Thursday 28 November 2013

Creative play for children - big and small!

I have always loved arts and crafts, from an early age making potato prints to my college days painting mannequins and even making advent calendars, snow globes and card holders today. When Ethan was just eight days old, we painted his feet to get some prints as a reminder of how small he was once and I'm sure we'll have lots of creative play the older he gets.

Last week, we were kindly invited to go along to a paint-your-own-pottery shop in Erdington, just ten minutes away from where we live. Independently owned by Chris and set up in May 2012, Clay and Play is a pottery playroom open Tuesday to Sunday and seven days a week during school holidays, where you and your little ones can unleash your creative side. 

With more than 100 different blank pottery shapes to choose from, your child can paint them any way they wish with a huge range of paints, brushes and sponges available. Once their masterpiece is complete, Chris will glaze the pottery ready for your collection in a few days time.

No booking is required, unless you're in a big group - Clay and Play is a popular choice for birthday parties and school groups alike - and it's a great way for your child to have some creative fun without creating a mess at home that you would usually need to clear up after. Hurray - no more paint prints on your wallpaper!

It costs just £2.50 for the studio fee, which covers the paint and glazing, plus the price of whichever item or items your little Emma Bridgewater in the making chooses to decorate.

The really great thing about Clay and Play though is everything is thought of. Coveralls are supplied to protect clothing, there's highchairs for young ones and there's lots of space. There's so many different potterty pieces to choose from, I found myself mentally selecting gifts in the future from Ethan to his Nanna, aunts and even me - vases, mugs, clocks, plates, dishes, decorations, you name it, they have it! For girls, there's princesses, unicorns, cats and dogs, and the rockets, cars and robots are popular with the boys.

Ethan (or rather, Daddy) chose a cute tortoise to paint whilst I was keen to choose something from the Christmas range, deciding upon a bauble to commemorate his first Christmas.

Ethan didn't quite know what was going on and sadly he seemed to have a bit of a grump half way through (damn teething), but it quickly passed and he was genuinely intrigued by what we were doing. 

Chris painted Ethan's hand with green paint before pressing his fingers gently around the bauble then whilst this was drying, Stephen painted the base colour of the tortoise before Ethan was unleashed to add his own personal stamp to the shell. 

The studio was busy, with a regular customer already up to his elbows in paint when we arrived and another mum with her son on her way in as we were leaving. It's a really nice place to go and spend an hour or two, plus there's tea, coffee and a tuck shop should you or your little one feel peckish. 

Chris also creates personalised pottery pieces to order and I fell in love with the baby plates, the Christmas plates and the hand and feet casts. 

I'm sure that in the future, Ethan and I will be regulars at Clay and Play and I'd love to have one of his birthday parties there. Great to try at Christmas but an enjoyable way to keep them entertained all year round, Clay and Play is a lot if fun and it's great to see such an original, independent studio doing so well.

Here's what we created at Clay and Play - what do you think? Is Ethan an artist in the making?

Find out more about the wonderful world of Clay and Play here.



  1. Anonymous28.11.13

    Aw looks like you had so much fun! Lovely memories :)

    1. We really did! Can't wait for when Ethan is a bit older - think he'll really get into it x


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