Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

ARTLAB Clay Studio

ARTLAB Clay Studio

Fall 2007 Toys
Ages: 7 & Up
Manufacturer: SmartLab
Price: $19.99

Most children begin playing with clay in the toddler years, molding and shaping PlayDoh until the dough turns drab. This remains interesting for a few years, but by the middle of elementary school they are ready for something more advanced. Options, however, are few, and most clay sets for older children come with little instruction. The ARTLAB Clay Studio includes not only clay, but also a very detailed instruction book, complete with a broad view of artistic and practical sculpture, directions and patterns for shaping realistic (and sometimes exotic) animals, information on mixing colors to create various effects, and processes for using tools and layering clay to make textures. The set furthermore includes the posable armatures necessary for making four animal sculptures, so that the resulting works of art, like those created by professionals, are proportionate and well supported. One could only wish that the results were more permanent; the soft clay is easy to work with and looks beautiful, but it doesn't last.

Emily Crawford   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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