Art around you | Yinka Shonibare

Sun, Sea and Sand

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.

Yinka Shonibare

Sun, Sea and Sand

We're taking inspiration from this artwork by Yinka Shonibare. We’re going to look at how objects can tell stories, have conversations, and even create portraits!

Yinka Shonibare is a ‘conceptual’ artist. He begins with a concept or an idea, then he looks for objects and images that help to communicate, and to get others thinking about, that idea. He uses lots of different materials like wax fabrics, photography and sculpture to explore the things that he’s most interested in; ideas around cultural identity and race.

In some of the activities below, we want you to see what objects you can find around the house with which to communicate your own ideas or stories…

Activity one: make it yours!

This first activity is to create a portrait of yourself made up entirely of objects you can find around the house! They could be some of your favourite things, or other things that mean something important to you.

You could draw the objects, write them down, or you could use the objects themselves to make your very own ‘installation’ just like Yinka Shonibare!

Self-portrait in objects by Bob Hardy, Glasgow, bassist in Franz Ferdinand. Image © Bob Hardy.

Activity two: see, think, wonder

Art can inspire us in lots of different ways. This activity doesn't require you to do or make anything, just to take the time to think and to talk, using these questions as prompts to help you see the world afresh. You could just think about these questions to yourself, write down your thoughts, or have a conversation with others.

Did you know that the average time spent looking at an artwork is 9 seconds?
Try looking at the photo of this week’s artwork for 9 seconds, then describe in detail all you can remember.
What would you need to make this artwork?

Yinka says that you don’t need to know anything about art to enjoy looking at his creations; everybody can enjoy a conversation about art.

He uses the words FUN, COLOUR, EVERY DAY LIFE to talk about his art. What words would you use?

Imagine you are the artist.
What questions would you ask yourself before, during and after making this artwork?

This artwork is an installation made up of 100 fabric-covered bowls laid out on a blue floor. Installation art is a type of art that can use any materials and objects to create an experience in a particular place. You can usually walk around it and step into it. It can make you more aware of the space around you.

Find out more about installation art

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

Recreate the most famous pose in Scottish art by creating your own lockdown version of ‘the Skating Minister’!

You could create your own 'Skating Miniature' using household objects, or you could take on the role of Reverend yourself!

Inspired by Yinka Shonibare's Reverend on Ice.


Activity four: watch

This is a clip of Yinka Shonibare from a BBC programme What do Artists do all Day?


Try writing a diary-entry about what you’ve been up to all day. You could make a simple sketchbook out of A4 paper to capture your day following Sam’s instructions in the video below.


Activity five: Work together

The artist Yinka Shonibare works with a team of people to make artworks. Each person brings different skills such as construction, costume design, sewing, drawing and imagination.

What skills do you and your family have? We want you to make something all together, using everyone’s unique skills.

Need some inspiration? How about planning a meal together? One person could make the shopping list or look in the cupboards, another person could write the menu, someone could make placemats out of paper or recycled cardboard, someone could measure out ingredients or do the all-important stirring, someone could even choose what everyone wears for the meal!

Have fun collaborating!

Especially for Under 5s: Sun, Sea and Sand!

Inspired by the title of this week’s artwork, ‘Sun, Sea and Sand’, we want you to create the your own seaside using objects from around the house!

What would you need to make the seaside? Something yellow for the sand? Something blue for the sea? What else might you need for a trip to the beach? Go on a scavenger hunt to find the bits and bobs you need before bringing them all together! (You can always draw what you can’t find!)

Then lay back and enjoy your beach scene together – you could even pack a picnic and eat it by the sea!