3D Modelling with Early Years

One of the key elements in visual art is form – shape in three dimensions. So you should be including form in your art planning.

There are loads of different materials you can use for modelling but you can start by introducing the children to different clays and doughs. Today we used silk clay and foam clay. But mineral clay is also a fantastic medium as is dough.

Last week, whilst I was away, the children played with the foam clay. So this week I brought along some circle and sphere collage materials for them to incorporate with the clays. Each type of clay was laid out on a separate table.

Sarah, who is around 18 months old, came over and started to explore the collage materials. She wanted to move them from one bowl into another. So I gave her a chocolate box tray to sort into. After a while she started to get a bit lively, tipping whole bowls of collage into other bowls and getting the materials everywhere. I removed most of the collage items but left her with the wood slices which she then started to stick into the silk clay.


One of the aims was to get the children to make balls with the clay by rolling it between the palms of their hands or rolling it round on the table underneath their palms. In the end I did most of the rolling but the children enjoyed me making them ‘bubbles’ as Toby called them.

Part of the collage materials were plastic bottle tops. May discovered that she could balance the polystyrene balls on these and they wouldn’t roll away. She also lined them up neatly.

The silk clay is one fantastic material. It’s soft, stretchy and feels really silky. The children enjoyed stretching and pulling at it. Then they had great fun sticking the collage materials into it.

The children all enjoyed exploring these materials and using them in different ways.

All the materials I used for this activity are available on our website. Take a browse round our site or request a catalogue.

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