Exploring and experimenting with art materials is a great way to boost young kids' senses and motor skills. Help her to develop her creative side with this spring-inspired flower activity. Pick budding seasonal flowers from the garden, or select faux flowers from a craft store. Watch as your child presses the flowers into a modeling medium, and discovers the wonders of simple clay play.
Modeling clay or compound (make sure that it is soft and easily bendable)
Flowers (real or fake)
What You Do:
Discuss plants and flowers with your child. If possible, go outdoors to the yard or a park and look at real specimens. Talk about the different colors, shapes, and sizes. Ask her to think about why different flowers do not look the same.
Ask her to choose at least two different flowers. If real flowers are not available, try faux flowers from a craft store.
Help her roll a piece of clay out so that it is reasonably flat. Try to avoid rolling it too thin; this causes the clay to break apart.
Now she's ready to press a flower into the clay. After she firmly presses it in, have her gently remove to leave an impression in the clay.
Encourage her to repeat this technique using different flowers. She can experiment with the clay as she continues to press in the flowers. Try thick clay pieces, and then thin pieces to compare the different effects.
This activity can be used simply as a process based exercise, or she can create a more finished product. For the latter, try using white clay or modeling compound that can be colored using tempera paint. Have her add greens, pinks, yellows, and more to the flower impression for a vibrant finish.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.