Play-based learning has gained immense popularity in recent times. People are waking up to the benefits of activity-based learning and learning by doing even more. Educationists carefully innovate new methods of activity-based learning and suggest ideas to create an ambience of learning for children whether in the preschool or even at home.
In fact, the concept of play-based learning has been into existence in both the Montessori method of teaching as well as the Kindergarten method in different levels. However, as newer methods of teaching develop and researchers think of newer activities to engage and help the child develop in different faculties, some games and activities remain timeless. One such activity is the use of Clay in early learning.
Clay moulding has been one of the most popular methods of engaging a child. There’s something about the touch and feel and versatility of clay which makes it a popular choice with kids. The very touch and feel of the clay can be soothing and calming. Although some children may be hesitant to explore it, with gentle persuasion the child will eventually hold the clay in his hand or hold it against his cheek to feel the coolness of it. They may eventually start to roll it, knead it and make different shapes.
One of the most important function that clay moulding plays in early learning of the child is improving her fine motor skills which are a prerequisite to writing. In order to master the act of writing the child needs to develop muscle strength of the entire arm, the elbows, the wrist and the fingers. Pounding the clay, rolling it, making shapes help develop different muscles of the arm and hence contribute to pre-writing skills of the child.
Playing with clay also encourages creativity and improves eye-hand coordination another aspect necessary for developing writing skills. It also makes for a great group activity. It is easily available and inexpensive. It can also be made at home using simple materials such as dough and food colour. So now that you know of the various benefits of playing with clay treat your child to some clay material and observe her blossom.