Have you ever wanted to add resistance for strengthening the writing muscles of the hands? Writing in clay is a perfect way to do this. This week we made letters out of clay/playdoh, and had the kids write letters on a clay tracing board. I used a little chalkboard that I got from oriental trading company, and have seen similar ones at Michaels as well. I then had the kids smash soft clay onto the chalkboard, which is great for working on hand strength before we even get to the writing part. I used short sharpened dowels and had the kids draw letters in the clay. This gives great resistance and stengthening for the fingers. It is a very different sensation and experience than just writing on paper.
When using a clay board for writing, it is not really possible for the kids to trace because the clay will cover any lines underneath, so I made it like a tracing app, but with resistance. I made some rainbow letter cards to use under pieces of clay. I had the kids make snakes with the clay and then squish the snakes flat to fit over the rainbow letters. Then the kids can trace over the clay, following the letter shape, and try to get the rainbow colors to show through underneath. If they don’t stay with the clay, then the rainbows won’t show through.
You can use playdoh for your clay writing tablet, but I wanted to re-use the clay a lot, so I used a children’s clay that never dries out. I twas a bit stiffer than playdoh, but I felt that it was soft enough for the kids to mold, squish, and draw on.
Have you ever made a clay writing tablet? what kind of clay did you use? In ancient times, they used to use wax tablets to write notes to each other. The best wax to use is dental wax so that it is soft enough to write in and then seal over to write again. I have not had a chance to test out different waxes, but would love to know which ones work best.
- Mini tray, chalkboard, or frame
- non-drying clay or playdoh, or soft wax
- cut and sharpened dowel or orange stick (or pencil)
- rainbow letters for playdoh
- Hand strength
- fine motor
- visual motor