15 Best Clays For Kids To Play With In 2024

Clay molding is a great activity to keep children away from screens and digital devices. This highly creative craft for kids is engaging and a great medium for improving their motor skills. The best clay for kids can let children try clay modeling from the comfort of their homes in an easy and fun way.

Playing with clays can help children unleash their creativity as they mold the clays to create beautiful cups, vases, cars, or anything they can imagine. In this post, we have rounded up some tried-and-tested, best-selling clay modeling kits for you to bring home to your children. Keep reading.

In This Article

15 Best Clays For Kids

1. Best Ready-To-Use: Crayola Air Dry Clay

The ready-to-use clay from the trusted brand Crayola comes in a reusable plastic bucket that helps to keep the clay fresh.

It has a fine and smooth texture and is less sticky than the traditional clay, so your children would like to touch and feel it. Made from natural white earth clay, it gets dried up to become hard. It is also non-toxic, safe to use, and is recommended for children aged six years and up. This clay is best for doing projects at home and comes in white, pastels, bright, and natural colors.

Item Weight: 5 Pounds | Material: plastic | Color: White

Pros

  • Easy to mold
  • Reusable natural clay
  • Compatible with watercolors, acrylic paints, or tempera when it’s dry
  • Needs no oven to mold

Cons

  • May need a lot of kneading
  • Some colors may take several coats on this clay

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This air-dry clay is fun and easy to mold but can be slightly messy. It also maintains moisture well, so I have been able to use it for quite a few creative projects. It's a decent purchase that I would recommend."


Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 9,035 reviews on Amazon, it's clear that many people love this product.


protip_icon Quick tip
Allow your child’s sculpture to dry from all sides to prevent cracking. A cold sculpture indicates it has dried thoroughly.

2. Best Educational: Dan&Darci Dino Models Clay Craft Kit

4.3
Dan&Darci Dino Models Clay Craft Kit Image: Dan&darci

The Dino Models clay craft kit can be a fun and educational gift with four learning cards, each describing the history of a different dinosaur. This tried-and-tested clay kit includes four dinosaur skeletons, six colors of dry modeling clay, three sculpting tools, four dinosaur stands, four dinosaur learning cards, and an instruction guide for easy play. Coat the skeleton in various clay colors and display it on the included dinosaur stands for all to see.

Material: Clay | Color: Multicolor

Pros

  • Suitable for STEM projects
  • Improves imaginative play
  • Easy to use
  • Ideal for group activities

Cons

  • Clay might take some time to dry
  • Clay might be a little sticky and messy

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This dinosaur kit has been great for imaginative play, and my son especially loves the dinosaur skeletons. The clay can be slightly sticky, but the hands-on fun makes it worth it. I found it quite educational as well."



protip_icon Quick fact
This air dry clay takes only five to 24 hours to dry. Moreover, it won’t stick to surfaces or lose its shape.

3. Best Child-Friendly: Holicolor Air Dry Magic Modeling Clay

4.5
Holicolor Air Dry Magic Modeling Clay Image: Holicolor

The air-dry modeling clay for children is a suitable gift for birthdays, Christmas, or other important occasions. This non-toxic clay kit comes with 50 colors, one project book, five handy tools, and 92 accessories, which can help children enhance their creativity and logical thinking abilities. They can mix the different vibrant colors of clay to create new colors and mold them into different shapes.

Item Weight: 1.58 Pounds | Material: Clay, Plastic | Color: 36 colors

Pros

  • Do not require baking to harden
  • Super soft clay
  • Lightweight
  • Includes a clay manual

Cons

  • Drying might take 24 hours or more
  • Clay might stick to clothes
protip_icon Quick tip
Clay artists recommend storing clay in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss. You may add some water to bring life to dry clay.

4. Best Non-Sticky And Non-Toxic: USA Toyz Moosh Fluffy Modeling Clay

4.1

It is fluffy, squishy, super light, and fun to play with. This soft clay is smushy and non-sticky, which makes it easy and fun for kids to play with. Along with these clays, the kit also comes with 10 animal clay molds and a mixing bucket to mix different colors of clays. Both the clay and the molds are non-toxic, BPA-free, and safe for kids.

Item Weight: 12.3 ounces

Pros

  • Suitable for sensory play
  • Reusable foam clay
  • Eco-friendly
  • Non-allergic

Cons

  • May be a bit hard to get the clay out from the molds
  • May stain hands

Our Reviewer's Experience

"These clays have a unique texture that keeps my kids engrossed and is easy to clean. It's moldable and neat, and I like the bucket it comes with, as it makes the toy easy to store. The clay is non-drying and great for sensory play. Overall, a good buy."


5. Best For Beginners: Alex Toys Artist Studio 16 Modeling Clay

This clay kit has 16 vibrant colored clays to encourage your kids to try clay projects at home. Unlike regular clay, this soft version does not dry out, so it could be the best clay for beginners. Also, this clay does not shrink and lose texture and so can be used multiple times. Although it is recommended for children from three years and above, adult supervision is for younger kids.

Product Dimensions: 3.88 x 4.88 x 4.56 inches | Item Weight: 1 Pounds | Material: Clay | Color: Multicolor

6. Best Easy-To-Mold: Crayola Modeling Clay Classpack

Naturally stretchy and safe, this pack of clay kit for kids has 21 one-ounce packets of white clay and 18 one-ounce packs of red, yellow, and blue clays. The clay is super stretchable and porous; hence, easy to mold. It also does not stick to hands and is easy to roll out and cut. Kids also have a choice of blending clays of different colors with white to make their own shades. This parent-recommended clay dries in the air so your child can hold on to their masterpieces forever.

Batteries: 215 CR123A batteries required | Product Dimensions: 12 x 13.25 x 7.5 inches | Item Weight: 5.93 Pounds | Material: CRAYONS | Color: Multicolor

Pros

  • Blends smoothly
  • Becomes lightweight when air-dried
  • Does not crumble
  • Mess-free
  • Safe and non-toxic

Cons

  • May dry hands
  • May feel like foam

Our Reviewer's Experience

"These pliable, easy-to-mold clays offer a fuss-free art experience for home and school. The colors are easy to mix and dry quickly, giving my kids a frustration-free activity to enjoy. It is a good choice for art therapy and STEM projects. I would recommend it."


7. Best Washable: Essenson 24 Color Air Dry Clay Set

4.5
USA Toyz Moosh Fluffy Modeling Clay Image: Usa Toyz

With 24 different colored clays, sculpting tools, and cute animal accessories, the kit is one of the best clay kits for kids. Unlike regular clay, this one is made of eco-friendly materials that are safe, washable, and easy to clean. It is recommended for children aged three years and up. The clay air dries within 24 hours, so it is suitable to make clay crafts such as keychains, bag tags, and more. It can be used during fun activities for kids as it offers endless fun and keeps children engaged for hours.

Material: Clay | Color: Clay | Item Weight: 1.94 pounds | Product Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 3 inches

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Boosts creativity
  • Easy to shape
  • Reusable

Cons

  • May be slightly sticky
  • May dry out if containers are not closed properly

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has earned its stripes, with over 5,061 reviews on Amazon.

8. Best Vibrantly Colored Clay: Hey Clay Aliens Modelling Air Clay

Do your kids get fascinated with animated cartoons of aliens and monsters? If yes, then they can create their own aliens using this kid’s clay. This kit comes with 18 cans of vibrantly colored air dry clay packs along with an app that has designs to create quirky monsters. The soft clay is easy to mold, has a non-sticky texture, and is safe to use. Once your child finishes creating desired figure from any animation series , movies, or their imagination, it dries up within 24 hours and can be stored forever.

Material: Clay | Color: Clay | Item Weight: 1.94 pounds | Product Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 3 inches

Pros

  • Improves imagination play
  • Attractive colors
  • Each clay color comes in an individual container
  • Meets US and EU standards

Cons

  • Clays are hard to pull when two colors are combined
  • Green color clay may leave a stain

9. Best Skin-Friendly:Toyvelt Clay Dinosaur Set

Expand your child’s creativity as well as the learning curve with this dinosaur molding clay kit. Using this kit, you can help your child to recreate some of the animals and plants of the prehistoric age. All they need to do is work the clay and press it using the molds. This clay kit comes with five colored clay doughs, 11 pieces of plastic molds, tools, and accessories, all of which are said to be BPA, lead, and phthalate-free, and safe for kids.

Material: Clay | Item Weight: 1.96 pounds

Pros

  • Portable storage box
  • Non-toxic material
  • Ideal for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and toddlers
  • Helps develop motor skills
  • Durable

Cons

  • Accessories may feel flimsy
  • May stain fabric

Our Reviewer's Experience

"The Dino-themed Play-Doh is a winner for my little one. I like the convenient storage box, and my daughter spends hours using the tools to make fun clay creatures. The soft texture is nice, but a bit more clay would have been great. Overall, it's good for creative play, and I would recommend it."


Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product boasts 1,324 reviews on Amazon, and many buyers have said they would purchase the product again.

10. Best For Children Above Six: Creative Kids Air Dry Clay Modeling Crafts Kit

4.6

Looking for dry modeling clay for creating crafts with your children? Then, you could try this tried-and-tested clay set, which has 30 different colored clays that are paintable, non-toxic, skin-friendly, and hypoallergenic. This set also includes googly eyes and keychains to let the child craft exciting and fun objects. Additionally, it also has three sculpting tools for crafting precise dry clay projects. This could also be the best gift for your child’s birthday or for Christmas.

Product Dimensions: 7.48 x 7.48 x 6.3 inches | Item Weight: 1.9 Pounds | Material: Clay | Color: Multicolor

Pros

  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Develops creativity
  • Strengthens hand movements
  • Soft texture

Cons

  • May stick to carpet or furniture
  • May not have a storage box

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This clay kit is a hit with my kids. Although it doesn't set super firm and stays a bit squishy, the vibrant colors make up for it. Prepping it in the bag reduces waste, and the airy texture makes it very easy to mold. My kids really enjoy the accessories, especially the googly eyes."


11. Best Reusable: Holicolor 36 Color Air Dry Kit

Made from non-toxic and environmentally-friendly materials, this modeling clay kit is recommended for children aged six years and above. However, younger kids can play with it under adult supervision. With 36 different colored clays, sculpting tools, and cool accessories, this parent-recommended clay kit extravaganza can make clay time fun. This clay dries up within 24 hours, so it is advised to keep the lid of the clay closed after use. It also comes in a 24-color variant.

Item Weight: 1.58 Pounds | Material: Clay, Plastic | Color: 36 colors

Pros

  • Easy to stretch and mix
  • Separate storage containers
  • Bright colors
  • Includes instruction booklet

Cons

  • May stain your hands
  • Wet clay may attract mold

12. Best Vegetable-Based Material: Ifergoo 46 Blocks Polymer Clay Set

The kids’ clay kit comes with 46 blocks of polymer clay along with sculpting tools, accessories, and a storage box. Unlike air-dry clay for kids, polymer clay slabs are smooth and easy to shape. Also, it can be reused even after leaving it out in the air. However, to preserve your kid’s clay project, you may have to bake it in an oven. This clay is said to comply with industry standards and is non-toxic and eco-friendly.

Material: polymer | Color: 46 Colors/ 1oz/Block | Item Weight: 2.8 pounds

Pros

  • Complies with the ASTM D-4236 standards
  • Individually wrapped
  • Easy bendable
  • Bright colors

Cons

  • Tiny accessories may cause a choking hazard
  • May not be compatible with other brands

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This set of clays has an impressive color range and comes with many creative tools. My daughter enjoys using it to make fun models, and I have also occasionally dabbled in making earrings with it. Some colors can feel a bit firmer than others, but all you need to do is knead it a bit longer. I find it a solid choice for both beginners and experienced crafters."


13. Best For Imagination And Creativity: Jovi Plastilina Reusable Modeling Clay

You can teach your kids to make animals and funny cartoon models with this expert-approved kid’s clay kit. It contains 5oz. rolls of ten different colored clays for kids to play with. These clays are made of vegetable-based material instead of mineral-based dry modeling clay and thus are non-toxic and safe for kids. They are soft and have a fine texture, which could be easily molded by tiny hands. Also, the clay does not dry out, and so it can be used again.

Item Weight: 5.6 ounces | Product Dimensions: 7.28 x 0.63 x 3.35 inches | Material: Clay | Color: Multicolor

Pros

  • Gluten-free
  • CPSIA-certified
  • Individually wrapped
  • Vibrant colors

Cons

  • Quantity may be lesser than expected
  • May have a peculiar smell
Our Reviewer's Experience

"This modeling clay is soft, colorful, and great for various art projects. I love that it is reusable and doesn't dry out, and it is great for my kids as it has minimal odor, is easy to clean, and does not stain. I only wish the quantity was a bit more because my kids really enjoy playing with it."

14. Best For Family Time Activity: Faber-Castell DIY Modeling Clay Set For Kids

It has everything your child would need to put their imagination to work. This kid’s clay set comes with ten clay colors, a rolling tool, eight shape cutters, one texture plate, and a push mold. The soft clay is easy to use and does not stick to the hand. They are said to be made of quality materials and are considered safe for kids. These clays do not dry up, so your kids can build, leave them on display, and reuse it again. This time-tested clay kit is great for family night activities and helps you bond while recreating your child’s favorite scenes or characters in clay.

Item Weight: 1 pounds | Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 7.8 x 1.5 inches | Material: Clay | Color: Yellow,Orange,Blue,White,Green,Purple

Pros

  • Creates less mess
  • Comes with a storage case
  • Won’t stain hands
  • Non-toxic

Cons

  • May stick to certain surfaces
  • May feel quite hard after drying
My Personal Experience

"My kids had a blast with this modeling clay. It has vibrant colors and comes with tools for making creative models. It occasionally crumbled, but the reusable clay is a fun alternative to usual craft projects and helps boost creativity. Overall, a good product."

15. Best Engaging: Toysmith Rainbow Clay

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

The clay kit has 24 vibrant colors for your kids to unleash their imagination and create masterpieces. Each clay bundle is said to be made of high-quality materials that are non-toxic and safe to use for kids. This kit is recommended for children aged five years and up. With all the colors in the rainbow at their disposal, your kids can have fun creating funny and interesting art pieces.

Product Dimensions: 12.25 x 0.75 x 4 inches | Item Weight: 1 Pounds | Material: Plastic | Color: Rainbow

Pros

  • Soft texture
  • Flexible
  • Reusable
  • Boosts curiosity

Cons

  • May not have a storage container or pouch
  • Cannot be baked
Our Reviewer's Experience

"I gifted my niece this vibrant selection of clays for her birthday, and it has kept her engaged. Easy for little hands to mold, it doesn't dry out easily, fuels her creativity, and encourages hands-on fun beyond screens. I'm happy with my purchase."

How To Choose The Right Clay For Kids?

Modeling clays for children are a great way to spark creativity in young minds. Clay modeling activities also help in developing their fine motor skills. So, it is important that you give them the right clay sets. Here are a few points you should remember to choose the right clay for your kids.

  1. Safety: Before purchasing clay, make sure it is made up of non-toxic materials and is safe for kids. Also, check the age recommendation. Look for clay sets that are made of natural materials, do not have chemicals or allergy-causing agents in them, and meet EN 71 safety standards.
  2. Type of clay: There are two types of clay for kids-polymer and air dry clay. Each of them has its own benefits. For example, polymer clay does not dry but might need an oven to bake, whereas air dry clay dries up within 24 hours but shrinks upon drying. So, choose the one which would suit your needs.
  3. Accessories: Many clay kits come with additional accessories such as sculpting tools, googly eyes, etc. So, check them out and buy the one which you think your kids might enjoy doing.
  4. Molds or freestyle: Some clays come with molds, and all that the kids need to do is place the clay in the molds and press it to the desired shape. However, some clay kits do not come with molds; these need hand sculpting to create various shapes. So, it is best to choose based on your child’s skill level.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is clay good for kids to play with?

At a cognitive level, playing with child-safe clay instills initiation and curiosity while improving imagination, problem-solving skills, and motor skills. At a social level, clay modeling can enhance your child’s interactive and communicative skills as well (1).

2. Is air-dry clay safe for babies?

Most reputed air-dry clays are kid-friendly if they adhere to ASTM safety standards. As a general rule, clays are not meant for babies but are suitable for children three years and above.

3. Can kids use air-dry clay?

Children can play with kid-safe air-dry clay. The downside is that it can’t be reused once it’s dry. Plus, since the clay surface dries out quickly, children may need to work with it at a faster pace, which could be challenging.

4. How should I use clay for kids?

You’ll need a spacious table, board, or easy-to-clean floor for clay play. Initially, introduce your child just to the clay and let them play with it and try to figure out how it works. You could also choose to demonstrate how to play to them. Once they are accustomed to the clay work, they can then be introduced to kid-friendly tools and cutters (1).

5. Is modeling clay the same as Play-Doh?

Although they are meant for the same purposes, Play-Doh is at times found to be more crumbly and quick to dry as compared to modeling clay. Modeling clay might be a bit firm at the onset but softens rapidly as soon as it’s toyed with.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Priti Bose is a content and product writer who is passionate about researching the right toys for children of different ages. She has created this list of the best clays for kids after sifting through numerous user reviews and analyzing the product features to pick high-rated products. She has also included a buying guide and pointers on choosing the right product for your child.

The Bottom Line

Playing with clay or playdough is an engaging activity for children and is great for keeping them away from screens. It also helps them enhance their fine motor skills and visual skills and boosts their creativity. When bringing home one, ensure it is non-toxic, and choose between polymer clay and air-dry clay based on your preference. You may also purchase a clay kit that comes with several accessories to help your child create various new designs. Our top picks are the Crayola Modeling Clay Classpack, the ultra-light clay pack that doesn’t stick to your hands, the Creative Kids Air Dry Clay Modeling Crafts Kit, which is hypoallergenic, and the Holicolor Air Dry Magic Modeling Clay as it comes in a travel-friendly case.

Infographic: What Are The Advantages Of Clay Play For Children?

Did you know playing with clay can provide your child with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and psychological benefits? With its versatility and sensory benefits, clay play provides a hands-on experience that engages children and encourages their artistic expression. Explore the infographic below to learn how clay play can sculpt your child’s development.

Benefits Of Clay Play For A Child (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Better Kid Care: Play With Clay
    https://extension.psu.edu/programs/betterkidcare/early-care/tip-pages/all/play-with-clay

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