We use play dough and clay on a regular basis when working with children. Our aim is always to enhance fine motor skills, specifically hand strength, coordination and dexterity in preparation for writing in school.
Besides all the life skills that the young child can learn from those activities there is also something quite profound happening. We create something that grows from an idea, through our hands, into reality.
It is beautiful for children to play and experience what their hands can do and how they can mould a piece of dough or clay into different shapes, sculptures, humans or balls.
We have observed shy children become outgoing and expressive with a ball of clay, hyperactive learners become still and centred, and children who struggle with concentration focus on the task at hand. Children become engaged and work with focus and determination on a little clay sculpture.
By seeing what we can do with our hands and eyes while working in collaboration with each other, children receive valuable feedback and reflect on their lives.
Sculpting is a way to communicate the inner to the outer world and when given positive feedback and held in a safe space without judgement, it can boost a child’s confidence, emotional wellbeing and build new brain connections. The activiy let’s children know that they can do something, that they are perfect as they are, and that we as adults, caregivers, therapists, and educators support them with commitment and an understanding of the sensitivity, beauty and richness of a child’s soul.
“The spirit of childhood is to be protected and nurtured. It is an essential part of every human being and needs to be kept alive.” (Alliance of childhood)
by Regina Broenner