I purchased some clay a few weeks ago for an art activity for my kids. We started creating some clay animals and we were so proud of our creations and what we worked on and I wanted to share our ideas with you.
I had not worked with polymer clay before, but it has quickly become one of my favorite art materials. It is easy to use and create with, plus it doesn’t dry out!
If you have not created with polymer clay before, it is a great material for kids to create with. The clay is easy to form into different shapes, it is not sticky on your hands, but it does stick to other pieces of polymer clay.
Therefore you don’t need lots of glue to make your creations. When you are done, they quickly bake in the oven and harden so they last.
We created several clay animals that turned out beautifully. You can simply create with the clay and make lots of great pieces of art. We decided to add a few little details to each of our clay animals. These are the animals that I have shared with you below.
Our animals are perfectly imperfect. The animals are intended to give kids ideas for simple clay animals that they can create and some ideas for extra details you can add using other materials.
Simply playing around with the clay and experimenting with what they can make can lead to amazing results.
As with all kids activities, adult supervision is needed. Only an adult should bake the clay and use the oven. Follow the directions on the clay package.
Racoon Clay Animal
Start with grey clay. I roughly molded the body of a mother raccoon and a smaller child. The body is cylinder shaped and then the face was a sphere. I pinched a bit of the clay up to create ears and pinched the clay forward to create a nose/mouth.
The mother raccoon is just under 3 inches tall. Although at this point, the clay could be just about any animal, the details I added once it was dry make it look like a racoon.
Once baked, and cooled, I covered the racoon with glue. I took a small piece of fuzzy wool and cut it up and pulled it apart so that it was like pieces of fur. I then covered the racoon with the pieces of wool.
You don’t have to add the wool, but I find that it adds a lot to the look of the clay animals and it is these extra details that make them unique.
Once the glue was dry, I then cut the black raccoon mask out of felt. I used felt for the ears, nose and tail stripes as well. Hot glue worked best to keep the felt stuck.
Once everything was dry, the raccoons were done! I used these critters many times at school for props for storytelling plays.
I like the idea of using just the clay to make animals, but I love adding the extra fuzzy look with the yarn. We will be making many more of these critters in the future!
Once we created the racoons, we were excited to keep using the clay and making lots of animals! A few of our other creations are below. I hope they give you and your kids ideas for simple creations and clay animals they can make.
The rainbow caterpillar is my favorite! Using 6 different colors, roll each into a ball. The ball for the head should be a bit bigger.
Next, string the balls onto a piece of bendable craft wire (link below). The wire is not essential, but it forms the caterpillar better.
I added some small black clay for little legs. Next, with a toothpick, I made two small holes in the head ball to be able to inset the antennae after it is baked.
Once baked, I used a bit of hot glue to secure the antennae, made from pipe cleaners, into the head. I glued on googly eyes and added some sparkly paint to some of the balls of the body.
You could make bigger, or smaller, caterpillars using the same structure. I liked using the wire because it helped keep the arch in the back, but I needed to be more careful to also stick the balls of the body together so that the wire didn’t show, but I’m still learning.
The clay horse is another simple idea for a clay animal. My daughter formed the animal and gave it all of the features of a horse.
We added to the polymer clay once it was baked by adding a mane and tail made from string and secured with hot glue. I personally love mixing materials when I create and do arts and crafts. I love the look of the string with the clay.
The clay lion is very simple to make. I made it with a group of young kids, and all of their clay animals turned out adorable. Basically you will need 9 circles of clay.
A large circle for the mane. A smaller circle for the face. 5 circles roughly the same size for the ears, nose and cheeks/mouth and two small circles for the inside of the ears.
Start by setting the face on top of the mane. I used a tooth pick to drag a line into the mane toward the face circle. Stick the other pieces on and then glue googly eyes once baked and cool.
We used the same idea for fur/hair as we used for the racoons. I cut yarn and added white glue to the mane. I then sprinkled the pieces of yarn onto the mane. Using the yarn adds a unique look and texture to the lion.
The butterfly is a great place to start with kids who have not worked with polymer clay before but want to create a clay animal. You need 4 small balls of clay for the wings and another color for the body.
Roll the 4 balls into circles and then squish them down with your thumb so that they are flat. Roll the other piece into a cylinder shape for the body and stick the wings to the body. You can add texture before baking with a toothpick.
Once baked, and cooled, we added some dabs of glue and then small gems to the wings. The gems work well with the clay and add some beautiful color and detail to the butterfly.
The final clay animal is a clay snail. I made the snail shell a rainbow. Take 6 balls of clay, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple and touch them together to make them stick.
Next, roll the balls so that they stay attached, but roll them out like a snake. Then coil the string of color clay around to create the shell.
Attach the shell to the body of the snail. Once the clay is baked and cooled, glue on a googly eye. We added some sparkly paint just for fun.
I hope that you try out polymer clay for your next art activity!
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more activities and ideas to do in the classroom, or at home with kids, below are some of my favourite and most popular learning activities.
From plasticine units and activities, to craft ideas and team building art, there are lots of things to keep kids busy and learning.