Polymer clay is the crème de la crème of sculpture play with littles. It’s a little more finicky and a little more expensive than other sculpture play options, but the result is so stinkin’ cute. This process is great for 3+ humans, including adults who also love to play with this fun medium.
- Polymer clay
- Clay tools (rolling pins and toothpicks will be just fine)
- Dino figurines or pictures to look at while brainstorming/sculpting
- Magnets and a glue gun
- Talk with children about their observations of the parts of a dinosaur (body! Tail! Head! Legs! Spikes!)
- Model how to flatten chunks of clay using tools and how to “roll snakes“ out of the clay for body parts. Model how to create texture on the Dino skin using the clay tools. Some children may need help breaking off pieces and rolling them, especially smaller parts like the eyes.
- The children will have lots of ideas! Ask them questions to guide them through bringing their sculpture ideas to life.
- This process will look different at each age. Follow your childrens’ lead and help support the successful execution of their ideas.
Tips and Tricks
DO: make sure adjoining clay pieces are securely joined together.
DON’T: make your clay creations too thick. They will be more difficult to harden in the oven.
When the children are finished, you can follow the directions on the clay package to bake. We baked these creations for about 25 minutes on 250 degrees F.
Even though polymer clay is non toxic and supposed to be safe to bake in your home oven, I find it a bit stinky and I don’t like baking it in the same place we prepare food. We have a small toaster oven in our art studio exclusively for polymer clay baking.
When these are finished, I hot glued magnets to the backs so my little artists can enjoy proudly displaying them on their refrigerators at home.
Process over Product
Art play for children is about the process, not the product. When your child is “done”, the sculpture could look different than you envisioned it would. Celebrate their process as it is! Children see the world differently than we do.
There’s nothing better than seeing the finished sculptures created from the perspective of small children. I hope you get to experience this fun and rewarding process at home with your little artists soon. Enjoy!