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.
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.
La Légende des siècles [The Legend of the Centuries]
This is an unusual picture. There is a chair sitting on a chair… how strange! Rene Magritte has taken something very ordinary and done something unusual with it, so that we take notice.
Often we forget to notice the ordinary things around us. But art can help us look again – and see things differently- and notice things that we normally would not.
Activity one: New views
Your window is a nice rectangle, just like a picture frame. Perhaps you have looked out of that window lots of times.
What is something that you would be very surprised to see outside your window?
You will need:
- An old magazine/newspaper/ or blank paper
- Blue tac/ masking take (tape that won’t mark the window)
- Coloured pens/ paper
Find some pictures of things that you wouldn’t usually see outside of your window. You can look in a newspaper of magazine for this, or you can draw something yourself.
Cut them out and hold them up to the window so that it looks like they are right there, outside! Keep playing, and enjoy making weird and wonderful surreal window collages!
Activity two: See, think, wonder.
Have another, closer look at this painting by Rene Magritte.
- Say out loud what you can see in the painting.
- Try and describe it to someone who hasn’t seen it. Is there anything that you’ve missed? Look again.
- What materials are the chairs made out of? What else is different about them?
- If this painting were a picture in a story book, what might the story be?
What questions would you like to ask the painter?
Activity 3: For all the family
This next activity is a game to help you take notice, together, as a family.
Head off to your local park, woods or garden with coloured pencils and paper (or a watercolour paint set if you’ve got one!) and maybe something to lean on.
Find a nice spot that you all like, and sit down together, back to back – or not too close that you can see the others’ drawings.
You’re going to try and take notice of all the sounds around you. It might help to close your eyes.
On your piece of paper, make a mark for each sound you hear. You could draw what you think is making that noise (bird, wind, mower) or you could draw what you think the sound looks like. Try and make big sounds look bigger on the page, and smaller sounds smaller.
Then reveal them to one another and see if you have noticed the same things or different!
Activity 4: Watch
Watch and listen to Ben tell a surreal Art Story to inspire you to take notice and find your own silliness around you!
Activity 5: For under 5’s
Clean: Hide and surreal Seek!
- Go and find some ordinary objects from around your house.
- Where would be the strangest place to put them? Why don’t they usually go there?
- What is the strangest thing you can put under your wee one’s pillow?
- What is the strangest thing they put under yours?
- What is the strangest thing you can put in the cutlery drawer?
- What are the strangest combinations? A shoe in the bath? A toothbrush under your pillow? A sock in the fridge?
- Have fun playing this hide-and-seek game together!
Messier: Strange objects in water
- Fill up the sink with water.
- Put some things in the water you wouldn’t normally
- Experiment with what you have… paper, toothpaste, teabags, cooking oil, paint – really take time to notice what they feel like before and after they’re submerged!