Hooray, It's summertime! I don't know about where you live, but our winter was long and cold, and I was looking forward to some warm weather. Besides, who doesn't love the sunshine, swimming and picnics?

Along with all that fun, though, there are those rainy days that keep us indoors. The kids are chomping at the bit to go outside, but the ground is too muddy. Attitudes and tempers are on the rise. Now what?

Well, there are always the old stand-bys, puzzles, color books and crayons, reading etc... Why not try something different? How about pinch pot critters?

We're going to teach you how to make a fish and a turtle, but feel free to use your imagination!All you will need is clay, underglaze and some brushes. Depending on the age of the child, and what you plan on making, start with half to one pound of clay. Little hands do much better with a little ball of clay.


  • Start by shaping your clay a little. You can keep it in a ball, or cone it a little.
  • Pushing your thumbs into the middle of the ball, create a small opening.
  • Using a pinching motion, open the ball, and pull the sides up a little in each stroke.
  • Try to keep the opening from getting too wide, by pinching from the bottom of the ball.
  • Once you have the body of the fish completed, set it to the side.
  • Now, taking two little pieces of clay, form the eyes.
  • For the fins and tail, use a coil of clay. I roll a coil about 6" by 3/4", cut it in half, then cut one piece in half again.
  • Flatten and shape them however you want. Remember, they will protrude from the side of the fish, and will be weaker than the body.
  • Score and slip, then attach to the body
  • Now comes the fun part... painting with underglazes!
  • Bisque and glaze as you would any other piece.


  • Using the same opening and pinching steps as the fish, shape the turtles' shell.
    • Note: you can make this step easier for the little ones by making a larger ball, then cutting it in half. This step will give them the flat part of the shell.
  • Make four smaller balls of clay (about the size of a dime or nickle), and two larger ones.
  • Elongate the two larger ones, shape into a head and tail, then attach to the shell by slipping and scoring.
  • Leave the four smaller balls as is, flattening just a bit, and attach to the bottom for feet.
  • Again, have fun and paint your turtle!
  • Bisque and glaze as you would any other piece.

Look for more great ideas in the "How-to's" page on our website.

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