Art around you | Salvador Dalí & Edward James

Lobster Telephone

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.

Salvador Dalí & Edward James

Lobster Telephone

Dalí’s Lobster Telephone is one of the most famous sculptures in the world. DalÍ was known as a Surrealist artist. Surrealism is an art movement from 1920s France.

It was made up of artists who used their imaginations to create dream-like (or sometimes nightmare-ish!) artworks. Lobster Telephone is a great example of how the Surrealists would transform everyday things into weird and wonderful (often very funny!) objects.

This activities will have you putting unusual things together, playing surreal games and even hosting your own DalÍ inspired dinner party…!

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.

Activity one: Let’s get sur-real!

Make a surreal creature combining shapes, colours and body parts that don’t usually go together!

If you have magazines that you have permission to cut up:

  • Cut out a mix of pictures of animals, body parts and everyday objects.
  • Put them in a bag or a box.
  • Shake them up and randomly choose a few parts.
  • Put them together to create a new surreal collaged creature!

If you don’t have any magazines or newspapers:

  • Ask your grown-up to write down 10 random words on a piece of paper. They could be animals, types of food or objects from the home…
  • Without looking, pick up to three things
  • Put them together to create your new surreal character!

You could:

  • draw or paint a picture of your new creature
  • create a collage of it using magazine images, or cut out your own drawings
  • sculpt it from plasticine or salt dough (see last week’s activity if you’d like a recipe for paint or salt dough!)

… don’t forget to give your surreal creature a name!

Activity two: See, Think, Wonder

Use these questions as prompts to think a little bit deeper about DalÍ’s Lobster Telephone.


  • What do you see?
  • Where has the artist positioned everything?
  • Describe the shapes, pattern, colours and textures – what do you think is unusual about the telephone and the lobster?
  • What would you addremove or change about the sculpture?


  • What materials, tools and techniques were used to make this?
  • What stages do you think the artist went through?


  • How does the sculpture make you feel and why?
  • What kind of person do you think made it?
  • Where would be a good place to display it?
  • What do you think/love/hate about it?


  • When, where, why do you think this was created?
  • Can you see any symbols or metaphors?
  • What’s it about? What could it mean?

Remember: there are NO wrong answers. These questions are here to help you think a bit more about the process and decision-making that people might go through, to encourage your own art making!

Activity three: Art together!

Our mid-week activity is a game loved by the Surrealists! It’s called Exquisite Corpse, but you might know it as consequences

These suggestions are for two players, but you can adapt this to the number of players that you have at home – and add in extra stages if you like!

  1. On a piece of paper, draw a head and shoulders. Don’t overthink it! It could be a real animal, a creature from your imagination, an object from your house or anything you can dream up!
  2. Fold the paper down, hiding everything you just drew but leave two small marks for the next player to show them where to carry on from your drawing.
  3. Pass your paper to the other player and pick up the other paper to draw the shoulders to the waist and legs to the feet!
  4. Open up the paper to reveal a strange new collaborative creature!
  5. Share it with us on facebook or Twitter!

What was it like to draw without seeing the other parts?

Were you pleased with the end result?

How do you think your drawings would have differed if you could see what came before your drawing?


Activity four: Watch

Here is a dinner party hosted by Salvador DalÍ in 1941. He is hosting the party on a huge bed!


He has encouraged all of the guests to dress up in costumes that represent bad dreams.

The fish course was served in satin slippers.

The main course is jumping frogs!

He invited some very famous guests from the time… Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

Activity five: Dinner with Dalí!

We challenge you to design your own Surreal dinner party. Watch the clip above for inspiration before plotting out your plan!

  • What food would be on the menu?
  • What would the food look like?
  • How would you serve it?
  • Who would you invite?
  • What would your guests wear?

Write it up as a to-do list or menu and add illustrations to bring your plan to life!

Can you create any of the elements in real life? Maybe next time you share a meal, your family could all wear a silly hat or give the food a funny name?


For under 5s!

Collect these objects from around the house and enjoy reading this dream-like surreal sensory story together!

  • Metal spoon
  • Torch / mobile phone torch / fairy lights
  • A glass of water
  • spinning top / spinning a coin / or a wee spin around the room!
  • glass cup, leather shoe, copper penny
  • Small bowl and wooden spoon

The story is all about a girl called Poppy and a very magic porridge pot!

The Kolbenneblok and the Little Magic Pot

A sensory story about a magical vessel, inspired by Kolbenneblok, 1989, a sculpture by Tony Cragg.

Read this story