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Terra Cotta Ceramic Owl Project

clay projects for kidsI tried this ceramic thumb owl project out this week, and loved the simplicity of it.

I have learned that children really enjoy working with clay, but class-wide skill levels vary so much that it’s not easy to find ideas that work for everyone, or even almost everyone. I had some students make these owls out last year, which they painted with acrylics after they were dry, but in the end the size and bumpy texture made for some super messy results. They enjoyed the color options that acrylics offered, but then sometimes the beginning owl idea got lost on the process. This year they are creating them in terra cotta clay, which will be fired to a brick-like finish, and then called done, in all their reddish-brown glory.

• Terra Cotta ceramic clay
• Small container of water
• Old cap from Sharpie Brush marker, which has two circles inside
• Stick for scratching
• Kiln

1. Students get a small ball of clay. They rub water on it a few times and work it in their hands to make it soft.2. The clay is rolled in their hands into a smooth ball.
3. The ball is stuck onto one of their thumbs.
4. The ball is squeezed to make it more like a tube.
5. Students pinch owl ears at the top, and a small oval to make a beak, and press a marker cap to make double eyes. A stick is used to scratch some feather lines. The student’s initials are scratched into the back.
6. The owl is dried completely, and then fired in a kiln.