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Kids Review the Air Dry Clay Activity Kit by Open the Joy

Dig Play-Doh? Stuck on Silly Putty? Our kid reviewers think you should give Open the Joy's Air Dry Clay Activity Kit a try, too — here's why.

Erica Silverstein


The Seriously Official Camp Toy Reviews team got stuck in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, so my family was called upon yet again to test out a CAMP favorite. This time, we were invited to share honest kid opinions about the Open the Joy Air Dry Clay Activity Kit.

Our experienced substitute reviews team consists of siblings Brother and Sister, who embrace the #nofilter lifestyle and always tell it like it is.

The Air Dry Clay Activity Kit arrived in an attractive green mini-suitcase. Inside were 15 colors of air-dry clay, each in a small round lidded container.


The reviews team was eager to get their hands on the clay, but first they had to navigate the exciting challenge of releasing the colors from their plastic prison cells.

Once the product was in their hands, the first reactions were positive:

Brother: “It feels weird and wet and fun.”

Open the Joy supplies a how-to booklet of 28 animals, monsters, vehicles, and other critters you can create with the clay. Our reviews team won’t stand for adults telling them what to do, so they got straight down to the task of creating their own custom aliens, including “Dottie” from the planet Snorbury and “a predator” from 40 Eridani B (which I’m told is an actual planet?).

Sister: [indignantly] “I like free-making!”


To make sure our review was thorough, I used my Mom Boss authority to commandeer a few tubs of clay we could use to test out Open the Joy’s instructions. The steps were clear, and my cute creations pleased the reviews team.


The debate quickly turned to how Open the Joy’s air dry clay compared with Play-Doh, Silly Putty, real clay, and the air-dry clay used in last year’s virtual school art class. As usual on this team, consensus was hard to reach.

Sister: “It looks like clay and Play-Doh combined.”

Brother: “It acts like a cross between air dry clay and Silly Putty.”

After some tactile experiments, all reviewers agreed that it was the unique texture that made Open the Joy’s product stand out.

Brother: “It separates like Silly Putty. You have to quickly pull it apart and snap it.”


Unlike normal clay, which can be easily twisted and broken into pieces, Open the Joy’s air-dry clay gets stringy if you pull it apart slowly — like cheese when you bite into hot pizza. The reviews team quickly employed their Silly Putty skills to snap off bits of clay to work with. While Silly Putty is fun and stretchy, these reviewers liked that this clay came in more colors than Silly Putty, which can’t really be used to sculpt creations.

Upon completion of their first alien creations, the reviews team took stock.


Brother: “Air dry clay is tougher to work with. This is more malleable.” 

All team members found it easy to mold the clay into the desired shapes and attach pieces like eyes, hair, and horns to the various clay critters. 

Brother did deduct points because you could not paint this clay, but Sister reminded him that the Open the Joy clay was more fun because it comes in lots of colors. She rated Open the Joy’s clay highly because the white air-dry clay she has at home doesn’t “have the right colors that catch my eye.”

From a Mom’s perspective, any clay is a win if it doesn’t need me to tarp down the playroom or risk burning down the kitchen when the kids decide to harden up their stick figure replicas of Rodin’s Burghers of Calais in the oven. Open the Joy’s clay will harden and dry if you leave it alone for three days.

Sister quickly figured out how to swirl two colors together to make a posse of snake-like critters and planet-esque balls.


Sister: “Play-Doh mixes up too well, so you can’t make it colorful like this.” 

The colors streaked nicely without blending into the grayish-brownish hue produced by mixing too many disparate shades of Play-Doh. This Mom also appreciates Open the Joy’s slightly vinegary smell compared to the classic Play-Doh bouquet.

One especially nice feature: Open the Joy donates a toy to hospitalized children for every toy purchased. In fact, Open the Joy was started to create toys and activity kits that offer therapeutic fun, creative outlets, and family bonding for children with serious illnesses.


To that end, the suitcase for the product states that clay can “release pent up feelings through squeezing, shaping, and creating.” When asked which pent-up feelings she was releasing, Sister said, “My creative feelings. When I don’t have paper for drawing, my feelings get stuck inside me.”

Given that Sister had to report to HR last week relating to some quite loud workplace disputes about sand in her swimsuit, too much walking outside, and Brother touching her stuff, this Mom Boss would argue that Sister’s feelings have a pretty regular outlet. But I can fully endorse any product that will help to release those feelings in a constructive way. And that’s especially true when it also results in adorable finger puppets.


When presented with this recounting of our findings, the reviews team acknowledged the report with the following professional remarks.

Brother: “I’m going to make a butt.”

Sister: “A pink butt!”