Clay Self Portraits

Here is a new twist on traditional self portraits!  

Children love themselves!  We know, according to early childhood theorists, that young children first focus on themselves before focusing on others.  Traditionally, we ask children to represent their likeness through drawing.  

In this invitation, we are giving the children the opportunity to sculpt a portrait out of clay.

Using different materials to represent the same thing in different ways requires flexible thinking.  This is a great cognitive skill. It also requires different fine motor movements, which is ultimately great for building those writing skills in the future.

What you need:

  • mirror for each child (I bought ours at the Dollar Tree)
  • air hardening natural clay (you can get some here at this referral link)
  • paper to use as a base
  • small bowl of water
  • clay tools, optional (you can get some here at this referral link)

How to Play:

Give each child a mirror and a piece of paper as a base.  Cut a small slab of clay for each child.  Encourage children to look at their faces.  What do they see?  Eyes?  Ears?  Nose?  Can they make that with the clay?

You may want to show children how to make spheres and coils out of the clay.  If they ask for tools, you can give them traditional tools or toothpicks.  

Take a photograph their finished product!  The clay will self-harden but it often become brittle and breaks easily over time. 

I love watching the progression of understanding as children discover their reflection and how to represent this using the clay.  
Girl making faces in mirror

Girl looking into mirror

Girl smiling in mirror
Quinlan first picked apart her slab of clay to make smaller pieces.  She almost seemed to be more interested in her reflection than she was in making a representation.  After spending several minutes (about 5) exploring what the inside of her mouth looked like, she created this...

Quinlan combined all the small pieces of her clay to create the outline of her face.  She knew she needed two eyes.  She decided to make a coil for the left side of her face, because her hair covers her ear on that side. 

Everyone in the family took turns making their self portraits.

Do you want to see the children in action? See the video below:

No comments:

Post a Comment