Clay’s Dynamic Qualities

By Amber Norman

I would like to share a short story about a day in the Oak Room when clay was open for exploration. Now that it has been introduced to Oak Room children, this exceptional medium will be available most days. On this day, I noticed a group of children come to the clay and work with it for an extraordinarily long time. Many of the children who chose clay that day typically enjoy engaging in gross motor action play, and I observed an energy transfer into this dynamic material.

Earth (clay) is a heavy element, strong enough to absorb the energy moved into it. I noticed Colton gritting his teeth and punching it, transferring high energy into the clay and then shortly after that he serenely began “baking a birthday cake.” Diego used his fine motor muscles to squeeze and tear it. Children found so many stories in the clay. Calder made a rocket ship that was crashing, many loud sound effects went along with this imaginative use of the medium.

Clay is a medium that is there for us when we need to release energy in a healthy way. It is essential for children to express their feelings, and for us as adults to provide a safe and healthy space for them to do it. Clay can be used for expression not only artistic, but emotional, I have seen anger, frustration, excitement, and so much more transferred into the clay during exploration. It is truly a dynamic medium.

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