Does your toddler or preschooler love to play with salt dough and colorful oil clay? Why not go ahead and expose your little one to real ceramic clay? No, you don’t have to get out the potter’s wheel just yet. Start with something simple, like making patterns on a ceramic clay tile that can be used as a decoration in your child’s room or given to a loved one as a special gift.
Letters and Numbers
When you teach your little one how to write numbers and letters, it prepares her for reading and writing later on. What better way to introduce your child to letters and numbers than to draw them on to a ceramic clay tile! Give your child a craft stick to press into a wet clay tile before it is fired, guiding her hand as she writes. Or, dip the craft stick into ceramics glaze for her to draw with the glaze on top of the tile after it has already been fired in the kiln. If you feel really motivated, and your child is still feeling up for it, try making the entire alphabet on ceramic tile that you can put up in her bedroom.
Handprints and Footprints
Don’t you wish you could keep the image of your little one’s hands and feet forever? Try capturing these prints on a ceramic clay tile. You can even make a bunch of printed tiles to give to friends and family as a great holiday gift. It is best to use ceramic tiles that are already fired for a hand print or footprint craft. All you need to do is to paint the surface of your child’s hand or foot with ceramic glaze, then press the print on top of the ceramic tile. Just make sure that you use lead-free ceramic glaze before painting your child with it!
Spirals and Lines
Spirals and lines can be really easy for a little one to make on a ceramic tile, and can work if your child is working with a wet ceramic tile or one that is already fired. Let your child carve directly into a clay tile using crafts sticks or toothpicks, or she can dip the sticks and toothpicks into ceramics glaze to create different spirals and lines on a fired tile, like zigzags, swirls, waves and straight lines. You could even have your little one make one tile full of spirals, another tile full of zigzags and another full of waves.
Toddlers and preschoolers usually love animals, so why not make animal patterns on top of ceramic tiles that your child can put up in his room? Use ink stamps shaped like animals to make prints on already fired tiles by painting the surface of each stamp with glaze, then pressing the glazed stamp on top of the tile. You can even help your child make an entire menagerie for his room!