Winter break has been an interesting week. It’s super cold for one thing, and it’s definitely made me less motivated. But I knew we had to get out of the house because we’d ALL go stir-crazy.
I was looking for an indoor activity for sure. Most library activities were for the older, more behaved children (as in, my three year old is a tornado that can’t sit still). And I wasn’t in the mood to chase my child through an indoor play center. Momma was on winter break too.
So I decided to take a chance and try a workshop at Jumping Clay USA right here in my own town of Enfield. They’d been on my radar for a while but I had been nervous about trying a sit-down activity with my wild child. I gave it a go!
According to their website and Facebook page, they were offering thirty minute preschool sessions every day during winter break. I signed us up early in the week for their Thursday workshop at 10 a.m. Normally they offer the preschool workshops on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (schedule permitting). The preschool workshops are geared towards ages 2 to 5. It’s a short session with super easy techniques and the project is usually something that you really can’t mess up. They also go slow, and are very understanding when your child walks off in the middle of a step or two (or all of it). I was really nervous going into this workshop. Many of our outings are usually unstructured and non-committal at this stage in life. Because, he’s three. But I am really glad we tried it!
Jumping Clay is located in Enfield, as I mentioned, in a small storefront plaza on Palomba Drive. It’s actually right near one of our favorite ice cream shops, Smyth’s! It’s also right across the way from my hairdresser and right next door to my husband’s barber. So, we know the area well. Even if you are unfamiliar with Enfield, it’s actually really easy to find.
When you walk in, you’ll be in a small vestibule with a coat rack and hooks for your jackets. We were definitely bundled up that morning! So it was nice to have a place to drop off our coats.
You’ll go through another door to enter Jumping Clay. Straight ahead, you’ll see the front desk. When you arrive, you’ll want to sign in. The front desk will be where you check out at the end of your workshop. The workshops are all very affordable. The preschool session is $8 per child (parents are free unless they want to make a clay creation too!). The regular sessions (1 hour long) are $16 each. They accept cash and credit card.
They offer a ton of classes and sessions, including jump-in’s where you can just stop by during open hours to do your own creation with little instruction.
There are two large rooms at Jumping Clay. On your right, you’ll find a large room with a long table. This room serves as their party room. But on the day we visited, they had two ladies from the shop working on their own amazing project!
If you are interested in a birthday party at Jumping Clay, you can find more information on their website here. They offer many different packages, and all of them include a clay creation that the kids get to keep!
To the left, you’ll find two separate areas where they hold workshops. The whole space is open, bright and really clean. It’s also very colorful and inviting for the little ones. My child had no hesitation in making himself at home.
Our workshop was being taught by Aimee at the back table. Our clay creation for today was a melted snowman!
The table was set up with everything to make our melted snowman – including every color of clay imaginable.
He was excited to get started- let’s see how long that lasted!
I had no idea what to really expect – from either this class or my child. But I was really surprised at how easy and engaging they made this for preschoolers! As I mentioned, the preschoolers usually work on a simple clay creation. This project involved lots of rolling, pulling and squishing.
If you’ve never worked with Jumping Clay’s clay before, you are in for a treat. Their clay is amazing. It’s super easy to work with. It squishes and stretches so easily. It’s also really great to mold with. However, once you stick something together, like with any clay, it’s there to stay. The clay is non-toxic and 100% safe. It’s also mess-free! It air-dries and takes a good 24-48 hours to really harden. So after you’ve made a creation, make sure to keep it out of reach of destroying little hands…
Aimee made each step really simple. We worked on each part one by one: from the eyes to the carrot nose – then the body and buttons followed by intricate (but easy) stick arms and a hat! And the placement of each piece on the snowman could go anywhere since “he’s melted”. It was definitely a perfect first clay creation for a three year old!
Aimee was also really great with the kids- she made it fun and interesting- and when my child lost focus (inevitably), she found ways to pull him back in. She even just let him wonder while this mom did the craft. We were in a small group of just four kids, and the other three had already taken a class or two before, so they understood how the class worked and kept their focus. My boy likes to wander. Fortunately, he couldn’t get too far and there was minimal trouble for him to wreak. And the instructors here at Jumping Clay know that with preschoolers you can’t expect too much from them- hence the super short, really easy craft!
In the meantime, look what I made!
Okay, he did a lot of the work with a bit of help from mom. I let him take pride in his melted snowman magnet!
Honestly though, he had more fun exploring the shop and checking out the display cases with all the amazing work they do here at Jumping Clay! He was fascinated by those ice cream cones. So much so that we had to take a box kid home!
Speaking of which, make sure you take time to check out their kits and consider taking one home with you! They have so many creations to choose from! And many of them are for little ones, 3 and up. I can’t wait to break ours out!
I have to be honest – I went in to this feeling weary about how well my child would do at a structured class like this. And while he definitely lost focus a lot, he also did sit still long enough to put together most of his melted snowman magnet. We had an amazing instructor, who was not only great with kids but also super understanding of what to expect (and not expect) from a preschooler. As much as I felt bad that he was roaming around and not paying attention, I know that the teachers at Jumping Clay were not worried about that at all. They had great techniques for gaining the kids’ attention and mostly went with the flow. That’s the sign of a great teacher!
So, we survived. And now I can say that we can handle an arts & craft workshop. I will definitely be planning more clay dates in our future!
This about sums it up…
76 Palomba Drive – Enfield, Connecticut
Monday – Wednesday: Off-site workshop and Groups by Appointment Only
Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit their website for workshop hours.
- Workshops, independent clay jump-ins, and classes offered- registration is required for workshops as space is limited. Drop-in clay creating is available but expect to work independently.
- Workshop prices are $8 per project for preschool; $16 per project for one hour sessions. Parents can help and are free unless they choose to do their own project!
- Jump-in clay creating is available at the cost of the supplies and kits- however, there is limited instruction provided (this is not a workshop)
- Party packages available
- Clay kits and modeling sets for sale at the store – Jumping Clay is safe and non-toxic.
- Family friendly – but the crafts and workshops are intended for ages 3 and up
- Cash and credit card accepted
- Parking lot
- Restrooms Available