preschool: pottery and sculpture unit

For my home-pre-school buddies, here’s an arts unit we did in February that was a big hit. We stretched it over two weeks but it could be done in one or extended for three or four. Building on my daughter’s strong interest in the arts and wanting her to have an appreciation for various media, I introduced a unit on sculptures.

New Vocabulary: sculpt, sculpture, sculptor, pottery

Understanding: Art can be in various forms: pottery and sculpture as examples of three-dimensional art.

Objective: To be able to list various media from which sculptures can be created. To both view sculptures by others and create sculptures.

List of Activities (chronological): 


  • Play with Play-Doh and use/define vocabulary terms. “Sculpt” together.
  • Another day introduce toothpicks, forks, sculptor’s tools and talk about how sculptures might be made.
  • Play-Doh again: use/define pottery terms, make pinch pots and jugs
  • Another day make coil pots together




  • Make coil pots (independently) from clay (we used Sculpey bake-able clay)
  • Display and tell about coil pots
  • View and talk about pottery (mine)




  • Make sculptures from clay (She made a snail and a caterpillar, I made a turtle and a carrot)
  • Display and tell about sculptures




  • Make a “sculpture” from saved cardboard structures and masking tape (remember to hoard recycling for a week or three in advance)



Norah and Harriet chose to make a girl. We discussed and placed the pieces together to make the shape we wanted. They named the piece “Harriet Curly.” When she was done, Norah and I glued yarn and fabric scraps on for her hair and clothing and painted her with acrylic craft paints. 



  • Visit a museum to view pottery and sculptures.


Norah and I had a walk together through the Ashmolean here in Oxford. We saw ancient pottery, classical sculptures, and several modern pieces. (One of which, a curved piece in American walnut, reminded Norah of an enormous bathtub. She asked loudly if she could take a bath in it. “No, not today, dear.”)


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2 Responses to preschool: pottery and sculpture unit

  1. ethicks says:

    I can just see your face hear you thru the screen saying “no, not today honey.” He he he.

    What a great unit! What I wouldn’t give to have Mrs Kirk as my kids’ teacher.

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