It’s never too early to encourage children to appreciate art and enjoy creating their own little masterpieces.
Here are some creative ways to inspire budding artists. From immersive workshops in world famous galleries and art history tours curated for kids, to expertly designed activity books and fun-packed craft subscription boxes, these are sure to spark their imagination and curiosity.
TAKE PART The National Gallery's Family Programme
London’s National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world including the works of Monet, Michelagelo, and Constable. Completely free to the public, it also has a programme of events dedicated to families and young people that includes story telling sessions where children can learn more about famous paintings and artists. There are creative workshops that enable youngsters as young as three to pick up a pencil and record their own interpretations of what they see hanging on the walls or use different mediums to make wonderful creations. The Gallery has its own app to truly bring art to life for young visitors – The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception is a mobile-based immersive adventure that encourages children to explore and learn about art as they move around the Gallery. By embracing digital technology in this way they are introducing the next generation of artists to some of the oldest masterpieces in a way that is accessible and fun.
BUY Lots of Love Art Activity Books and Art Project Boxes
Lots of lovely Art is a one-stop-shop of art resources. Founded by mums and sisters-in-law, Alara and Selina, who are both artists (one an art teacher and one a graphic designer) this clever website offers a plethora of inspiring books, activity sheets and projects for kids to enjoy, all designed to educate little ones and encourage them to try new techniques and learn new skills as they enjoy creative tasks. The beautifully designed LoLA activity booklets introduce children to three artists and include fun activities and games that explore elements of the artists’ work, while their art boxes come with all the instructions and materials you need to make your own artwork; for example, the ‘Wonderful World’ box explores the arts of different continents, countries and regions, while the ‘Wild Woods’ box looks at the majestic beauty of our forests with art projects inspired by trees, leaves and woodland creatures. The ideal present for children who love arts and crafts.
SIGN UP National Art Pass Plus Kids
To open up a world of artistic and cultural adventures for your children get a National Art Pass Plus Kids. This wonderful little card lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK as well as 50% off major exhibitions. From just £56.25 a year for an individual pass or £84 for a double, you will have free or reduced-cost entry to places such as The Science Museum, The Barbican Art Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, with the chance to see everything from photography and sculpture to some of the biggest exhibitions in the UK, like the Titanosaur exhibition at the Natural History Museum or David Hockney’s Life Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery. The best bit for families is that you can add children aged under 16 to the pass for just an extra £15, giving them the opportunity to access over 850 cultural places across the country. Once you’re signed up you’ll receive a guidebook telling you more about everywhere you can visit and a subscription to the Art Fund’s amazing magazine, packed with inspiration so you can take a look with your kids and find out where they would most enjoy seeing. Created by the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, this membership really is the perfect starting point for any parent looking to explore the plethora of museums and galleries in the UK with their children.
EXPLORE Little Grand Tour Museum and Gallery Tours for Children
To help really bring art to life for your children book a guided experience with the Little Grand Tour. Their raison d’etre is to introduce children to the arts and make it as exciting, relevant and fun as possible. Inspiring, informative and above all age-appropriate, these clever sessions really get on to a child’s level and explain the fascinating stories behind some of the most famous and interesting works of art. Founded by mum and art historian Isabel Lamb in 2018, the tours take place in the likes of the Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the The National Portrait Gallery and are suitable for ages six and over. Each lasts about two hours and groups are small with up to a maximum of eight children with one tutor for every four. There is always a break for a snack too. Parents drop off their child at an agreed location, most often the museum or gallery entrance and meet again at the same point at the end of the tour. Little ones will then head off on a marvellous journey around some of the most iconic art in London, discussing what they see and sharing opinions and all the while learning and, most importantly, having fun.
CREATE Doodle Nest
If you have a little creative who is always handing you their masterpieces or coming home from school with a bag full of paintings, but you have simply run out of fridge space to display it all, then you need to talk to the amazing team at Doodle Nest. They will take all your child’s artwork, professionally photograph and Photoshop each piece, and meticulously lay it all out in a design that can then be turned into a bespoke memory book of your son or daughter’s work. All you have to do is sign up, pay a £30 deposit and receive a Doodle Nest postal box with a prepaid return label to fill with your favourite art and anything goes – from paintings and drawings to sculptures. You’ll receive a digital proof for approval before they make the actual hard copy, of which you can have as many of you like. You can also add a photograph of your child and a title page all about them. And the originals? Well they are all carefully boxed up and sent back so you can treasure them forever. This is a fantastic way to encourage children and show them that their artwork is special with a precious keepsake that can be treasured forever.
VISIT The Cartoon Museum
For a cultural day out that is bound to appeal to children of all ages head to the Cartoon Museum in central London. Packed with fun artwork that kids will love, this amazing space houses a collection of over 6000 original cartoons and comics, and a library of over 8000 comics and books, documenting the history of British comics from the 18th century to the present day. Expect to see many family favourites including Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers turns 30! the newly opened exhibition dedicated to the famous pair. The team run workshops throughout the year including Manga drawing classes, how to create a comic strip and animation model making. Plus The Young Cartoonist of the Year competition which is currently open for entries.
SUBSCRIBE Make + Wonder's Art Club
There is a budding artist in every child, sometimes they just need a bit of inspiration. That’s where Make + Wonder’s Art club comes in. Sign up and a monthly artist inspired creative kit will be delivered to your door. Each month subscribers receive four easy-to-follow fun art projects and each box is packed with all the instructions and materials you need. Educational as well as fun, these process-led art projects are flexible and suggestive – there are no hard and fast rules as kids are encouraged to use their imagination. You can sign up to one month to try it out or commit to longer three and sixth month subscriptions. Plus there is one suitable for siblings so kids can get creative together. All activities are aimed at children aged three to 10 years old, though older kids can enjoy them too, but with the inclusion of small parts and long strings, they are not suitable for those under three. Each box is carefully created by qualified teachers and support the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK. Arriving on doorsteps the first week of every month, these awesome little packages offer hours of entertainment.
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