“The night Max wore his wolf suit………..” is the beginning of the much loved book Where the Wild Things Are. A book we have been exploring over the past few weeks and which has stimulated lots of opportunities for the children to be imaginative and creative. We have acted out the story using props and paper wild things, retold it using puppets, created a forest and masks and had our own rumpus using musical instruments and also used clay to create our own wild things. This is the first in a series of posts about these experiences.
Prior to making our clay creations we had many discusiions about the illustrations in the book, looking at the kinds of body parts and features of the “wild things”. We noticed that all of them had 2 legs but the legs were very different in size, shape and covering. We observed that their heads were very different, as were their bodies, and that some had tails and some didn’t. We looked at all the similarities and differences and using this prior knowledge, began creating their own wild things, out of the clay.
I wanted the children to make their wild thing without adding pieces ( because these tend to fall off when dry) so each child was given quite a large piece of fairly soft, air drying clay and decided which way up they wanted it to be. I discussed with each child what ideas they had for their “wild thing” and nearly all the children wanted to have 2 legs although some had none, 1 child made his quite flat and another child wanted 3 legs. The children found “karate chopping” the base in the centre was the easiest way to mould the clay for legs. Once they were happy with the legs, with or without feet and claws, they shaped the body, making decisions about arms, wings, shape and size. Sometimes they shaped the head before deciding on body features and sometimes the head was part of the body. It was up to them what they wanted, I viewed my role in this process as a sounding board for their ideas.
The head was the focus of lots of conversations, as they considered the kind of head and features they wanted. Usually, children make the head first when drawing, so it was interesting to observe how they went about this experience with the head being one of the last things to be made. Sometimes the children found they needed to modify the body to ensure they had enough clay for the head. So the whole creative process involved a lot of thinking and problem solving.
Once they were happy with the shape of their wild things, the children used a pencil to create texture and add more features.
Once they were air dry, the children wanted to paint their wild things………. with yellow eyes of course, so Max could stare into them and tame them! (I had initially planned to leave them unpainted but the children really wanted to paint them.)
Here are some of the finished Wild Things.
Imagining and Responding
Fine Motor Skills
Social and Personal Learning