Looking for ways to guide play dough time into some hands on learning adventures? Generally speaking, most kids do pretty well figuring that out on their own, but if you’re trying to build some discreet fine motor skills, explore color mixing, or textures, try these fifteen process based clay activities!
Pick one or two to show your kids each time you play and then let them experiment with that technique as long as they’re excited about it. Even something as simple as you doing the activity alongside them will pique their interest. Kids love to copy what they see us doing!
15 Process Based Clay Activities
- Roll balls – on the table or between two hands! For fun, try pairing up with your child to roll a ball between one of your hands and one of theirs! That is serious coordination – and a lot of laughs.
- Squish the balls down flat!
- Work on making flat surfaces even – with a roller or by hand
- Squish balls of dough in the air, trying for the same effect – kids will see and feel the difference when they don’t have the table supporting their work.
- Feel for evenness with fingertips – great time to discuss textures like bumpy, smooth, thick, thin
- Look for even rolling from the side – try putting a popsicle stick on top of the clay to see if it lays flat
- Pinch off even pieces of clay – works on pincher skills and dividing evenly
- Roll a long snake of clay – a different kind of rolling activity and can also be used to practice even thickness or tapering
- Cut with plastic knife or tool – popsicle sticks work well for this too
- Cut into even sized pieces
- Roll tiny balls or beads of clay – focus on making them the same size
- Mix two colors and see what color you get – have kids guess beforehand what the two colors will make when blended.
- Knead clay, especially awesome if you’ve mixed two colors to see it transform
- Cross-hatch (make tiny criss cross lines) into the sides of two balls of clay, and “stick” the balls together.
- Roll two snakes of clay, and twist them together for a 3D textured effect
As with most clay activities for young children, there probably will not be an end product, and that is perfectly okay! There’s so much to be learned through some easy-going play activities like these! I hope these 15 process based clay activities help you guide your play with your preschooler at home!
If your child does want to use some of these techniques to build or shape the clay into a final product, check out my guest post at Melissa & Doug today – it’s all about simple ways to craft handmade Christmas ornaments with clay!
–>>PIN THIS to your preschool activities or fine motor skills board for the next time kids want to play with dough!
This post is in partnership with my guest post for Melissa & Doug. All opinions are my own.