Reach for the children’s chalks and paint pots, sharpen your colouring pencils and check your felt tip pens are shipshape…the world’s biggest drawing festival is here!

What is ‘The Big Draw’?

‘The Big Draw’ festival is a month-long worldwide celebration of drawing held each October which aims to “promote the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention.”

The festival itself is made up of a collection of thousands of creative events, activities and workshops across the globe, run by organisations big and small; from individuals to entire cities, and you can take part in your setting, in any shape or form that you like!

How did it all start?

This international festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has grown from one day (in October 2000) to an annual month-long festival of drawing across the UK and the world. The first Big Draw in 2000 attracted 180 partner organisations. By October 2011, the number had risen to 1,300, with over 260,000 people taking part. 2014 was a record year with 1800 events from 1000 organisers. Events are run by galleries, museums, heritage and other cultural sites,  schools, colleges, local authorities, libraries and other community agencies – individually or in collaboration. It aims to encourage people of all ages to explore ideas and express their creativity and as a result of this, drawing is now integrated into year-round learning programmes at many cultural and education centres.

You can find out about all the events that are happening in your area – suitable for all ages of children – on the official website here – and let parents know too, so they can visit with the children and take part!

This year, The Big Draw is called “The Big Green Draw: Climate of Change” – and offers a great opportunity for those who are responsible for educating our future generations about climate change, our planet, and environmental issues… all in a fun and creative way!

National Geographic Kids has some excellent resources and information to get some imaginative ideas to draw with the children. The Big Draw website itself has some fantastic ideas and information here regarding climate change and endangered species that can be used in your activities.

Ideas to help you celebrate The Big Green Draw in your setting

  • Let the children each choose a toy car out of the toy box, and using sticky tape, stick a felt tip pen to the front or back of the car and allow them to freely push the car around on the paper. Watch their faces as they begin to see the marks and shapes that their car has made!
  • Place large sheets of paper on the floor (you can ask parents to donate any spare wallpaper they might have). Put some music on and give the children some chalks or crayons to draw with – drawing to their favourite nursery rhymes can give even the most reluctant mark-makers some fun inspiration!
  • Place a large sheet of paper (or wallpaper) on the floor. Pour different colours of paint into some kitchen trays and place them on the floor. Offer the children different items to paint with e.g. sponges, brushes, toothbrushes. Sit back and watch the marks the children make with the paint.
  • Get messy with your tuff spot! Squirt some shaving foam and encourage the children to make different shaped clouds and oceans with the foam, getting some inspiration from National Geographic Kids. Why not add other implements to make marks with such as animals, bricks, washing-up brushes etc.
  • Vegetable painting – Cook some peas, swede, and carrots separately, mash them to puree consistency. Place each one of the vegetable mixes on a kitchen tray and place these on a hard floor. Encourage the children to either use their hands or paint brushes to make marks on the floor using the vegetable paint – you can teach the children about their veggies at the same time!
  • You can use mud, sand and paint to make some wonderful works of art – this fun, messy play will stick in the children’s minds and will motivate them to want to do more.
  • A firm favourite is a game where the children use their fingers to draw on their friend’s backs – it is sure to bring many giggles to your setting!

The Big Draw has notched up two world records!

One for the longest drawing in the world of one kilometre and another for the greatest number of people drawing at one time, over 7,000!

Whatever you decide to do in your setting to celebrate The Big Green Draw this year, don’t forget to post pictures of your wonderful arty creations on your social media channels, using the hashtags #BigGreenDraw or #ClimateofChange and also send them to us to at marketing@parenta.com. Happy drawing!

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