The following "modeling scripture in clay" idea has been around a long time. It was posted in our Story of Creation Arts Workshop ideas. Surprisingly, this technique works well with older kids too. The key is to control the "when" and "how long" they get to mold the clay and to keep it moving, instead of turning it into a craft.
THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A CRAFT ACTIVITY "AFTER" the scripture. Rather, the modeling with clay is done AS you read scripture, ...it is intertwined with scripture and discussion. For example, in the Days of Creation modeling idea you can read below, the modeling is done after each 'day of creation' verse is read. Then before moving on to the next verse, the teacher asks a student or two about what they made, adds a life application question. In this way, your scripture reading becomes an activity, and not just "a reading."
This technique seems especially suited to scriptures like the Story of Creation which has seven specific days that are full of vivid imagery. But it could also be used to create characters as they appear in a story, pose them to show action, responses, ...or depict ideas such as "inherit the earth" or creating and acting out the scene of the woman who lost her coin. So many possibilities! You could represent God's attitude off to the side. Re-pose (retell) the story after first molding it in clay to show "that way it should have gone down." As you walked through verses, you could tell them to "work together" to spell keyword, decorating those letters to represent what the word is about. etc etc etc
Making Clay Creations of Key Verses and Words --a scripture reading activity for the Story of Creation
We used modeling clay for this scripture reading activity and got some really creative responses. I suppose we could have used play-doh, but we had a tub of modeling clay handy. Modeling clay will also dry so they could take pieces home at the end of the lesson.
The teacher or students read aloud each day of Creation, then each student takes two or three minutes to mold their clay to represent that day.
We also had several suggestions for representing the repeating phrase "and God saw that it was good" (exclamation points were popular). They made these quickly to punctuate the end of each day after they had made their other model representing what was in the day.
While modeling, we talked about why God made those things, and how we should (or they already do) take care of them, respect, enjoy, be thankful, etc. Before moving on to the next day, we went around the table to see and hear what each student had created for that day. This is a good opportunity to ask that student a question and interject additional teaching comments.
After each day was read and modeled, we saved a few of their pieces from that day to the middle of the table so that by the end of the scripture reading we had a "clay representation" of the Story of Creation verses --which we then reviewed. (When a child's molded day pieces were selected, we gave them more clay so they could continue to mold the next days too as they were read.)
Tip: One thing that helped for younger children with the real modeling clay was to warm it slightly ahead of time to make it pliable.
Tip: We had a big sheet of paper in the middle of the table with areas for the Seven Days. For Day 1: "Let their be light" we had a big black circle to hold their "light" creations.
Tip: We gave each student a sheet of wax paper to make their creations on. Easier to lift and move too.
Tip: You could make your Seven Days of Creation using glow-in-the-dark play doh and illuminate it with LIGHT --using a blacklight.
Check out this YouTube video-- https://youtu.be/6T3FTTaJgXo for how to make home-made glow-in-the-dark play-doh. It's easy.