, pizza dough sculpting, mobile making, and more!
- Pottery for Young Children - Create pinch pots, form animals out of Rice Krispie Treat "Clay," examine various types of pottery and more in this fun, hands-on lesson or "play date" activity to explore the world of pottery!
- Leonardo da Vinci: The Artist - This is part 1 of a 3 part hands-on unit study on Leonardo da Vinci: The Artist, Scientist, & Inventor. This lesson will cover his work as an artist. Sculpt a horse, use watercolors to paint a bird, practice drawing using perspective, and more!
- Medieval Art Lesson - Mix together and paint with egg yolk paint, design and eat stained glass window cookies, create colorful tapestries, and more as you examine Medieval Art.
- Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 40 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!