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A Nature Walk: Exploring Textures in Clay using Found Objects

Activity Information:

Grade Appropriate Level: K-3

Duration: two–40-minute classes.

Cross-Curricular Interests: Environment and Sustainability, Science, Technology, Society, Applied Arts

Materials: clay, knife, rolling pin, fork, spoon, wooden board pieces of wood, bark, dried grass, leaves, flowers, bark, moss, stones, pieces of corrugated cardboard. You can even use horse hair, among other items in nature to make a clay design!


  • Students will explore textures found in nature in a variety of ways. The students will then create clay plaques (or tiles) with a variety of textures using objects they have collected from outdoors.

  • Explore the possibilities of creating textures in clay using found objects from nature.

  • To convey an understanding of the relief form.

Prescribed Learning Outcomes:

Perceiving/Responding, Creating/Communicating, Art, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies

Students are expected to know the following:

  • identify a variety of image sources, their own and others

  • describe the many forms that images take

  • suggest purposes for a variety of images

  • demonstrate an awareness that an image can be an original artwork or a reproduction


Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • use feelings, observation, memory, and imagination as sources for images

  • make 2-D and 3-D images

  • use a variety of design strategies, including elaboration and magnification

  • explore a variety of media

  • communicate experiences and moods

  • tell a story

  • engage more than one of the senses

teacup - nature walk.png

Suggested Instructional Strategies:

  • Watch a few videos that explain how clay is used to make pottery, and provide some historical information.

Clay - Nature Walk.png
  • Take a walk outside to collect twigs, pine needles, pine cones rocks, dried grass, flowers, etc. to use in texturing the clay. For some ideas, see pinterest.

  • Explore the textural qualities found in photographs you find online. Describe those textures.

  • Explore the textures found in the classroom with rubbings made with a crayon on paper.

  • Discuss the difference between textures and patterns.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll out a piece of clay. Create a pleasing shape or vary the thickness.

  • Add textures in the clay slab by rolling or pressing in the found objects from outside.

  • Remove most of the materials from the clay after the texture is added. Materials left in the clay will burn away but may cause excessive fumes if the kiln is indoors.

  • Lines can be drawn in varying thicknesses. Create an interesting composition using textures and lines.

  • Allow the clay pieces to dry evenly over several days until very dry. Glaze with underglazes to highlight and apply colour. Kiln fire the dry clay pieces.

shaping clay - nature walk.png

Extension Activities:

mug - nature walk.png
  • Create a mural with the tiles if they are made in the same size or cut from one large slab.

  • Attach a hanger (made of clay) in the back, or push in a hole before the clay becomes too firm.

  • Create a landscape theme mural using natural objects in relief.

  • To make a textured bowl, apply a relief pattern on an evenly rolled slab, tidy the edges and place over a large stone covered by a soft cloth.

  • Remove the slab before it shrinks too much but is still firm enough to hold its shape.

Suggested Assessment Strategies:

Study the textures in the relief. Notice the variety of textures. How could this form of texturing be useful? How is nature celebrated in the composition?

Can you tell how the textures were made?

How has nature been used in historical pottery? 

See example from Crete (Year 1500 BC) pictured at right.


The importance of clay in children’s development (& how this can work with special needs).

greece pottery - nature walk.png

Lesson plan submitted by: Shirley Low
Adapted by: Audrey Perun for FORED BC

Some photos from or

Download the PDF version of the 

A Nature Walk Activity below:

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