Working with Clay in Preschool



Working with Clay in Preschool

I’ve had the privilege of visiting several Reggio Emilia-influenced preschools, and I noticed the love they have for working with clay. I was intrigued. And then I read this article from Let the Children Play and really wanted to incorporate it into our classroom….

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What is clay, and how do preschoolers benefit from using it? I searched the internet and found this article most helpful.
preschool clay activities
And so, when my co-teacher decided to add clay to our art table, I was thrilled! 
Preschool Clay Activities
We gave each child a bit of clay with no instructions.
preschool clay activities
We observed as they touched it. Then placed their palms on it. How does it feel, I asked. 
Like dirt.
preschool clay activities
Then we gave them pony beads to poke into them. (Note: because these are small and a choking hazard, the preschoolers were supervised the entire time.)
preschool clay activities


Poking and pinching works those fingers!
preschool clay activities
Because clay isn’t as soft as play dough, they have to work their fingers and palms a bit more.
preschool clay activities
Preschool clay activities
After squishing and poking, the preschoolers rolled the clay flat and pressed more beads into it.
preschool clay activities
First clay creations.
Preschool clay actvities
Clay Materials Available from Amazon:




About Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper is the founder of Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a website full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers. She has been teaching this age group for over 15 years and loves to share her passion with teachers, parents, grandparents, and anyone with young children in their lives.


  1. Stephanie Schuler says:

    What a great activity! And I bet that it’s pretty cheap in terms of collecting the right supplies!

    • Sheryl Cooper says:

      Oh yes, Stephanie! And so worth it, because they really enjoy the process. Thanks for reading!

  2. Emma @ P is for Preschooler says:

    It’s always so fun watching children experience a material for the first time and seeing what they do with it – usually not what you’d expect! (At least that’s been the case with my own daughter!)

  3. vivian mcdermott says:

    It is sad that some services,do not have clay accessible.
    This is a really great activity and so simple