In celebration of Red Squirrel Week (28 September – 4 October 2016) I would like to share with you a simple Nature Art activity: Clay Squirrels.
Our family absolutely adore squirrels, here is my eldest, many moons ago – playfully mimicking the grey bushy tailed creature.
Squirrels are incredibly clever, playful and so cheeky and feature in my illustrated children’s books…
Did you know squirrels can play many different musical instruments!
They also feature in my nature art program and outdoor classes.
“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
– Sir Ken Robinson
These rustic red clay squirrels are easy to make and provide many learning opportunities for all age groups. Clay is a beautiful medium to work with. Children love the tactile nature of clay and it’s wonderful for their imaginations and their motor skills.
Imaginative and Sensory Play
Before you begin this activity have the students collect a basketful of textured items such as fallen pine cones, leaves, petals, nuts etc. In our classes we focus on the creative journey instead of the production of an end product. We listen for the squirrels in our outdoor class, we observe and connect with the creatures and elements that surround us as we create.
If you cannot get out into nature, provide as many different pictures and books about squirrels so that the students can look through and investigate a little bit more about their shape, colour, form etc.
Items you will need:
- Long soft cone for tail
- Leaves, twigs and other natural items from nature
Every child will have their own unique way of making their squirrel. Some students prefer to mould their squirrel out of one large piece of clay; adding and taking away as they go. Others will prefer to follow instructions (as per below). Others won’t want to make a squirrel and thats okay. In this particular class one of the boys decided to make a bald eagle. Another rolled out his block of clay and made it into a river filling it with salmon (little leaves) and surrounding it with a forest (lots of pine cones)…what a joy to witness imaginations at work – beautiful!
Each child’s art creation is unique
And adults love to make them too! Here are two little friends created at our Nature Art Weekend.
How to Make
1. Take a large piece of clay and cut into 6 pieces: one large piece for the body, one for the head and 4 smaller pieces for feet and arms.
2. Squirrel’s body: take the biggest piece of clay and roll into a ball. Then stretch it out to form an oval shape.
3. Squirrels head: take your second piece of clay and roll into a ball. Now place onto the body and press gently. Using your fingers or a flat tool such as a small blunt knife or Popsicle stick – mould together.
4. Squirrels legs and arms: roll four pieces of clay; make them long and round.
5. Add the arms and legs to the squirrels body.
6. Make a hole near the low down near the base of your squirrels back to fit the pine cone. Press the cone in firmly. Press the cone gently into the back of the squirrel.You may need to add more clay to keep the cone in place.
9. Make the ears using leaves or twigs or whatever treasure you have found from nature.
10. You can make the face using a pencil.
This adorable grey squirrel became a dear friend to many of the students.
Wishing you all a beautiful and creative weekend in nature and may you be blessed with a few magical encounters with our charming little furry friends the Squirrels, love and peace Marghanita x
If you would like to learn more about our Nature Art Program – Nurturing Your Child’s Creative Intelligence – please visit: Nature Art Program