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  • Writer's pictureKeith

Weekly Activities - Natural Clay Coasters



Book of the week

The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton.


Synopsis

Once day Joe decides to plant a seed on his balcony, he waits and waits but nothing happens! Joe gives up and goes back to his daily life, but one day when he least expects it he spots that the seed has turned into the most beautiful tree. Joe begins caring for the tree and growing lots of other plants on his balcony and soon everyone in the neighbourhood is getting involved. A charming story about the important of nature.


Weekly Activities

Our activity this week supported the children to be imaginative and to experiment in using a combination of different natural materials and media to create natural clay coasters.


We started off by going flower picking, showing the children how to carefully pick one or two flower heads, making sure to leave the remaining plant intact or to pick wild flowers/weeds that were in abundance (e.g. daisies, dandelions and buttercups). Once they'd collected their flowers and leaves we headed to the arts and crafts table where we had put out some air drying clay for them to use. We showed the children how to take a handful of clay and roll it around on the table using the palm of their hand to create a ball. They then flattened the ball onto a sheet of paper to make a clay disc either using their hands or a rolling pin (the paper was to stop the clay sticking to the table). Some used petals and leaves while others used whole flowers to press into the clay to make a some fabulous patterns/collages. We left the clay out to air dry and go hard so they could be taken home.


We talked about which flowers and weeds it was ok to pick, and which weren't. We talked about the various vibrant colours, shapes and texture of the flowers and also how the clay felt in our hands (which many of the children loved to squish between their fingers!). We discussed why the children had chosen the pattern they did and compared coasters to the ones our friends had made.


Aims and Objectives

  • Help initiate conversations

  • To develop fine motor skills

  • To support awareness and interest of shapes, textures and smells in the environment

  • To use mathematical language to describe shapes

  • To explore media and materials and mark making, to have the opportunity to be creative

  • Encourage the children to use descriptive language

  • To be able to follow instruction

  • Help to develop forms of self expression


Home Activity

Make your own natural coaster at home with your child using this classic salt dough recipe.


Ingredients:

  • 500 g plain flour – self raising flour will make the salt dough bubble as it dries especially in the oven

  • 250 g table salt – any fine cooking salt will work

  • 125 ml warm water


Method:

  • Mix together the flour and the salt in large bowl

  • Add the warm water slowly mixing together at the same time

  • When combined turn out onto a lightly floured surface

  • Knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic

  • This dough can be stored for a couple of weeks in an air tight container or ziplock bag with the air expelled

  • Collect some natural plants, flowers, weeds etc to press into your salt dough

  • Once your coaster is made either leave to air dry (this can take anywhere from 24 hours up to about a week) or p lace in the oven at 150C for around 1hr (check as it may need longer)



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