Let's Play

Make a picture of something you like playing with. It might be a special toy, or a fun activity you enjoy doing either inside or outside. 

Use any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer-aided design, collage, montage).

Below you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss as a class.

There are then 10 examples of artworks made by children in response to this theme.

Winter Bears

What size do you think these friendly bears could be?
Do they look hard and heavy or soft and light?
What could they be made from?
They look very alike but how many differences can you spot?
If they could speak to us, what do you think they would say?

These bears are made from wood using special carving tools. They are very big, almost 122 centimetres tall – probably even taller than you! They were copied from a tiny ornament. The artist did not carve them himself. He got other very clever people to do it for him. 

Winter Bears, Jeff Koons, 1988 − © Jeff Koons

James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton, 1702 - 1768, and his family

What are these boys and girls playing with?
Do you think they would like to swap with each other?
Why are they wearing such grand clothes?
If you could climb into the painting, who would you like to play with?
Can you see someone else in the painting who would like to join in and have some fun?

The father in this family was very rich and clever. He has just moved into a grand new home and asked the artist to paint this picture of his family so he could put it on the wall there. The person, holding the arrows is actually a boy. Long ago, very young boys wore dresses rather than trousers. Notice what his brother wears. 

James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton, 1702 - 1768, and his family, Jeremiah Davison, 1740


Where are these children playing? Do you have a play park near you?
Is what they are doing dangerous? How can they stay safe?
How does your tummy feel when you fly through the air? What happens to your hair?
There might be something else nearby to play on. What could it be?

This picture was made for the front cover of a magazine. Its title, Cano, means ‘I sing’ or ‘I make music’ in Latin. The girl in the middle looks like she might be singing and the artist added some violinists in the final design. He used pen ink to make the picture and then blotted it onto another page while the ink was still wet. 

Cano, Andy Warhol, 1948 − © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2015

Further considerations

  • Do you have a favourite or special toy? Why do you like it best?
  • Who gave it to you?
  • What kind of things do you play with: in the bath; in the garden; at the seaside; in the park?
  • Some toys have wheels. How many can you think of?
  • Of all the things you play with, which ones are: soft and cuddly; shiny and bright; have lots of little pieces; make a noise; copy things that grown-ups do?
  • What do you play with that makes a big mess?
  • What fun things help you to go very fast or very high?
  • Why do we have toys?

Curriculum for Excellence

Expressive Arts

Art and Design

I have the freedom to discover and choose ways to create images and objects using a variety of materials. EXA-0-02a

Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities in art and design. EXA 0-05a

I can respond to the work of artists and designers by discussing my thoughts and feelings. EXA 0-07a

Literacy and English

With real and imaginary situations, I share experiences and feelings, ideas and information in a way that communicates my message. LIT -0-9a


I have experienced, used and described a wide range of toys and common appliances. I can say ‘what makes it go’ and say what they do when they work. SCN 0-04a


Artworks created for this theme

Craig A Murray
Emma Scott
Freya Anderson
Keira Panton
Keira Scott
Lenny Heggie
Maggie Gillies-Crerar
Marlene Bourbotte
Thomas Clancy
Abigail Irving