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.
William Bell Scott
Una and the Lion
This painting is called Una and the Lion. It’s based on an old poem called The Faerie Queen. In the poem, Una’s parents have been captured by a ferocious dragon. She goes on a journey to save them, but she comes face-to-face with a fierce lion. The lion is so impressed by Una’s bravery that he decides to be her lifelong friend and protector.
Listen to the story below to find out what happens to Una and her family, go on your own seasonal adventure or imagined journey and make a bravery crown.
Activity 1: Pen pals – imaginary journeys!
Imagine you could go on a journey anywhere right now. Where would you go? Who would you bring, what would you pack and why?
Write about, draw, paint or collage your imaginary journey – and the things that you’d need to pack - on a piece of card or a letter.
One of the most striking things about this painting is the colours – it‘s like a portrait of autumn. Would your journey look, feel, smell different if you were taking it in winter, spring, summer or autumn? Try to capture that in your drawings or words.
A nice thing to do at this time of year is to become a pen-pal with a friend – sending and swapping imaginary (or real!) tales, in letters, of where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to.
Activity 2: See, Think, Wonder
- What season is it in the painting? And what time of day? Is Una from the past, present or future? How can we tell?
- Where are they? Where might they be going?
- Who are they? Are they friends? Enemies?
- What kind of emotion do you think Una is feeling?
- How about the lion?
- How do we know that Una is not scared of the lion?
- What is she holding in her hand?
- What other animals are in the painting?
- What do you think might happen next?
Activity 3: Adventure together
Go on an adventure walk together, just like Una and the Lion. When you’re out and about, take a photograph of the person that you’re with, surrounded by nature. Do they look brave, shy, excited or something else? Try to include a clue that that shows which season it is.
Activity 4: Art Stories
Get comfy and listen to Ben bring this old story to life. While you’re listening, why not grab a pencil and paper and draw along – or look at the painting of Una and the Lion and think about some of the questions in Activity 2.
Activity 5 for under 5s: Make a bravery crown
- Cut a long strip of paper or deconstruct a paper bag. It needs to be long enough so it goes around your wee ones’ head.
- Glue, tape or staple the ends together, to form your crown base - if you’re using a stapler, make sure to do it so the jaggy staples are on the outside.
- Together cut or tear shapes of paper to stick on your crown.
- Add anything your wee one is interested in with double-sided tape or tape folded over. Leaves, sticks and things collected from outside make great autumn jewels especially at this time of year, or you can make your own ‘leaves’ out of paper.
- We hope that whenever you wear your crowns, you will feel as brave as Una!