Hey parents! Do you remember spending what seemed like hours making animals and other shapes from modeling clay? For some, it was possibly at school and the clay came in large bricks wrapped in a parchment paper material. For many others, it was likely small tubs of Play-Doh or some other type of kid-friendly modeling dough product.

The exact historical origins of modeling clay being used as a play material by children are difficult to pinpoint, as it likely developed informally over time. However, modeling clay as we know it today became more widely popular in the early to mid-20th century. The introduction of commercial modeling clay products like Play-Doh in the mid-20th century played a significant role in making modeling clay a staple of creative play for children.

Play-Doh, for instance, was initially developed as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s. It later evolved into a modeling compound for children when its potential as a creative toy was recognized. Play-Doh was first sold as a child’s toy in the mid-1950s, and it quickly gained popularity.

While informal use of clay for play likely dates back much earlier, the widespread availability and recognition of modeling clay as a children’s play material can be traced to the mid-20th century.

And today it is still a hit with children and serves to engage and entertain kids just as much as it did 75 years ago or more.


a line of small modeling clay creations

And Your Kids Thought They Were Just Playing with Clay

Sensory sculpting is an innovative, hands-on approach to learning that engages children’s senses through creative exploration. Using various tactile materials like clay, playdough, and modeling compounds, children mold, shape, and craft their own creations.

This multi-sensory experience enhances fine motor skills, fosters creativity, and encourages self-expression. It’s not just about play; it’s a valuable educational tool. Sensory sculpting helps children develop cognitive, emotional, and social skills, making learning fun and interactive.

At Fundemonium, we offer a variety of sensory sculpting kits and materials to unlock your child’s creativity while promoting developmental growth. Explore the world of sensory sculpting today!


When Modeling Clay and Modeling Dough are Sensory Toys

Modeling clay and playdough are quintessential sensory toys, offering a delightful tactile experience for children. Their soft, malleable textures engage the senses, providing a hands-on exploration of shapes and forms. As kids knead, squeeze, and mold these materials, they stimulate their fine motor skills and enhance hand-eye coordination.

The vibrant colors and pleasing scents of playdough further elevate the sensory experience. Beyond the tactile enjoyment, modeling clay and playdough foster creativity and self-expression, encouraging imaginative play and problem-solving. These versatile, sensory-rich toys are not only entertaining but also valuable tools for early childhood development.

The types of modeling clay runs the gamut from natural clay that is typical gray or slightly beige and is an air-dried material. Finished creations can be shellacked to preserve them. Certain paints or glazes can often be used, as well. 

Smaller children are attracted to the cleaner feel and often bright colors that are typical of manufactured modeling clays. There are a variety of ingredients used including polymers that can be formulated to make incredibly pliable modeling clays with no natural ingredients whatsoever. 

In fact, there are tutorials online that walk parents (and older kids) through the simple process of making your own air-dry modeling clay at home. 

According to one such video, there are only three ingredients with one recipe and you can make it in the microwave in less than 10 minutes. Simply gather 1 cup of cornstarch, 2 cups of baking soda, and  1 1/2 cups of cold water. Combine dry ingredients then add water to the dry ingredients and stir well. Microwave the mixture for 3 minutes and stir.

But it is hard to compete with the ease and appeal of the many “store-bought” modeling clay products available.

Here are a few of the choices you will find at Fundemonium for your kid’s “sensory sculpting” time:

This pack is just right for creating masterpieces in miniature!  The Toysmith Mini Modeling Clay 6 Colors set contains small amounts of modeling clay ideally suited for small hands.  With six sticks of clay per pack, each stick comes in a different bright, primary color.  These sets are also perfect for use as party favors and prizes. 

Be sure to pick up a few sets so you’ll always have a fresh one on hand when company comes to play!

Also from Toysmith, this massive, 24-stick pack of Rainbow Modeling Clay is the same high quality modeling clay that helps bring out the creative side of your child. With a literal rainbow of colors, the possibilities of sculpting are truly endless. 


a small child feeding a small ball of modeling clay to a small clay caterpillar

Fundemonium: Where Fun Comes in a Myriad of Forms

At Fundemonium, we’re your destination in Sonoma County for a world of fun and relaxation through sensory toys that help to melt stress and ease anxiety, while also being fun and bringing joy.

But that’s just the beginning of our story. We’re more than a toy store; we’re a haven for families and individuals of all ages to come together, connect, and share in the delight of play.

Our safe and welcoming space offers an expansive selection of toys, games, and hobby items – all dedicated to the pursuit of enjoyment and creativity. We provide an extensive range of arts and crafts materials, a diverse array of games, model kits, and supplies, and a treasure trove of hobby products for your entire family.

Have questions or need guidance? Our warm and knowledgeable staff are here to make sure you have a fun time.

We’re committed to offering prompt responses to your inquiries and website requests related to arts, crafts, toys, and more. You can also reach us directly at (707) 540-0701 for answers to your questions. Our doors are open seven days a week, welcoming you from 10 am till closing each day.

Connect with one of our Fundemoniacs today, and we can’t wait to see you soon!