Introducing Clay & Balancing

Introducing Clay & Balancing


Dear Roots family and friends-

Hello! This week in the Roots room, the Dots were introduced to clay. It was so intriguing to see them explore with this natural material. They rolled it out with their arms and palms, pounded it and squished the clay flat with their fists, picked and squeezed the clay between their fingers, poked and jabbed the clay, rolled the clay into balls and lines, and stacked and balanced the clay.

While the Dots were exploring with the clay, a few of the following explanations were heard-

“It’s sticky! It sticks to my board.”     “It’s like a pancake all flat.”     “This is so hard.”    

“It smells like chocolate!”     “It’s soft.”     “Did someone stick water in here (the clay)? It’s sticking to my hand!” 

“This is so hard and sticky.”     “This feels squishy!”


Annabel exploring the clay by “smushing” it between her hands.

Clay is a natural material which has many positive benefits- it fosters fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem solving, creativity and expression, as well as social and emotional skills.

As the week went on, the Dots went from squeezing and smashing the clay to creating rolling it out and shaping it into formations.

The Dots began to advance in their skill set.

Lines, shapes, balancing. Creating with clay involves mathematics!

Exploring with the clay, the Dots went through trial/error and cause/effect. We observed them attempting to stick pieces of clay together, attempting to stack pieces upwards, etc.

After the Dots explored and created the clay for a few days, Ms. Amy came into the art class and demoed the clay with the Roots. She introduced clay tools to the Dots and did a risk assessment on the tools to ensure that the Roots understood the importance of safety and their usage.

Ms. Amy also introduced the Roots to new vocabulary, “slip” and “score.”

Scoring = making horizontal and vertical lines on clay in order to stick pieces of clay together.

Slipping = clay paste or clay glue. It’s a mixture of water and clay.

The slip goes on the scored portion of clay and together, scoring and slipping connect pieces of clay together.

The Roots trying out the new clay tools.

This week in the Roots class, the Dots also showed an interest in balancing in multiple areas of their play.

When the Dots are balancing materials and as well as themselves, their fine motor and gross motor skills are being supported, as well as their confidence and social and emotional skills.

Oh the symmetry and patterning!

Question: What would you guess the structure is that Madison and Quinn created?

Answer: “Telephonio.”

Stacking and balancing in her transformation play, Annabel created a castle.

Phoebe lined the entire circumference of the mirror table by standing blocks vertically. When she was finished, her creation was, “a house.”

Such concentration!

Jack also balanced blocks on top of each other creating the same symmetry and patterning as his peers did a couple days ago. Once he was done, he balanced blocks singly on top of one another on each side of his structure.

Smayana and Amelia discovered it was going to be difficult to balance a curve on top of the point of a triangle that they couldn’t quite reach! The girls were in the process of building a tower with people on it when the photograph was taken. Smayana’s reflexes kicked in and she was able to jump out of the way before a block met her head. This provided a perfect opportunity for a risk assessment- “What do you think could happen if a tower fell and you were on the other side?” 

After their tower was built, the girls lined up the wooden figures around the circumference of the white block and around the triangle peak.

Now that Dots have been introduced to clay tools as well as the way to score and use slip for connecting pieces of clay together, we are very interested to see what the Roots will create and design next week with the clay. Will they further incorporate their interests in balancing and building that they have portrayed in the block area into the language of clay? I guess time will tell and meanwhile-

Have a safe and wonderful weekend- Ms. Tanya and Ms. Krista