A Lesson Plan for Kindergarten Art: Clay Tiles

A Lesson Plan for Kindergarten Art: Clay Tiles

This is a step by step lesson plan for art teachers looking for one more way to engage those oh so hard to plan for kindergartners. This one is how to make clay impression tiles that can be hung on the wall or used as trivets and will engage the children not only in the clay but in objects found in nature and artistic concepts that are sometimes hard to grasp.

Outcomes:  To have the experience of creating with clay, making a tile with clay, using other items to make impressions or stamps in the clay and learning about the concept of form following function and art that serves a physical purpose. 

Materials:  Low fire earthen ware clay that has the AP symbol on it-safe for elementary school children to work with (make clay into 5×5 inch tiles ahead of time and seal into a plastic bag to keep moist), cloth to spread on tables (or large sheet of paper), a pencil that you don’t mind getting clay on, an old rolling pin that will never again touch bread dough, many items from nature to create prints with-pinecones and branches, seed pods from various plant life, sea shells, hedge apples (Osage orange) etc., trays to put them on, squares of felt to cut up on put on bottom after firing, glue and the children’s own two hands.

Art History component:  Look at tiles from history that are also ‘works of art’ and when talking about them discuss how they are functional useful pieces first and beautiful second.

If possible have a tile trivet or wall tile to show as an example.  Talk about the where clay comes from-its dirt from the ground J. 

Steps: 

  1. Talk about tiles and clay and show examples.  Take questions and discuss. 
  2. Show an example of what they will be making (a flat tile approx. ¼ inch deep with impressions gently made using found things from nature.  Don’t let your impressions go too deep or your tile will crack.  Have this done before hand.)
  3. Have cloth or paper already taped onto tables so that it does not stick to the table, have children sit at their spots.
  4. Demonstrate how to press an item gently into clay without going through the bottom and show children the resulting print.. 
  5. Pass out tiles-leaving a piece of paper in-between tiles will cut down on the tiles sticking together.
  6. Pass out trays with nature items on them for children to share.  Encourage children not to pick up the tile until completely finished with impressions.
  7. As children are working walk around the room and make sure children are not pressing too hard and going through the bottom of the tiles.
  8. Pick a number of items, three or four, and allow them to make that many impressions.  This will keep the clay from getting too dry to make good prints and keep them from ‘muddying’ up their wonderful work..
  9. When finished, teacher will scratch children’s name into bottom of tile with a pencil and put hole into top so the tile can be hung as well as used.
  10. Let the tile dry to green ware and fire following firing instructions on the clay and kiln. 
  11. After tiles are fired, pass out felt and good scissors.  Have children cut out about four little pieces and glue onto four corners.  Have them judge the pieces by making them about the size of their thumb.   Take them home and Enjoy!

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