There is no end to the variety of ‘textures’ that you can explore in your texture kitchen. Whilst we are all probably very used to adding mud and sand, other materials like dough and clay can really extend the learning possibilities.
If you created an outdoor dough making station, then children can not only experiment with creating the ‘ideal’ consistency for their dough, they can also add lots of ‘stuff’ to it – like grass, petals and stones etc.
Outdoor Ice cream dough making station
Children can also use their dough for pattern making on and around natural resources.
Grove Street Primary
Another enhancement that also offers lots of potential is clay. By its very composition, clay will add more resistance and take more effort to ‘work’ than generic dough, but it is more robust for modelling and shaping.
Originally, I had intended to just give the children a solid block of clay and let them select how much they wanted or needed. The particular clay that I used was SO solid, that they would have literally need a pick axe and about 3 days to get a lump off!
So, I made the decision to portion it up in advance although I didn’t put any restriction onto how much clay they used. The little carved wooden jug, the spoons and carved wooden bowl are all available on Ebay.
Hessian is ideal for clay work as not only does it have a great texture of its own, it also works as an ‘anti slip’ mat allowing the children to really manipulate what they are doing. you can also use it to transfer pattern and texture into your clay creation.
You might also want to add water to your clay station so that the children can observe the change of texture and composition to their clay when water is added.
As well as creative modelling, the texture kitchen can also give the children purpose to their clay work using cups and bowls etc for inspiration.
I have been lucky enough to travel to Australia to do some work over there. While I was there I was also able to spend some time with children learning with a Bush School approach. One of my inspirations for my clay station set up was this clay station in the bush at Upper Sturt Primary School in Adelaide. The clay was presented on bark ‘trays’ and the children worked with it around their own inspirations and creativity.
Upper Sturt Street Primary
Upper Sturt Street Primary
Whilst I was wandering through the bush, observing children at play, I came across these creations. The children had found a piece of wood and wedged it into the fork of a tree to create a display shelf! Genius.
Tomorrow…berry paint and potions…
NB: Avoid letting clay dry out on fabric or surfaces as this can create ‘clay dust’, which can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities. It isn’t a problem if you keep everything damp by misting .