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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Make a clay model that’s YouthShaped!

Let everyone build on their YouShape Award theme with this clay play

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You’ll need

  • Camera or phone
  • Something to protect surfaces (for example, newspaper or tablecloths)
  • Clay
  • Tools to carve with (such as blunt wooden or plastic knives, lolly sticks or toy clay tools)
  • Any items related to your YouShape themes for inspiration
  • Rolling pins

Before you begin

·       Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.

·     Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Contribution to the YouShape Award

This activity may contribute towards the 'Lead' section of the YouShape Award, depending on the Scouts section you’re in. If this session completes the requirement for an individual or a group, you may want to hand the ‘Lead’ badge out at the end of the session.

Setting up this activity

·       Divide the clay up between the number of participants and set it out on the surface that you’ll be working on. Put out the tools and equipment out too, making sure everyone had access to them.

·       You may want to cover the surface with a protective material to help contain mess, such as a PVC tablecloth, burlap or thin plastic mats.

·       Make sure equipment and materials are age appropriate. Make sure small objects are not put in mouths, ears and noses. Remind young people not to put anything in their mouth and wash hands regularly.

·       You may want to set out items inspired by, used in or related to your group’s YouShape award experience so far for inspiration. You could print out photos for people to look at or leave out copies of your YouShape plan ideas. If you’ve gone on a trip somewhere, you could use leaflets or souvenirs from the location. If there’s a book that’s inspired you, you could read it again before you begin.

Run the activity

1.     Gather everyone in a circle and discuss the YouShape Award experience so far. Ask everyone what they’ve enjoyed, whose ideas you’ve used or what contributions everyone’s made, and what you're doing or would like to do next.

2.     When you’re ready, ask everyone to start working with the clay. Remind people to make something inspired by the YouShape award. For example, if you've set a theme to learn about sea life, they might make a creature they saw on an aquarium visit, create something from a fact learned in a quiz, show their friend playing a game, make a character from a book you’ve read, or sculpt some litter to show the damage plastic does in the ocean. Remember, people can make whatever they want and there’s no right or wrong answers.

3.     If anyone has a theme to learn more about an artist, or anything art related, think how this could be incorporated into this activity.

4.     As everyone is working with the clay, volunteers and young leaders should spend time going round and asking everyone what they’re making. This is a product-driven question that sets the expectation of the people creating ‘something’, moving them away from exploring texture and shape, and bringing their ideas to life.

5.   You could provide more safe tools, such as child-friendly kitchen utensils, and safe materials, such as natural objects or water, for them to combine the clay with and be inspired by. For example, sticks could become legs, buildings or roads. Remember, having more tools will allow people to experiment more and be more creative.

6.   When they’re finished, leave the clay sculptures in a safe place to dry. Make sure to wash your hands carefully to get all the clay off and tidy up the surfaces.


This activity involved working with clay in a creative away. It allowed us to express ourselves. We had to use the clay to tell a story or share an idea with someone else. What did you create? What did you think, feel, hear and see as you made it? What inspired you? Did you use any of the tools or materials?

Take time to have a look at what everyone has made. What do you like about other people’s work? What does it make you think about? Do you understand their message or what they are trying to get across?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Phones and cameras

Make sure parents and carers are aware and have given consent for photography.

·       Some arts and craft activities may involve touching certain textures or items or involve getting messy. People should only do this if they’re comfortable too. People could wear plastic gloves if they don’t like the feeling of a certain material on their hands, they could work in a team so someone else could do that part of the task, they could use another method of being creative, or use a different tool to help them avoid touching the material.

·       An adult volunteer or young leader should offer help to anyone who needs it during the make or with specific craft items. People could also work with a partner or in a small group, so they can help each other. For example, they could help with rolling out or shaping the clay.

·    You could use different objects for people to craft, paint, draw or print with, so there’s a range of items for people to be able to grip and hold. If anyone struggles with fine motor skills, they could use larger materials. You could swap out the items for something easier to handle.

·    People who struggle with making choices could find all the options a bit overwhelming, so they might need extra support. They might want to work with a friend, young leader or volunteer to be able to help be creative.  You could have a whole group discussion before letting people decide, as this might help people think of ideas or choose the best option for them. If they find it difficult, you could have a ready-made list of ideas for people to use and pick from. The list might inspire another idea!

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Make sure you pay attention and note down the ideas everyone has built on. You may want to take pictures of the clay sculptures. You could plan your next Scouts programme based on what people have made, then show everyone how the term plan has been inspired by their ideas. For example, if someone made a hedgehog, you could make leafy hedgehogs, create a hedgehog house or play a hedgehog themed game.