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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have begun a new course entitled "Making Learning Fun." For the most part it is a repeat of my last two courses--very helpful with my brain! Anyway, I was just reading a segment on using clay with young children.

Both of the articles are very enthusiastic about including clay play with young children. They state how great it is for little ones to get down to "earth" and play in the clay. Clay has a whole different texture than play dough and let's the children experience a fun medium. They also give lots of examples of how to start clay play. But, I have some concerns.

One article is totally immersed in the aspect of exposing children to clay. The author has no apprehension and has so many great ideas. It sounds fun.

Then article two, the author again is positive about playing with clay, but she has lots of "stipulations." Here is where I became concerned. She states that clay dust could be harmful if inhaled too often, children should wash their hands in buckets before using the sink as the clay could clog pipes, watch for certain types of clay--make sure you always purchase talc-free moist clay as talc contains asbestos, watch for mold, never let the children touch their face or mouth when using the clay, etc.

I was wondering if there were any people out there who commonly use clay with their children? How is the experience? I'm just looking for some feedback. Thanks.

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Anjanette Young said...

I would like to know this too. We just started working with clay, than I read the warning.

I know not to inhale the dust, but it is hard for a child to keep that in mind.

Glad you were able to stop by...

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice said...

sorry I am of NO help here BUT i was wondering if you were going to post more about centers?

PS you need a blog button...anyone know how to do these? MAKE ONE FOR HER! ;)

Patti said...

Our school used to have a large wooden board with a huge hunk of clay on it. We kept it covered with tarp most of the time. It could be brought out into our gross motor room, outside, or into a classroom whenever needed. Multiple children could play with it at once because it was HUGE. We usually put the thing on the floor because it's so heavy and big and so kids could walk on it if they wanted to.

I asked about it the other day and apparently it's dried up. Clay is hard work to make wet again. I've never been told of any special precautions, but since we only ever used it as a big hunk to push, pull, twist, and sculpt we never had to worry about dust. We never made anything out of it to keep.

I believe the clay was natural, unprocessed clay as it was very red. I live in an area of the country with LOTS of red clay (just check out my backyard). I think it's good for kids to feel. Since it's harder to manipulate than play dough it's good muscle exercise.