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'Clay'dybug Pinch-pots (1st)

EQ: What is form? What is a pinch-pot?

Originally this lesson was designed for my kindergarteners, but after falling in love with a kindergarten clay fossil slab project (inspired by Ms. K at ‘Art with Ms. K') - it became my first grade clay lesson instead.
We started out by reading the book “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle – a book that I don’t particularly care for (although it’s on theme) – but the kids LOVE. I suppose you could say the underlying message of the book is that you should always be kind (like the friendly ladybug), however I found the more dominating message to be that sometimes grouchy people (errr- I mean ladybugs) deserve a good slap. Perhaps that’s just how I read it.
Anyways, after reading the book I introduced my first graders to my clay rules and procedures, then each student got a piece of clay and a canvas mat to work on top of. To begin, students rolled their clay into a ball, then using their thumb, made a thumb-print in the middle of their clay. Then I had them hold up their ‘pincher-fingers’ and pinch, pinch, pinch to create a slightly flattened pinch-pot.
Once these were created, students flipped their pinch-pots upside-down to create the body for their ladybug. Using popsicle sticks, they drew a capital ‘T’ onto the back of their pinch-pot bodies (to divide the head and wings). Then using a piece of a straw, they stamped circles onto their clay to create the eyes and spots on the wings. Finally, I had them write their initials on the inside of their pinch-pot ladybug bodies… and we put them up to dry out.
 After being bisque fired, students used red, white, and black tempera paint to paint their ladybugs. Then using cut up pieces of TwisteezWire, I helped students to hot glue ‘legs’ onto the underside of their pinch pots.
We could’ve ended the lesson there… but I wanted to expand it – so we created ‘pet boxes’ for our little clay ladybugs (a great way to ensure they weren’t dropped and broken on the floor as well)! I was recently emailed by a teacher in my district who had a ton of these little chicken nugget boxes and was looking to give them away – so of course I said I’d take some (not at all knowing what I’d do with them yet)!
Each student got a box and decorated strips of paper cut down to fit the faces of the box (these papers were later glued down). I also printed out a little information form to be filled out and glued to the inside of the box. The form asked the name of the ladybug, the ladybugs birthdate, favorite food, and finally what the ladybug loves to do (I love all the cute responses I got from my first graders).
Once everything was glued down, we used a hole-puncher to put two holes into the top lid of each box. Students then selected a pipe-cleaner and strung it through the holes to create a handle for their box. Scrap green paper was added to the inside of the box to create a bed of grass for the ladybugs.
This might just be the cutest project I’ve ever done with a class -- like I literally want to keep every single one of these boxes!!

Meet ladybug Selena Gomez. She love Justin Bieber. haha
The ladybug to the right likes to bake cakes, pies, cupcakes, and cookies.
I LOVE this ladybug!
Loved my first grader's bugs so much I created my own! Same birthday as my son! :)


  1. The lady bugs are really cute but I love the idea of putting them in the boxes even more. Those are precious and what a safe way to get them home. It always makes me sad to hear that one of my students broke their clay project going down the hall or getting on the bus, etc. I usually bag the kinder projects but now I'll be looking for a donation of those boxes!

  2. CUTEST THING EVER!!! May need to steal this for next year!!!! :)

  3. These are delightful! I particularly like the "Salina Gomas" one. Next year you should consider using kiln-safe wire for the legs so you dont have to bust out the hot-glue gun. Cute project :)

    1. Kiln-safe wire!? That sounds awesome!
      haha I have so much TwisteezWire though - it's crazy!

  4. I adore the presentation of these little bugs. Very clever. Consider yourself pinned:)



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