Art around you | Barbara Hepworth

Conversation with Magic Stones

Activities for children of all ages to look at, talk about and make their own discoveries about art.

As you explore this resource please keep in mind that there are no wrong answers, or that there is only one way to do the activities - they are all about looking, chatting, making, and exploring art, wherever you are and whatever you have around you.

You know your child best

Some activities may suit you better than others so pick and choose!


We’ve aimed the language at age 7+, but activities can be suitable for any age, just adapt to suit your child.


How long your child engages with the activity will vary. Depending on their age, the way they’re feeling that day, the immediate appeal of any activity... some will work better than others. Don't worry if they're not feeling it - try again another time, or move on to something else. You might be surprised by what they're interested in.  


We hope these suggestions will allow your child to develop their creativity by encouraging their curiosity, open mindedness, problem-solving and imagination.

Art knowledge

You don’t need to know anything about art to have fun with it. Encourage your child to share their ideas, observations and opinions. There’s never a wrong answer about art. And it's ok not to know all the answers. Nobody does. Where would the fun be in that?


If something worked, do it again!

Let your child lead

You don’t need to have all the ideas. In fact, if you really want your child to be creative, encouraging them to come up with their own ideas is a brilliant way to help your child be creative and explore their imagination.

Try to enjoy, together

Take a deep breath, you’re doing a brilliant job. Let us know if we can support you - we can't wait to see you in the gallery, as soon as we can.

Barbara Hepworth

Conversation with Magic Stones


These activities take inspiration from the multi-part sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, Conversation with Magic Stones. The artist called the three standing parts 'figures' and she called the other three parts 'magic stones'.

Activity one: your turn!

Each of these stones has a unique decoration on its surface.
If you zoom in closely to the photo you can see scratched-in circles, marks and textured areas.

We want you to find as many different textures as you can from around the house. Start by collecting a few things that you think are interesting to touch like:

- a hairbrush
- a lemon
- an ice cube

Why not ask someone in your house to close their eyes and see if they can guess what they are? You could even make your own textures. If you have chalk or crayons try doing a rubbing, or use silver foil to wrap around an object to capture a texture you like.

Activity two: see, think, wonder

Take a closer look…

  • Does Conversation with Magic Stones remind you of anything?
  • What sounds might magic stones make?
  • Imagine having a conversation with magic stones… what would you talk about?
  • How have conversations changed in the last year and the last 1000 years?
  • How do you think conversations will change in the future?
  • What’s the best conversation you’ve ever had? What made it so good?

Activity three: a mid-week challenge for all the family

Have a conversation about what's magic in your life- or what's really special to you. Write it down, draw a quick pic, take a photo ... share it with us however you like.

If you get stuck, why not try making up an imaginary conversation together? Start a sentence with the words... "The other day, when I was in the park, I had THE most magical conversation with a fairy! It started like this..."

Take it in turns to say what happened next, until you have had a full, magic conversation!


Activity four: Listen...

Close your eyes and listen to the description of the sculpture.

Barbara Hepworth carved directly into wood and stone with lots of interesting tools. Can you imagine what sounds you might hear if you were standing beside her when this was being made?

Activity five: use your senses...

One of our specially-created 'sensory stories' is inspired by this week's sculpture. After you've enjoyed this story, find 3 or 6 things in your house that could have a magic conversation. Act out or imagine the conversation.

Read the story