Home is where the art is: a creative curriculum for kids

Families – fill up your week with these free fun art activities!

Every Monday, we'll post 5 creative activities that have been designed for children of all ages to explore at their own pace. And, of course, grown-ups can join in too – especially with the mid-week activities for the entire family!

These wee taster activities have been specially created by our Learning team to enable children and families to make their own discoveries about art. They aim to develop creativity skills, such as problem solving, imagination, curiosity and open-mindedness. Please keep in mind that there are no wrong answers - this is all about looking, chatting, making and enjoying your time at home!

We’d love to see the great art you come up with at home, so please share your photos on our Facebook page or by using #HomeArt on Twitter or Instagram!

We hope you enjoy our ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ Creative Curriculum!

In addition to these activities, we are also now accepting entries from families for our Art Competition for Schools. Find out more about this fantastic opportunity for children of all ages!

You know your child best

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

Age

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

Timing

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.  

Creativity

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?

Repeat

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.

This week's artwork is...

Karla Black

Contact Isn't Lost

Art is so much more than just looking at paintings. Art can be made out of anything! And, with some art, you don’t just see it – you use your other senses too!

Karla Black is a Scottish artist who creates abstract sculptures that take over huge gallery spaces and stimulate all of our senses. She uses things like baby powder, soap, toothpaste, chalk, make-up, cotton wool and mud as the materials in her art-making, as well as traditional art materials like plaster, pigment and paint. As you walk into a room that has her artwork in it, you can often smell it before you see it!

For some artists the process of making is just as important (or more important!) than the final artwork created. This week we’re playing with this idea by finding, making and engaging our senses with lots of different materials.

Activity one: use your senses

Karla Black said, ‘There’s not much difference between Boots the chemist and the art shop – you can put anything on your body or smear anything you want into a bit of paper.’

This week we’re going to use stuff from around the house to make art that will activate all of our senses; see, smell, touch, hear and even taste! Below there’s one activity for each of the 5 senses.

IMPORTANT: make sure a grown-up helps you or knows exactly what you’re doing!

SEE! Colour

Make your own paint by mixing together the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Then add food colouring to make different paint colours!

SMELL! Paintings

Make your own scented paint by skooshing shaving foam (not gel!) into a tray or empty washing up bowl and then adding a couple of drops of food colouring.

Once you’ve made your scented paint you could swirl it to make interesting combinations of colour using your finger, spoon or any tool you like!

Make your own scented marble paper:

  • Place a sheet of paper onto the shaving foam paint and press down.
  • Lift the paper and, with a ruler, scrape off excess foam to leave your marbled design.
  • Leave the paper to dry and use it as a base for a painting or drawing, to make into a card, to fold or scrunch into a paper sculpture like Karla Black… whatever you like!

TOUCH! Sculptures

EITHER make some salt-dough by mixing together the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour (about 250g)
  • 1/2 a cup of salt (about 125g)
  • 1/2 a cup of water (about 125ml)

OR make some cornflour-dough by mixing together the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of salt
  • 2/3 cup water in a medium-sized pot
  • 1 cup of cornflour

To make the cornflour-dough, (with your grown-up) heat the salt and water for about 3-4 minutes, then remove the mixture from the heat and add 1 cup of cornflour while stirring quickly. Add water gradually if it’s too stiff! Wait for it to cool before playing with it!

Once you’ve made your dough, you can:-

  • Play with it
  • Sculpt it into any shapes you like
  • Squish things into it to see what textures you can create
  • Leave it to dry then paint it
Henry Moore Reclining Figure 1951 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS, London / www.henry-moore.org 2019
'Reclining figure' recreated in dough!

HEAR! Sound walk

Grab a sheet of paper and pencil, then…

EITHER sit in your kitchen and write down all the sounds that you can hear.

OR take the paper and pencil outside with you on your daily walk. Think of all the sounds that you can hear as a layered-up collage of noise and silence. Can you draw what your sound looks like? Would your sound have a wavy, excited, energetic line or a calm, straight line?

TASTE! Edible canvas

You’ll need a spare piece of bread and some food colouring for this activity.

Ask your grown-up if this is ok, and if there is any bread that’s going a bit stale!

Paint directly onto your bread using a tiny bit of food colouring and a clean paintbrush if you’ve got one. Or drop on shapes and make your bread-art a bit more abstract if you don’t!

Remember, less is more! Make sure that your bread isn’t too soggy with the food colouring.

When you’ve finished putting on the food-clouring, put the bread into your toaster or under the grill, and then watch the colours get brighter.

And finally - eat your art!

Activity two: see, think, wonder

Here’s a video walkthrough of Karla Black’s exhibition in Venice, 2011. The artworks are based on the specific architectural features of the building in Venice, such as the size of the room, the position of doors, and the play of light in the building.

While you’re watching this video, think about:

  • What materials she’s using and why she might have chosen to use them
  • How the artworks take over the spaces
  • How you think it would feel walking through this exhibition, if you were the person holding the camera
  • What you might smell, feel and hear, if you were there
  • What questions you would ask the artist if you could meet her

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

Are you missing visiting the gallery? We are! How about we create our own miniature galleries at home?!

Find a shoebox, cardboard box or empty container. Imagine this is a room in your own art gallery or museum. Create an artwork that fills your gallery. You can use ANY materials that you like. Have a think about the type of materials that Karla Black uses, if you get stuck.

Send us a picture of your gallery when you’re done, we’d love to have a virtual visit!

Activity four: watch

Listen to how Karla Black describes materials.

Make a list of things that you could use, from around the house, to make art. How about lipstick, spices from the kitchen, nail varnish, mud from the garden?

Activity five: paint what you feel

This week we’ve been exploring different textures and unusual materials for painting.

If you have bubble wrap or tin foil, a cardboard box or cellophane, try painting on them instead of paper!

Instead of brushes, how about using some art tools from week 9? Or a spare cotton wool bud, an old toothbrush or a sponge? Using different tools, textures, types of paper and paint are excellent way to get your creative juices flowing!

 

Previous week's activities

Joan Eardley Kitchen Sink and Cupboard Unknown © Estate of Joan Eardley. All Rights Reserved. DACS, London 2019

Joan Eardley

Kitchen Sink and Cupboard

While we’re spending so much time at home, it's important to keep ourselves stimulated. This week’s activities will help to keep the boredom at bay by getting you to look afresh at your familiar surroundings and find the beauty in the everyday. They include fun drawing exercises, sketchbook-making, story-telling, and more.

Try this activity

Richard Long River Avon Mud Fingerprints Spiral 2006 © Richard Long. All Rights Reserved, DACS, London 2019.

Richard Long

River Avon Mud Fingerprints Spiral

These activites revolve around the natural world. They’re inspired by the artist Richard Long, who often uses nature as the subject AND as the material when he makes art. His fascinating creations take on many different forms, including photographs, maps, pieces of writing, sculptures, walks, and mud-patterns such as the one pictured here.

Try this activity

Yinka Shonibare Sun, Sea and Sand 1995 © Yinka Shonibare MBE. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018.

Yinka Shonibare

Sun, Sea and Sand

Inspired by this artwork by Yinka Shonibare, we look at how objects can tell stories, have conversations, and even create portraits!

Try this activity

Iain Stewart One Day Strike for the National Health Service, Cambridge Street, Edinburgh 1988 © IAIN STEWART 1999

Iain Stewart

One Day Strike for the National Health Service, Cambridge Street, Edinburgh

This image is from photographer Iain Stewart’s project, ‘Picture of Health’, for which he followed his parents (both doctors) and took photos to record them at work. This week’s activities include different ways for you to celebrate the heroes in YOUR life, whoever they may be.

Try this activity

Boyle Family (Mark Boyle, Joan Hills, Sebastian Boyle, Georgia Boyle) Addison Crescent Study (London Series) 1969 © Boyle Family 2018.

Boyle Family

Addison Crescent Study (London Series)

This week's inspirational artwork was created by an entire family - Mark Boyle and Joan Hills, and their children Sebastian and Georgia Boyle. The artworkis an exact copy of part of a street in London. The Boyle Family threw a dart onto a map in order to decide which piece of the land they were going to reproduce!

The Boyle Family used lots of different things to create this piece of art - they wanted to make it EXACTLY the same as the piece of land they found on a map. It looks like the artists have removed part of the roadside and stuck it onto a wall. Isn't it amazing to think that anything you can see, even a kerbside, can become a work of art!

Try this activity

Dame Barbara Hepworth Conversation with Magic Stones 1973 © BOWNESS for works by Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth

Conversation with Magic Stones

Week five's inspiration was 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'! Barbara Hepworth often made things in threes, partly because she gave birth to triplets in 1934!

Try this activity

Alison Watt Sabine 2000 © Alison Watt. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018.

Alison Watt

Sabine

Week four's inspiration is Alison Watt's painting Sabine. Her painted folds of fabric show her amazing attention to detail. She is inspired by historical painters (google 'Ingres' for one example) and the drapes of fabric that you can find in these paintings, but she makes them look and feel very modern.

Try this activity

Cold War Steve

Harold the Ghost of Lost Futures

The inspiration for week three of our Creative Curriculum was this busy collage. The artist 'Cold War Steve' created this work by collecting images of celebrities and creating a surreal scene which you would never see in real life!

Cold War Steve's real name is Christopher Spencer. Choose your own ‘artist’ name before you start this week's activities.

Try this activity

David Shrigley Imagine the Green is Red 1997 © David Shrigley.

David Shrigley

Imagine the Green is Red

The inspiration for our first week of the Creative Curriculum was this funny ‘intervention’ photograph by the artist David Shrigley. He created the work by making and placing a sign on the ground at Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow - what do you think?!

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Eduardo Paolozzi Vulcan 1998 - 1999 © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation, Licensed by DACS 2018.

Eduardo Paolozzi

Vulcan

The inspiration for our first week of the Creative Curriculum was Vulcan, atgiant sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi. Vulcan was the Roman God of fire and the blacksmith who made weapons for the gods and heroes. He is half-man, half-machine and stands over 7m high.

Try this activity

At home resources

Want to start a conversation about art? Here are some simple ideas. 

Learning resources

Explore our other learning resources for use in school, in gallery or at home.

Find out more