When getting out the playdough, or goo-gak, or clay, the children always ask for more tools. We have rollers, and wire, and knives and the children just love them all. Certainly learning to manipulate a variety of tools is interesting and valuable in so many ways, but I wanted to back it up and start at the beginning. This week, as we are introducing clay we have asked the children to start with one tool- their hands. The children can be disappointed when they ask for tools and I reply, “Oh, we’re only going to use our hands today.” So today I wanted to remind them that our hands are actually our best clay tools.
We laid down canvas drop cloths over our circle rug and I asked the children if they had brought their tools today. There was a confused, “no” muttered among most of them. And then CL said, “Yes! It’s our hands!” Yes, someone had evidently already had this “no tools today, except our hands” conversation with me.
So while I cut small pieces of clay to pass around the children looked at their hands and named parts-
“we have fingers and palms”-AB
“And knuckles”- DB
“and finger nails!” – FC
And they talked about what their hands can do-
“Play with toys!”- ST
“And scratch and tickle!”- HE
“And I see ST holding up his head with his hands, and someone picking their nose right now”, I said, “Our hands can do so many, many things. Now I’m going to pass around clay to everyone and let your hands work on it. Raise your silent candle if you want to share with us something our hands can do with clay.”
They excitedly discovered so many things. We were all pressing, pounding, punching, pinching, rolling, twisting, slapping, indenting, and tearing. We couldn’t think of any other tool that could do all those amazing things!
And another exciting thing happened- when one child discovered something new, other children would try it as well without one complaint of, “they copied me”. We praised their inspiring one another and reminded them that copying and inspiration is how we learn. Come and see our documentation soon in the art studio!