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SShirley

Project Ideas For Kids

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My grandkids are going to be coming to the studio off and on over the summer starting next week, and I'm looking for projects they might like.  I've searched online and found some cute ideas, but thought I might throw it out there and see if anybody has different, fun suggestions.

 

They are ages 4 (boy), 6 (girl), 10 (girl) and 12 (boy).  I thought I'd let the oldest two try the wheel, plus some slab projects and a pinch pot.  Probably slab stuff for the youngest two.

 

I'm not really good with kids, and have never done classes or anything like that, so I'm a little scared.  We have been estranged for 5 years and just reconnected two weeks ago, so I hoped this would be a good way to get to know them again.  They will be coming to the studio one at a time, so I don't have to do the same things with all of them.  I know the little guy has a short attention span.  The oldest boy is obsessed with technology, so he may not be interested in such a low-tech thing as clay.

 

Some of the ideas I had were:

Whistles

Slab bowls

A cup

Wind chimes

Refrigerator magnets

Slab turtles

Owls

Slab dogs

 

Any other suggestions will be much appreciated.  Or places to look online.

 

Thanks,

 

Sylvia

 

 

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At the art center here this summer they had an art camp and the kids made pinch pot animals, bird houses, name plaques and something with fish ie trays with fish shapes pressed into it, fish themselves, bowls made to look like fish, etc. basically anything they wanted as long as it has something fishy about it. The animals the kids came up with were really cute and original some decided to make combo pets like an eledogbird meaning an elephant dog bird animal.

 

Kids have TONS of imagination and will sprout quickly and exuberantly as long as they know they will not be criticized for their ideas they may not have the technique to match you but their determination to get their idea out will out match you any day of the week. I would also suggest doing a demo on the wheel; during open studio here the kids went crazy when they saw someone making the clay "dance" on the wheel. You don't even have to make an actual object just make the clay do different shapes and I think you will not be surprised to have one of them ask, "can I do that?

 

Also have cool stuff they can press into the clay it's always a winner as well. Relax you will do fine; take a relaxed attitude and let them guide you as to what they might like to do. Heck the 4 year old might just have fun smashing balls of clay and pushing shapes into it then smoothing it back together and starting all over again.

 

Terry

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I know Pres has done courses, for younger school aged children, and I've seen him post many suggestions before.  I'm sure he'll wander in, and give a lot of good project ideas.

 

The list that you have, seems very good as well. 

 

The biggest issue, one I know Pres will back up, is you have to keep attention span in mind.  The ten and twelve year old, will do better, especially if they have the initial interest in the project.  If not, it will be a little more work.  But the four and six year old will most likely be very enthusiastic at first, but lose interest relatively quickly. 

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I've had my 6 year old on the wheel and she did wonderfully. My 8 year old did well too. My 4 year old hasn't asked but I would certainly let her try if she showed interest. She mostly just enjoys watching me. I have a lot of experience with kids and what I find to be the best is to present them with two or three options and allow them to chose. It helps for them to have an example even if it is just a picture of what the end result will be and you would guide them on how to get there but let them take their own direction creatively. I always set up my wedged balls ahead of time for them but set one aside to teach them how to. experience has taught me to not use their wedged ball because I have had one explode in the kiln and take other pots out in its path.

 

Another option they might enjoy are personalized garden stepping stones. They can use underglaze to paint on it or even scrafito or slip trailing. You could find leaves, pine cones and branches in the yard to give it texture . . .

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Youngerkids love some mess, especilly if you are enthusiastic about slip pressed hand prints on anything slab. Change trays, fridge magnets, serving trays with cool pinched or rolled handles, even animal handles! Fit the project to the age. Yeah they can lose interest fast, so keep it short unttil you learn their span. Older ones, after a first flat slab. Do a candle box or oil infusion box. Candle cut both sides from a corner in a 1/2 curved cone-the neat opening impresses. Don't cut all the way down leaving an edge to collect excess wax. Scented oil box cut wholes in top, and cut irregular for lock on. Try them all on the wheel, helping lots, but letting them fail, when they are near the edge, help them succeed enough to fire. These should keep the interest, but to understand it is work.

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sshirley, look at the post about dish detergent and notice the website in bciske's post.  i followed it a little and found lots of things for kids to do.  (of course, not buying one ounce colors for $3+ or molded bisque.)

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I can tell you what I did with my son from 2-4 we made snakes, from 4-6 dinasoars,  from 6-12 fossils and at 12 I taught him some throwing.  The little girl is at a good age to make pendants for jewelery.   Denice.

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Thanks!  These are all great suggestions.  I'm getting the studio straightened up to make more room for making a mess.  I'm really starting to look forward to it.  

 

Sylvia

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I have taught kids from 8 to 14 yrs old and two of their favorite projects were making time capsule sarcophagi which I picked up from John Posts website, and sculpting Lego characters with paperclay that I came up with from a sticker book which had tons of ideas.

 

My granson, who is 9, has been sculpting with paperclay for a couple of years. I love that it is so forgiving that you can mend anything up until it's fired.

 

A great first project for anyone is a "blended bowl". Just a slab textured randomly that you tear apart and then blend back together in a form.

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The smaller kids will lose interest quickly. One way to give them instant gratification is to roll out a slab and give them a cooky cutter... Instant christmas tree ornements. They also love stamps. If you have little stamps you can cut out pendants from the clay and let them stamp and glaze them.

 

Just try and go in the direction they want to go, then step aside.

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It sounds like you are on the right track. One thing you need to explain to kids is that ceramic clay is different then Playdough and has different rules. John Post has great ways of explaining it to kids as well as great project ideas. Unfortunately,his website seems to have disappeared. I emailed him to find out where it went but haven't heard back yet. Another really helpful website is www.artforsmallhands.com- you can search by age or search "clay". Also check the education section here. There have been many discussions about projects for kids there. You may have to look in the archives. By the way, Old Lady, can you please explain your reply- where can I find the posts you are referring to?

Morah

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Thanks Old Lady. That is a fun technique. I've done it with kids- you just have to be sure that they are old enough to know how to blow out instead of inhaling as they normally would with a straw. A mouth full of glaze and dish soap is not ideal!

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