Let’s get creative!
Lots of us may still be in lockdown or partial lockdown, but one thing we can be sure of, is that our children will still be as energetic and creative as ever. This month sees the UK celebrating Children’s Art Week – an annual UK-wide programme encouraging children, young people, families and teachers to engage with, and participate in the visual and creative arts.
From 6th to the 14th June, everyone is invited to let their imaginations run wild, get creative and start making something, and because there’s never a right or wrong when you’re making things for your own pleasure and fun, this is a fantastic time to allow children the freedom to express themselves, create something wild and try something new, whether it’s weaving, woodwork or watercolours!
Some background to the week
Children’s Art Week is run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education. In the past, Engage invite schools, galleries, museums and community groups to devise and register visual arts events for children, giving everyone an opportunity to have hands-on, practical experience with the arts and to meet and learn from professional artists, crafters and exhibitors across the country. In recent years, more than 14,000 children, adults and young people have taken part, benefitting by gaining a broader access to the arts. Event organisers have reported that over 50% of participants who attended their activities were first-time visitors, with 30% being completely new audiences.
Anyone can register events – schools, libraries, community halls, heritage venues, country parks, libraries, galleries and museums, as well as individual artists and makers alike.
There are also lots of online resources at Children’s Art Week in the themes of:
To help raise awareness and make it clear that events are part of Children’s Art Week, you can download and use the Children’s Art Week logos alongside details of any events you organise on your websites, emails and in print but Engage ask that, where possible, you use the following acknowledgement: ”Children’s Art Week is run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, and supported in 2019 by The Arts Society and The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.”
Lots of celebrities also get behind Children’s Art Week including CBBC’s Art Ninja, Ricky Martin, Waterstones UK Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, and well-known historian and ambassador of all things culture, Loyd Grossman.
How to celebrate during lockdown or partial lockdown
With much of the UK still on lockdown or partial lockdown, it’s not necessarily the right time to visit lots of galleries and museums in person or to encourage lots of messy touching of equipment by little hands. However, that does not mean that you cannot celebrate or get involved in the week in some way as the following suggestions will hopefully prove. After all, thinking of creative ways to get involved is already being creative, right?!
LOOKING – What can you see?
With so many museums and art galleries currently closed, many have turned to technologies to keep the punters coming through their ‘virtual’ doors, and a lot of famous landmarks and museums offer virtual tours. Check out the ones at the Natural History Museum and Buckingham Palace.
During lockdown, many theatres and arts venues are also releasing some of their shows for free so that they can be viewed online. There’s a list of online theatre shows here and the list changes daily so you can find something new each day. There are also links to a wide variety of arts venues and museums on the “Culture in quarantine” page of BBC Arts too.
DISCUSSING – What do you think?
Finding out what your children (and staff) think about art and discussing their reactions to it is a key part of art appreciation. You can write a post on your website about the week/art in general and invite people to comment on their favourite and least-favourite pieces of art. They could write it, sing it or video their thoughts for an even more creative response.
MAKING – What can you make?
We’ve created a fun A-Z of arts and crafts things you can try out or use – or at least some of them. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, so please feel free to add more. You might need to do some research about what some of these things, are, but that’s half the fun! To make it more personal, you could spell out the children’s names and choose something from each letter. Check out CBBC Art for lots of crafting ideas for pre-schoolers too.
EXHIBITING – Show off your work!
Once you’ve made your art, you’ll want to display it somewhere for other to see. You could choose a theme and run an art competition in your setting. The children can send you their artwork digitally if you are not running or bring it in in person if you are. Think of different categories and age groups, and don’t forget some fun prizes. You can then set up a gallery either in the setting or online on your social media channels to show off their work. And remember, we love art too, so send us some pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A-Z of ARTS AND CRAFTS
A – Animation, acting, architecture, art, appliqué
B – Ballet, basket-making, beadwork, baking,
C – cake decorating, circus skills, collage, capoeira, costumes, chalk, colouring
D – DJing, drama, decoupage, drawing, dancing, dress-up
E – Enamelling, embroidery, etching, eco art, edible flowers
F – Folk dance, floristry, felt-making, finger puppets, feathers
G – graffiti, garden design, games design, googly eyes, glue
H – Hip-hop, horticulture, hand painting, hole punch
I – illustrating, ink drawing, ice sculpting, ideas
J – jewellery making, jazz, jar painting, juggling
K – Knitting, kite-making, Kishie basket-making
L – Lacemaking, line drawing, literature, leatherwork
M – Mime, mosaic, music, macramé, metalwork, muse, make-over
N – needlework, napkin-folding, national dance
O – Origami, oil painting, opera, outdoor art
P – Painting, papier mâché, pottery, puppetry, plays, perform
Q – Quilting
R – Rayographs, recycled art, rubbing, reflections, radio drama
S – Soap-making, singing, sugar craft, scrapbooking, shadow puppets
T – Tap dancing, theatre, tracing, typographic design, tissue paper
U – Upcycling, upholstery, underground art
V – Video art, vamping, vegetable prints, vlog
W – Woodcarving, watercolours, weaving, writing
X – Xylopyrography
Y – Yarning, yoga, yodelling, yolks, YouTube
Z – Zithering, zincography, zips, Zoom
Get creative and have fun!