This year, I decided to do a Magnet Clay Workshop at Inspirit House.
It was a pleasant place to conduct this workshop with the spacious dining area and ‘resort-like’ surroundings of the sea cum park.
I began with the story below. This is a simple yet powerful message about Christmas. From the title, we know how Christmas has become a tradition of receiving and giving of gifts.
For the first session of mostly 7yo and above, I was able to read almost word for word the Chinese story. There was no need for the English translation. When the 2nd session kicked in, I had to speed up the story with my own Chinese storylines as the group was mostly 4 to 5yo active lil ones.
Basically, this story involved a family of 5 bears. This year due to their financial constraints, Papa and Mama bear could not afford to buy any presents for the children. They still managed to have a decent Christmas meal. Littlest bear assured Papa bear that ‘Santa’ will as usual, give the family gifts this year since it’s Christmas day, there ought to have gifts!
I liked how Papa bear used his creativity not only in searching for twigs and branches to create a Christmas tree, he even poured flour to replicate snow.
On Christmas day, the whole family indeed received gifts! However, it didn’t come in spanking new goods. Each gift was a re-appearance of a lost or spoilt item turned whole again. I was especially touched by how Mama bear held the lost and found button of her favourite coat in her hands as if it was a precious jewel.
I ended the story asking the kids on their understanding of Christmas. Some said it was on spirit of giving, another said it was Jesus’ birth and another said Santa.
It was indeed as perceived by many people in different ways. However, I ended with a reminder that it is truly a season of giving and for Christians, it is how Jesus Christ was born to save us from our sins.
Gifts can come in many forms. Like the lil bear, it need not be bought. It is the concern and thought that goes behind the gift. From here, I introduced our clay making session for the kids to make and gift to their loved ones.
Clay Fiesta Process
Here’s an instruction chart for kiddos to follow in case they forget a step from my demonstration.
For more examples and details on creating your own magnet clay, read here.
Do-it-yourself (diy) cookie cutter
One of my favourite haunt for creative solutions is our Daiso shop. I found a wire that was not too flimsy, malleable enough for shaping and had a decent thickness to act as a cookie cutter.
I explored creating different designs for this Christmas theme. After brainstorming on how to tighten the loose ends of this wire, I found a perfect solution in my jewellery making accessories. This clasp/clams for the ends of strings were just the right size for the thin and sleek wires!
It stabilised the whole piece and made it snug for cutting. The reindeer design was a flop as the clay could not be pushed out of the thin corners.
The dove was a success.
DIY spokes and alternative rollers
An important way of flattening your clay to do for example a tile work, is the use of 2 even spokes. I bought them at Daiso and cut them up, sandpapered the edges smooth for the group’s use.
As rollers were costly and mostly made for adults, I searched for alternatives that suited the lil hands. I was thrilled the Lord answered my prayers when I saw this game set! In 1 packet there were 2 hard and sturdy plastic ‘rollers’ with the ideal size and length.
Next I had to sort and distribute the different sequins and decorations into boxes and bags so that there was variety for choices.
Since it was a Christmas, I also came up with a full package of the clay set to bless 3 participants for joining us.
I wish to share this part of information because many people miss out and undermine the preparatory process of an art workshop like this. Often, people only think of the material costs and perhaps that 1 hour worth of active teaching which is what you ‘pay for’.
However, they do not realise that prior to this workshop, much time and effort have been spent to create this publicity and not to mention the heart work taken to ensure a smooth and meaningful art session ahead.
I tried using my postcards which were paintings done by my kids A to Z Christmas paintings for the magnets’ background. However, it was too chaotic. The red background was more effective.
Last but not least, there were boxes to make for the clay works to keep and carry home.
Clay Magnet Creation
On the day itself, I was really glad that my 3 kids rose to the occasion with their capable assistance! I had many positive feedback on how they had patiently attended to the lil ones who were having trouble recalling the steps. Parents were also actively nearby reminding their children on the processes involved. I was thus able to go around monitoring each child’s progress.
The instructions may look simple, but it takes time and practice before it can be done independently. By the end of the session, most kids were able to grasp the process.
There was an issue of the magnet slipping off the clay. One reason is the use of too much glue and insufficient scoring. However, once the glue starts drying up, re-position the magnet and it should stick well. The key is to air-dry them completely for 1 to 2 days. You can flip it over to air dry both sides after a day and dry the other side for the second day before using. If the magnet still comes off, using the PVA glue will still work. Again, allowing it to dry completely is the key to joining them together. You may also use other strong glue or better still, a glue gun. In any case, do PM me if you have any issues.
A few parents were enjoying and making their own clay magnets when their child was tired and rested. It was a delightful affair!
Thank you all who attended for your enthusiastic support!
With my full attention on the workshop, I had forgotten to take photos of the food that day. I gathered some feedback that the food was good and had a relaxing ambience to chillax and dine.
For more action of the workshop view here.
So here is a peek line-up of their coming Christmas specials.
Christmas French Toast
Ribs and Wings Platter
Child-friendly Play Space
A child was very surprised to find out that my workshop was held in this pleasant and festive restaurant as usually such activities were conducted in room-like conditions.
It was a befitting setting as we celebrated Christmas with fun and style while kids also bond hands-on with their parents! Of course, parents with older kids had the privilege of enjoying their time having breakfast while their kids create away! Other than my workshop, they have many events like playdates and live bands lined up for Christmas! Do check them out.
I hope this workshop sharing can increase your understanding of the value in art education. It involves the whole faculty of mind, hands and heart.
At the end of the workshop, on a personal takeaway, I am gratified to see how my 3 kids have matured in their character and acquired skills to assist me in this workshop. I had also used this as an opportunity to learn what it means to work for their own money. I promised to pay them for a good job done. However, I did not state the amount. After all their hard work, each of them got $10 for the 2 hrs worth of work.
It was a great sense of achievement for all of us as I saw how they were beaming with satisfaction upon receiving their hard-earned money.
Slowly, but surely I am seeing the fruits of our labour sprouting through such working opportunities. My children are indeed growing up to be independent workers!
Thanking God for His faithfulness in every stage of our lives!
Have a blessed Christmas ahead!
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