Clay Dates

Introducing Clay Dates – a collection of fun, interactive, and informative videos that bring the fun of the Clay Center to your home! Download the associated Active Learning Guides for even more fun! Watch this page for regular updates, and share your creations on Facebook at facebook.com/claycenter!

My Town Theater

In this #ClayDates we are bringing a story to life in the My Town Theater! One of the best ways to get your imagination flowing is to read a book – and sometimes to act out the story or make up your own version! Reading is critical to the success of your future and making reading fun through dramatic play is one way to get excited about reading and to activate your imagination!

Juliet Art Museum – ReTooled: Paint Can by Phyllis Yes

In this #ClayDates we’re taking another look at ReTooled! Cara will be exploring the work Paint Can by Phyllis Yes! Following the exploration, Cara will help us create a Paint Can inspired pencil holder by painting a design on a tin can. Use tape to create fun designs and patterns on your can, then embellish with objects from around your house like buttons, string, or pipe cleaners!

Tiny Tales Story Time: Gus Grows a Plant by Frank Remkiewicz

Did you know that you can grow new vegetables with certain seeds and scraps left over from dinner? In today’s Tiny Tales Thursday #ClayDates, we will see how Gus Grows a Plant in the easy to read book by Frank Remkiewicz. Following the book, Kayte will show us how to plant a few leftover bell pepper seeds to start a new plant!

Maier Foundation Music Studio: Conducting

Have you ever watched a music conductor and wondered by they wave their arms around and make a variety of big and small gestures to the musicians they are conducting? In today’s #ClayDates we are in the Maier Foundation Music Studio to find out more about the meaning behind these movements.

Water Density

How do boats float even when they are carrying heavy cargo?

In this #ClayDates we are discovering how water works! In this experiment, we learn that Density plays a key role in keeping the boat afloat. Whenever the Density of a boat is less than the water, the boat will remain afloat. However, if the boat adds mass – in the form of cargo or passengers – then the Density of the boat will rise and may eventually sink.

Try out the experiment from the Active Learning Guide in the comments. We would love for you to share a photo of your boat and your results!

My Clay Center Grocery Games

During today’s My Town Monday #ClayDates, we are cooking up some fun with My Town Grocery Games! In the My Town Grocery Store you can find all kinds of ingredients to prepare your favorite meal.

Today’s Grocery Games Challenge: Packaged Foods! Mr. Zack and Kayte face off to prepare yummy meals using packaged foods, and our special panel of guest judges will decide who used the best ingredient combo to take home the win! Who do you think will win?

Juliet Art Museum – ReTooled: “Spinning Wrench” by Bernice Abbott 

In this #ClayDates we’re taking a closer look at a photographer by Bernice Abbott titled “Spinning Wrench.” Also in this activity, Cara will explore the repetition that is showcased in the photograph by working to trace a tool multiple times to create a work of art!

Tiny Tales Story Time: Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

Can you imagine if a large fluffy bear decided to take you in as a pet? During this #ClayDates we will find that Children Make Terrible Pets in the funny book by Peter Brown. Following the book, Kayte will show you how to make a sock pet using old socks and a few basic supplies!

Maier Foundation Music Studio: Compose It!

Today we are visiting the Compose It exhibit in the Maier Foundation Music Studio for #ClayDates to discover how music is written.

A composer is someone who’s writes music for other musicians to perform. Learning to write and read music is truly like learning a new language. Mr. Zack offers a brief crash course on how the musical staff and variety of notes come together to create a piece of music.

Healthy Me: Reaction Times

When you see a glass getting ready to fall off the table, how quickly can you jump into action to grab the glass before it hits and ground and breaks?

The average human brain contains about 86 billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are connected across tiny junctions called “synapses” and communicate with each other by sending chemical and electrical signals. Impulses rush along tiny fibers, like electrical wires, from one neuron to the next and send signals to put your body into motion. When your eyes or ears take in a message, your body often quickly jumps into action to respond to that message. Use the simple activity on the Active Learning Guide in the comments to test your reaction time!

My Town: HealthSmart Wellness Clinic

We love our babies in the My Town Wellness Clinic. They receive a great deal of love and care from the many junior doctors and nurses that visit, so they often need to have a bath. If you have vinyl baby dolls or toys that need a bath at your house, Kayte is going to show you some helpful tips and tricks to getting them clean.

ReTooled: Toolbox Series

On today’s #ClayDates we’re exploring another work in the exhibition, ReTooled. We’re taking a close look at the Toolbox Series and is not just one work but a collection of many!
 
In these images the artist Jim Dine has mixed screen printing and collage. He takes an image of a tool, prints it on the paper and then adds other images through a collage process to create these interesting pictures. Dine had actually been fascinated with tools from a very young age, because his grandparents owned a hardware store which he also worked in when he was young, so tools were a theme in his art work for most of his career!

Tiny Tales: The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Today we are trying to convince the Pigeon that it’s time for a bath with the story The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems. If you like to avoid bath time like our friend the Pigeon, you may want to try making bath time more fun by mixing up some jelly soap.

Maier Foundation Music Studio – Frequency: Diameter and Length

We are back in the Maier Foundation Music Studio for #ClayDates where we are learning that when strings vibrate, they can show us some cool scientific properties!

Last week we learned about Frequency and Amplitude. Today Mr. Zack will show us how the diameter of a string on an instrument as well as the length of the string can affect frequency.

Slushie Science

As the weather heats up, it is a great time to cool down by using science to make a slushie! We love our Water Works exhibit, so for today’s #ClayDates we are using solid and liquid water along with a scoop of salt to lower the freezing point of water and create a cool concoction.

What typically happens when you put salt on ice? The ice melts! How does this work? The freezing point of water is 32F. When water reaches its freezing point, the free-flowing liquid molecules form into organized crystal structures forming solid ice! Salt disrupts the formation of ice because when it hits even a little bit of liquid on the surface of the ice, it breaks up into two ions – sodium and chloride – these ions move between the liquid molecules, pushing them apart and disrupting their ability to form links and turn into ice.

Paper Mache

In this edition of #ClayDates, Cara gives us another close up of the exhibit ReTooled – Barton Lidice Benes, Tools in Print!

In this activity we’ll be using Barton Benes process of paper-macheing found objects to create our own work of art! Check out the Active Learning Guide in the comments for a full materials list and instructions on how to make your own paper-mache project!

Tiny Tales Story Time: My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

On today’s Tiny Tales Thursday #ClayDates we are playing with shadows!

Shadows appear when an object comes between rays of light and a surface. On a sunny day, you can see your shadow on the ground because you are blocking the sun’s rays from reaching the ground’s surface.

Enjoy a reading of the book My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson and learn how to create a shadow puppet with a few simple supplies.

Maier Foundation Music Studio: Frequency and Amplitude

We are hanging out in the Maier Foundation Music Studio for today’s #ClayDate where we are using a Theremin to learn about Frequency and Amplitude.

Frequency refers to how quickly the vibrations are moving the air particles back and forth, and Amplitude tells us how large the vibrations are as they move through the air. Consider This: Some sounds can have High Frequencies and move particles in the air quickly, but also be very Quiet and have Low Amplitude.

Healthy Me: Kinetic Energy

Did you know that you have the ability to transfer Potential Energy into Kinetic Energy? When you hold a ball in the air, the ball has a certain amount of Potential Energy. That means that the ball has stored energy because of its position in the air. When you drop the ball to the ground, the Potential Energy transfers to Kinetic Energy because the ball is now moving.

In this experiment that you can definitely try at home, you will see how to transfer Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy in some unexpected ways!

My Town Monday: Vet Clinic

It is fun to imagine what you want to be when you grow up and to explore different jobs by pretending. In the My Town Vet Clinic we have many stuffed pets that need and receive care from the budding veterinarians that visit each day. The pets in the Vet Clinic get a great deal of attention from day to day, so we occasionally need to fix them up.

The most common “injury” our animals experience is losing their stuffing, or their stuffing loses its fluffiness, so today we are performing a simple surgery to fix up our friend, Buddy, who has lost some stuffing.

ReTooled Inspired Art Project

Today on #Clay Dates we’re taking a closer look at the brand new exhibition on display in the Juliet Art Museum – ReTooled. In a few weeks we’ll be taking a virtual tour of the exhibit with artist curator, Jessica O’Hearn but today Cara is giving us a closer look at Lee A/ Schuette’s work “Rake Back Chair” and leading an activity inspired by the work!

Using found objects from around your home, create an assemblage sculpture of a turtle. Check out the Active Learning Sheet in the comments for further instructions and another fun project!

Materials:

Turtle
• Egg Carton
• Cardboard
• Scissors
• Green paint
• Paint brush
• Hot glue gun

Instructions:
1. Cut out one compartment of your egg carton, this will be the shell of your turtle.
2. Cut 4 small triangles out of your cardboard to use as legs for your turtle. Glue these around the body of your egg carton.
3. Next cut a small 1” x ½” rectangle from either your cardboard or a leftover piece of your egg carton. Cut one end so it is rounded, this will be the head of your turtle. Glue this piece to one side of your turtle’s shell.
4. Next cut a small triangle of cardboard (smaller than the legs you already cut) and glue it to opposite the head of the turtle, this is your turtle’s tail!
5. Once everything has been secured with glue, give your turtle a nice coat of green paint.
6. Once the paint has dried, paint a pattern on your turtle’s shell, or use other materials to decorate its shell!

Tiny Tales: Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin

It’s Tiny Tales Story Time on #ClayDates! Today Kayte is sharing a hilarious book with us, “Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type” by Doreen Cronin!

After we finish reading, join in an activity celebrating the important people in your life! If you missed out on Mother’s Day, this is a great way to honor mom!

The Science of Sound

We’re heading into the Maier Foundation Music Studio today to explore the science of sound!!!

Mr. Zack explains to us that sound starts a vibration that travels through the air to our ears so we can hear it! Sometimes the vibrations are verrrrrryyy quiet and we need to find ways to amplify them – discover in today’s activity how to create these vibrations and construct something to amplify! There a lot of different ways to explore this challenge and we would love to see what you create!

Water Cohesion

You might not realize but air pressure pushes in all directions around us. Air pressure causes aircrafts to slow down while they fly, and many engineers spend a lot of time designing solutions to air pressure.

In this science experiment, you will be able to see how air pressure works. Using a glass of water and a postcard, we’ll determine if the push is stronger than the pull down of the water in the cup and the water will stay in place!

What You Need:
• Glass of Water (Mason Jars work well)
• Postcard
Activity Steps:
1. Fill the jar with water up to the brim.
2. Place the postcard on top of the jar so that the glass is centered underneath the card
3. With one hand hold the jar and the other hand keep a light touch on the center of the postcard, just overtop of where the glass is.
4. In one quick and fluid motion, flip the jar upside down and remove your hand support the card. The water should stay inside of the jar without coming out.
Note: Do this experiment over the sink as you might need a bit of practice.
5. When you want to remove the card, flip the glass back over as before and pick it up.

If you would like to attempt the second experiment included in the video, stretch a piece of cheese cloth over top of a mason jar and then use the lid to seal the cloth in place. Follow the same steps as above but remove the card will it’s still upturned. This takes a lot of practice, but the water should stay in place due to Cohesion which is a strong molecular attraction of the water molecules.

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Welcome to My Town Monday on #ClayDates! In the My Town Diner, junior chefs are always cooking up delicious dishes from pizza topped with berries to sushi on a bun! 

Today Kayte is making peanut butter* energy balls that are fun and easy to prepare and provide a nutritious, yummy way to quickly refuel your body. Did you know? After playing and being active, you sometimes need a snack to replenish calories that you used up while playing. Calories in food provide energy in the form of heat so that our bodies can function. Our bodies store and “burn” calories as fuel.

Doodle Art

Today we’re using our imagination and bringing our creativity to life! We love hosting Doodle Studio from time to time with Jeff Pierson so today we’re channeling our inner artist and working on a series of doodle drawings!

Doodling is the perfect indoor activity on a rainy day and a great excuse to head outside and explore nature with a sketchpad if the sun is shining! What will you create?

Tiny Tales Story Time: Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Kayte will be reading Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton This book will have you and your little readers oinking, mooing, and baaing before you know it! After the reading, Kayte will be bringing out some of our creepy, crawly Clay Center friends – the hissing cockroaches!!!

Experiments with Bubbles

Calling all Junior Scientists, we’re experimenting with BUBBLES!

What observations can you make about bubbles? How does adding soap to water affect the number of bubbles? Kayte creates a bubble solution and shows us how to find a bubble wand in our own home!

Magnetic Slime

In our final May the Fourth be with You #ClayDate, Kayte will be getting slimy as she uses the force!

Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

Continuing our May the Fourth Be With You themed edition of #ClayDates with Mr. Zack!

Zack works with his robotic friends to teach us all about balanced and unbalanced forces in a game of tug of war!

May the Fourth be with You Activities

We’re celebrating May the Fourth be with You by drawing our own Baby Yoda! Can you follow along to create yours? All you need is a pencil, marker and a sheet of paper! 

Chromatography Water Color

Using supplies you can find in your own home, we’ll be working on a chromatography watercolor project!

Supplies needed:
Coffee Filter
Black Washable Marker
Water

Tiny Tales Story Time: But No Elephants by Jerry Smath

Brittany Harper will be using American Sign Language to sign the book “But No Elephants” by Jerry Smath while her niece, Braylie Smolder, reads aloud.

Did you know that American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most common non-English language used in the United States? ASL contains all the basic features of language–it has its own pronunciation, word order, and complex grammar system–making it a completely separate and distinct language from English.

Extreme Air Pressure Experiments

Did you enjoy the last episode about air? We did! That’s why we’re taking air pressure to the EXTREME! Join us as we experiment with air pressure by putting objects in extreme conditions and see what happens!

The Power of Air

What is all around us, powerful enough to take down buildings, we can’t see it, but need it to survive?

AIR! 💨

We’re beginning a two-part exploration of air pressure! Kayte has some fun tricks up her sleeve to showcase the power and necessity of air!

Home Stamp Making

Using items around the house, we’re making our own stamps and creating works of art!

Tiny Tales Story Time: The Adventures of an Aluminum Can by Alison Inches and Illustrated by Mark Chambers

Celebrate Earth Day by reading The Adventures of an Aluminum Can by Alison Inches and Illustrated by Mark Chambers!

This eco-friendly book gives us a peek into this diary of an aluminum can as it goes on a journey from inside a bauxite rock, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a display on a bookshelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges into its new life…as a baseball bat! 

Following the reading, join in as we explore what we can create using an aluminum can, or even just aluminum foil!

Experiments with Water

We’re showcasing experiments about the wonderful properties of water!

Did you know water molecules are attracted to one another? It true! Hydrogen bonds hold water molecules closely together which causes water to have high surface tension. This is why water tends to clump together to form drops, and why you can fill the flat surface of a penny with over 20 drops of water before the bonds break and the water spills off.

In the Sink or Float demo, you notice the bottle cap doesn’t sink even when we fill it with water, so why doesn’t it sink? It all comes down to BUOYANCY – the ability of objects to float in water or air. The amount of water an object pushes out of the way and the density of an object can affect the buoyancy. The bottle cap by itself was buoyant when we placed it in the water, so it floated. When we filled it with water, it sunk below the surface of the water, but the force of the water pushing up on it was greater than the weight of the water inside pushing down on the cap, so it didn’t sink to the bottom. Neat!

Experiment with Light Pollution

Today we are exploring how lights shining into the sky from your neighborhoods and cities affect how well you can see objects – like stars and planets – in the night sky.

Paper Marbling

Kayte takes us through the steps of marbling paper using shaving cream and watercolor paints!

Supplies Needed:
Paper
Shaving Cream
Water Color Paints

This project is a wonderful way to show your creativity, share your favorite colors, and even make cards for friends and family!

The Science of Fire

Please, do NOT try this at home. We’re exploring the science of fire by experimenting with lycopodium powder and no burn paper!

Tiny Tales Story Time: Look, Listen, Taste, Touch and Smell by Pamela Nettleton

We’re exploring our five senses by reading Look, Listen, Taste, Touch and Smell by Pamela Nettleton! Following the book, join in for a hands-on activity using items you can find in your own pantry!

The pH scale

In today’s Clay Dates we’re learning all about the pH scale – acids and bases!

We’ll be exploring this concept with the experiments Acid Breath, Magic Potion & Alka Seltzer Rockets.

Watercolor Resistance Painting

Kayte teaches us how to do a water color resist painting using a technique that can also decorate eggs if you’re celebrating Easter!

To follow at home, the only supplies you need are:
White Crayon
Washable Markers
Paper/Egg
Water
Brush

Tiny Tales Story Time: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Colors

In this episode of ClayDates, we’re exploring the Dr. Seuss Book of Colors with Kayte! After the reading, we’ll do a color activity using only water and red, yellow and blue food coloring! What are other ways that you can explore colors? How about taking a color hike?

Observation and Exploration

Learn about your powers of observation and exploration with Clay Center Director of Education Kayte Kincaid. In this video we will explore these skills with the experiments Genie in a Bottle and Elephant Toothpaste!