One of my goals in teaching my kids to do crafts is to help them discover hobbies they can do for life. To that end, we don’t do a lot of “kid crafts.” I try to find simple versions of adult crafts for them to practice, and eventually grow into. My oldest daughter discovered this form of clay crafting on her own; it has since become a family favorite.
Create dollhouse (or fairy-house) sized miniature objects from clay. These objects can then be used in play or other learning activities.
- Sculpey Clay (oven-drying)
- We usually stock up when Michael’s puts the individual color blocks on sale.
- Pasta Machine
- Optional, but lots of fun and very useful; my oldest daughter received the Atlas machine as a Christmas gift one year.
- Rolling pin if you don’t have a pasta machine
- Basic clay tools
One fun and simple project to start with is clay “canes.”
- First “condition” the clay by passing it through the pasta machine (or rolling flat with a rolling pin) several times. This softens the clay and makes it more pliable. My kids could spend hours passing clay through the pasta machine.
- Next, create a cane using one of these Simple Polymer Clay Canes tutorials. Allow imperfections in the canes for younger kids; they turn out very artsy looking!
- Slice the canes as described in the above tutorial. You can make “cookie” slices for dolls, or thicker slices for “beads.” (If beads, poke a hole through each one with a thick needle before baking.) Thick slices can also be used as counters for games or math manipulatives.
- Bake and cool as directed on the package.
Tutorials for making an endless variety of miniature clay food can be found on the internet. Many of these require additional supplies such as pastels, glazes, and resins. Some of our favorites:
Another fun project my daughter enjoyed was creating miniature clay koi ponds. The stones are aquarium gravel, and the “water” is clear resin. Tutorials for this project can be found on Small Creations and My Tiny World.
Bits and pieces of clay projects can be reassembled into dioramas, such as this mermaid cavern.