In my experience, working with clay, plasticine, salt dough or any type of molding material, children are always inspired to let their imaginations take full control. They love to roll it in their hands, dig into it with their fingers, stretch it across the table, or chop and divide it into many new pieces. When working with a malleable material, they like to create objects from their realities, but they like to change the shape, and build in a new way. I thought Salvador Dali was the perfect artist to introduce with a clay project. We looked at many images of his melting clocks, and talked about how we could create our own.
We also discussed what a melting clock might imply. Why did he paint them in these shapes? What did he want the audience to feel? How does our idea of time change when viewing his art? How did he feel about time?
Watching them in this project, working with the clay, I saw their imaginations completely flow into the art. They were happy to get their hands dirty, they wanted to hold it close to their face and smell it, and they each wanted to make their clocks melt in a different way. One of the children even asked me if he could incorporate letters rather than numbers. It was a great project to pair with a lesson on time and working with numbers.