Air dry clay is great for craft – it’s malleable, offers plenty of opportunity for creativity and is versatile. And the best part about these hands-on projects? There’s no need for an oven or kiln. Kids of all ages can use their imagination to create stars, animals, kitchenware and anything in between.

Hot Tip: Air dry clay is not waterproof but applying a water repellent sealer will help items last. Do not immerse air-dried clay creations in water; instead wipe clean with a damp cloth.

A Cute Bear Plate

Make a cute bear plate as a project with the kids using air dry clay

Will they eat healthier snacks if served from their own handmade plate? Well, we can’t guarantee it, but it's worth a try. This sweet bear plate is a simple yet fun clay activity that’s a great idea for kids interested in food, cooking and the kitchen. Rolling the clay requires coordination, while trimming the clean edge is good for their fine motor skills. Mini-MasterChefs will need to practice patience as their creation dries, but once that’s done, they’ll have their very own dish, made by their very own hands.

Step 1 Draw an outline of a bear on a piece of A4 paper. Cut it out to create a template.

Step 2 Roll a portion of clay that is a bit bigger in size than the template and 0.5cm thick.

Step 3 Lay the bear template on top of the flat clay and trim around it with a sharp knife (best to help younger children with this step). Remove the excess clay.

Step 4 To give the bear a concave plate shape, place it in a similar sized plate to help curve up the edges. Once all the sides are turned up a little, leave until completely dry.

Step 5 Draw on the eyes and mouth.

Use air dry clay to make this fun animal plate and other projects with kids

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Fun Animal Paperweights

 Make animal paperweights and more cool projects with the kids using air dry clay

A rabbit, pig and chicken may seem like an unlikely troupe, but this cast of creatures can star in stories of their own making. As little ones create the shapes for these air dry clay projects, encourage them to verbalise their imaginative play, telling you the animals’ names, where they live and all about their friendships. Rolling the balls and shaping tiny ears and beaks help work those fine motor skills. And, once made, these fun friends can headline in a stop motion animation – all you need is a tablet or smartphone and some patience – tiny moves and lots of shots. To put it all together, try Stop Motion Studio and I Can Animate.

Step 1 All figures begin with rolling a ball for the body, and then another smaller ball for the head.

Step 2 Once the two shapes are formed, dab with a little water and press lightly together, being careful not to lose the rounded shape.

Step 3 Create the smaller details such as the ears, paw and tail, and attach to the body in the same way (with a dab of water).

Step 4 Leave to dry completely.

Step 5 Paint the body and add face details as desired.

What you need to craft fun animal themed air dry clay projects with your kids

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SEE ALSO: 5 Fun DIY Paper Plate Crafts

A Fabulous Fairy House

 Make a fairy house and more fun and easy projects with the kids using air dry clay

What kid doesn’t love the idea of fairies? Instead of pretending they live at the bottom of the garden, bring them indoors with a tiny handmade fairy house. Building a structurally sound house introduces them to STEM concepts (designing, modelling and experimenting are part of all STEM subjects), while also employing problem solving and fine motor skills. So encourage them to draw up their ideas and design a whole village.

Step 1 Roll clay to a 0.5cm thickness. Make sure you have enough to cover the height and width of your jar. Trim edges into a straight line. Supervise young ones if the knife is sharp.

Step 2 Lay your jar on top of the flat clay and roll the clay around the jar. To make the join stick, rub a wet finger over the join, smoothing it. Stand the jar upright and trim any excess clay. Trim a door shape into the front of the clay. Put aside to dry.

Step 3 To create the roof, use a small bowl or cup that fits over the top of the jar when upside down. Cover the bowl with cling wrap.

Step 4 Roll another piece of clay flat; this time a little thinner. Drape the rolled clay over the upside down bowl/cup. Smooth it over so it sits nicely. It won’t matter if it has a few gathers or folds.

Step 5 Create the roof shingles. Roll another piece of clay flat. Trim shingle shapes and starting from the bottom edge attach to the roof base with a wetted finger. Keep going all the way around until you get the top. Leave to dry completely.

Step 6 Paint in desired colours. (Optional: you can add a battery-operated tea light inside the jar for a magical touch!)

What you need to craft a cute fairy house votive project using air dry clay

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Decorative Planters

Make decorative pot planters and more fun projects with the kids using air dry clay

Gardening is great for kids – it offers them the chance to explore, observe and touch (key components of STEM learning). Planting seeds and seeing them grow is a cool way to introduce early lessons about biology, horticulture and botany. Plain and sleek or wonky and arty, these decorative handmade pots are a perfect way to get them interested in gardening. Let them design and plan their own amazing creations, using their imagination, problem solving- and fine motor-skills to create a one-of-a-kind functional art piece.

Step 1 Tall pot: roll clay flat and trim all edges straight and square. Stand the clay up and curve around for the two edges to meet in a cylinder. Overlap slightly and, with wetted fingers, smooth join together.

Flat pot: take a large ball of clay and shape into a circle. Using your thumb, make an indent in the centre and push out to the edges to create a bowl shape. Keep pushing, smoothing and shaping until you are happy with the appearance and size. Wet fingers every now and then to help shape and smooth the clay.

Step 2 Tall pot: place the shaped cylinder on top of rolled-flat clay and trim around to make a circle for the base. Join the edges of the base and cylinder together with wetted fingers. Smooth all edges and leave to dry.

Flat pot: make 3 small balls for feet and attach to the base of the bowl. Leave to dry completely.

Step 3 Paint pots as desired.

Hot Tip To make them watertight, use a waterproof sealer on the inside before planting.

What you need to craft pot planters and other easy kids projects using air dry clay

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Twinkling Star Mobile

Make a star mobile and more cool projects with the kids using air dry clay

A pretty clay mobile is a lovely piece of art that the making of will also keep kids entertained on a rainy day. Rolling and cutting the stars will use concentration and fine motor skills. Once the rain eases, take a stroll around the neighbourhood or to a local park to find the perfect twig or broken branch to hang the stars on.

Step 1 Roll clay flat to around 0.5cm thick.

Step 2 Use a trimming tool to cut out a star shape – or try small cookie cutters. Use a pencil to create a small hole at a point of each star (this will be for the twine to go through).

Step 3 Leave the stars to dry.

Step 4 Using varying lengths of twine, tie each clay star onto the stick to create a waterfall of stars.

Step 5 Attach more twine to the left and right edge of the stick, so that you can hang the mobile.

What you need to craft a star mobile and other cool kids projects using air dry clay

What You’ll Need