Thank you to JumpingClay USA for providing my family with complimentary access to a preschool workshop in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Today’s adventure is so special, there’s only one place in the entire country where you can have this experience (no joke!). And lucky for us, it’s in nearby Enfield, CT!
That’s right. JumpingClay originated abroad, but thanks to CT resident and JumpingClay USA founder Aime Liggett, now we can experience this creative art form without the need for a passport 🙂
So what exactly is JumpingClay, you may ask? Well, in a nutshell it’s a creative arts studio specializing in clay activities for kids of all ages and their grownups too. Through easy to follow workshops teaching a few simple techniques, kids (and adults too) can become expert modelers in no time. Thus opening the door to a whole new world of creative expression! Not to mention all those other benefits like working on concentration, fine tuning fine motor skills, and building oodles of self-confidence (look what I made, Mom!). The clay itself is really marvelous as well. You can find out more details about it here, but it’s soft, easily moldable for little hands, comes in lots of colors (but can also be mixed into new, original colors), is totally non-toxic, air dries to a durable finish and doesn’t crumble or break apart. And best of all, it’s also extremely not messy. We always love that!
Still a relative newcomer on the kids’ activities scene here in CT, JumpingClay opened its Enfield doors back in March of 2015. And after several of our readers mentioned that we should check this place out, well, we finally did!
It was an easy drive for us up 91 North. JumpingClay is located not far from the highway in a plaza with several other buildings. If you find Smyth’s Ice Cream (totally wish it had been warm enough for ice cream!), you’ll want to look for JumpingClay two buildings beyond that one.
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this giant “Barber Shop” sign next door 🙂
With the abrupt shift in the weather a couple weeks back, I was so happy to find a new indoor activity to keep my kiddos occupied (you know, besides that game they play in the house where they jump from one piece of furniture to another, which apparently is the only game to play despite the gazillion new toys they just got for the holidays). So we ventured out to Enfield for one of their preschool workshops. These workshops are geared towards kids ages 2-5 and last anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on your little one’s attention span 🙂 Here are the projects that we were working on during this visit. Cute little winter-themed magnets!
JumpingClay also offers longer, 1 hour workshops for older kids and their adults (ages 4 and up). And here’s a sample project for one of those workshops.
As you can see, the 1 hour workshops are a little more complicated. But since the techniques are really simple to learn, there’s no need to be intimidated!
Both workshops are run by trained instructors who will help guide you through each step and teach you the few straightforward techniques you’ll need to complete the shapes for just about any project.
Although JumpingClay is open every Thursday through Sunday for workshops, the themes of these workshops change weekly so the best way to keep up to date with their latest offerings is to check their Facebook page frequently to see what’s happening and when. Although these are not drop-in classes, just as long as you call ahead (even same day) to check on availability, you can still attend. You can also email them to reserve your place or just send them a note via Facebook. Since there is a limit to how many people can attend each class, it’s always a good idea to register ahead of time so you don’t show up at the studio only to find out there aren’t any open slots in that workshop. Because that would be a bummer for everyone!
These are also NOT drop off classes, which means that parents are expected to stay and help their child or even participate themselves if they want to (which I highly recommend!). For older children who don’t need the extra coaching, parents can just hang out at the studio while their children participate. There is plenty of extra seating and FREE coffee 🙂
Once you’ve got a few workshops under your belt, you can also feel free to stop in anytime and purchase a little bit of clay or any of the pre-packaged (and adorable!) projects that are for sale in the studio. You can work on the project there or take it home (or both!).
So as I said, we were there for a preschool workshop to see how my 2-year-old and my 5-year-old would do. We all gathered around the table to get started.
These workshops are led step-by-step by trained instructors so it’s really easy and enjoyable. They just give you each piece as you need it and tell you what to do with it. My big guy caught on quick!
The little guy definitely enjoyed the stretching and pulling and rolling parts (with a little extra help from Miss Aime!).
But his attention was soon diverted to all of the fun dinosaur figures (shocker) populating the shelves–and mine to making sure he didn’t knock all these figures off the displays.
Fortunately, Miss Aime has a secret stash of toddler toys on hand just for moments like these. Bless her 🙂
So while the little guy worked on some puzzles on the carpet, we got back to our seal magnets.
Hubby jumped in to work on the little guy’s project. He probably won’t admit it, but I think he was having just as much fun as the kids.
Not bad for our first time!
Since some of the kids in the group were a little older and/or had previous JumpingClay experience, Miss Aime pulled out another magnet project for us to try.
The two projects together took about 45 minutes. Afterwards, we could put them in provided plastic bags to take home safely. The projects were pretty sturdy already, but the clay takes about 24 hours to harden completely. Since it’s an air drying process, you’ll want to take them back out of the bag when you get home.
After, we had a few minutes to browse around the studio before the next group came in. These would make awesome gifts, don’t you think?
And check out this clay gingerbread house (which was part of the holiday decor so I’m not sure if it will still be there on future visits). Doesn’t that make you want to run over there and start making things out of clay?!
There is also this huge space where you can host a birthday party (and, incidentally, near the sink in this room is where you can find the FREE coffee. Because they have FREE coffee. Did I mention the FREE coffee?).
This was such a fun, relaxing, low-key activity, but at the same time it was creative and educational. The boys enjoyed themselves, hubby and I appreciated the chance to hone some of our own creative skills, and now we have some truly adorable magnets on display in the kitchen that the kids can’t wait to tell everyone they made.
And after that cruel tease of passing by an ice cream shop in 20 degree weather, I’ve got my eye on this ice cream clay set.
If it’s too cold to eat it, at least I can model it 🙂
Phone: (860) 698-2337
THU – FRI: 10AM-5PM
You must register in advance for workshops; they are not drop-in programs. Preschool workshops are typically held Thursday & Friday mornings at 10:00am & 11:00am and last anywhere from about 20-40 minutes (depending on how long it takes your little one to complete the project and their attention span). The 1 hour workshops for ages 4 to adult typically take place on Thursday & Friday afternoons starting at 3:30pm, and also on Saturdays (11:00am, 1:30pm, & 4:00pm) and Sundays (1:30pm and 4:00pm). BE SURE TO CHECK THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE MOST UP TO DATE INFO ABOUT CURRENT WORKSHOPS; YOU CAN REGISTER FOR THESE WORKSHOPS BY PHONE, EMAIL OR EVEN VIA FACEBOOK.
*Additional hours are added during school vacation weeks, holidays and summer. They are also available for larger groups by appointment. Call ahead for availability or like their Facebook page for up to the minute changes!
You can pay at the studio either before or after the workshop. Cash and credit cards accepted.
Preschool workshops are $8/child (Payment is only required for participating adults; if you are just there to help your child, there is no charge for you.)
1 hour workshops are $15/person (Payment is only required for participating adults; if you are just there to help your child, there is no charge for you.)
For experienced JumpingClay visitors (i.e. you’ve already got some workshops under your belt and have mastered the techniques–which are really simple, no worries!), you are also welcome to come in during regular business hours and purchase tubs of clay or a premade kit to create on your own in the studio. Prices for clay/sets start at just $3.
- Stroller Friendly: YES.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES! And they even have complimentary coffee there to enjoy.
- Restroom: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: YES.
- Parking: YES.
- Food for Sale: NO.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES. Hey, sometimes toddlers need snacks, right?
- Cash Required: NO. Credit cards are accepted.
- Dress Code: None. And honestly, this stuff isn’t even messy at all so you really don’t have to worry about your wardrobe here.
- Age Recommendations: Toddler to Adult (yes! grownups will love this too!). My 2-year-old kind of wandered in and out of the preschool workshop (which was totally fine–toddlers have short attention spans; they get that), but he certainly enjoyed the parts that he chose to participate in. But my 5-year-old just rocked it! He was awesome and had such a great time. Obviously, you know your child best, but I would say that if your child is old enough to handle clay (and not try to stick it in their mouths; ha!), then he or she can enjoy these workshops. Some younger kids may need a little more assistance than others, but what kiddo doesn’t love to squish and squash and pull things with their fingers, right? They will love it 🙂
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. 1 hour workshops (ages 4+) are available on Saturdays & Sundays.
- Discounts: None right now, but they are working on a customer loyalty program. Stay tuned!
- Birthday Party Venue: YES. Get more info here.
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