Helping a young child to throw on the wheel

It can be daunting working on the potter’s wheel when you have tiny hands. Little ones just don’t have the strength to center clay, even when the clay is soft. When I throw with my grandsons, I use a couple of techniques to help them center, drill a center hole, and raise the walls with relative ease – even with the 5 year-old.


When centering it’s essential that the clay is already formed into a cone with relatively few lumps or bumps. The child places their wet hands over the clay and I just place my wet hands over top of their hands and voila! Centered clay.

When drilling the hole in the center we work together to figure out where the center is and then I make a slight depression in the clay for them. Then depending on the age they either use their thumb to drill the opening or we drill together if needed.

To open the floor we work together and hand-over-hand we draw the floor open.

To raise the wall again we use hand-over-hand, counting slowly as we raise the wall.

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