Clay seems to be a favorite with children
everywhere. There is something about the hands-on tactile experience that
everyone loves. But just because they love working with clay, doesnít mean
they donít need to learn some basics to get the most out of it. One time
at a church youth night my mom and I had set up a table full of slabs of
colorful, fresh clay with tools and accessories such as toothpicks, wiggly
eyes and feathers. We invited the kids to create their own "outer space
creatures". We expected the results to be highly individual. But we were
surprised to see that, outside of a few of the oldest kids, most ended
up making creatures that looked indistinguishable from each other.
Their creations all remained in the original slab form with eyes, feathers and toothpicks stuck in them. They were formless identical creatures. How did this happen? We finally realized that it was because the younger children hadnít yet learned the importance of kneading the clay until it was really flexible to work with it better. It never occurred to them that they could "mold" the clay into a variety of shapes! They just used it as a hard lump on which to stick accessories. Yet the project was still a success Ö each child was happy and satisfied with the end result because it was his/her own creation. And we realized that, with a little help in the future, they would all learn about the process of kneading and molding and would grow in their ability to create more and more elaborate clay objects.
Editors Note: For Ramona's inspiration for this project, please read the Abundance of the Heart - Molded by the Master Potter.
We can use working with clay in one long lesson or two separate lesson sessions to emphasize two principles:
pictures of a wide variety of animal life, particularly animals that have unique qualities such as the giraffe with its long neck, the platypus that looks like a patchwork of other animals, the kangaroo with its powerful hind legs and tiny forelegs and its pouch for its young
Then remind the children that God gave them creative abilities like His, only on a much smaller scale. And just as He enjoyed His own creative efforts (as recorded in Genesis 1), He wants them to enjoy using the creativity which He built into them.
Suggest that they use the clay to see what kinds of unusual pretend creatures they can design.
Related Bible verses:
Gen 1:31 "God saw all that he had made, and it was very goodÖ"
Gen 2:4-7 "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-- and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-- the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."
Isa 45:9 "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'?"
Isa 64:8 " Yet,
O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are
all the work of your hand."
By Ramona Leiter