Theme Of The Month: Growing Artists

Theme of the Month: Growing Artists

Date: 27 Jun 2019

Growing Artists at Bright HorizonsMy name is Hayley and I am the Art Specialist and a Deputy Room Leader at Bright Horizons Active Learning Dorking!

I began my journey into the arts when I was younger, and learnt how it can be therapeutic, which then lead to my University Degree in Fine Art and my career with supporting children thrive in their own art practices.

I have experimented over the years with different creative tactics that encourages families to get involved. My nursery is lucky enough to still have a fully functional and fully equipped art studio where staff can take small groups of children and have intimate art sessions.

Here are several things that I have created for my nursery, and some are still being used to this day:

  • ‘Art and Me’ sessions – Free monthly art groups where parents can come and create in our art studio with their children
  • Parent workshops – An opportunity for mums and dads to come in and learn how to create something unique, chat and unwind
  • Friday art bags – Every week, yep every week! There is a basket full of bags and each bag contains resources and instructions for parents and children to make something together over the weekend
  • Newsletters – These are a big hit with parents and are made by our staff. We use this to share class topics, ideas on cooking, gardening and of course art!
  • Yearly workshops – At the moment there are three different workshops where parents can sign up to do a large group activity with myself. So far we have done pinch pots, multimedia canvases and printing

How to build on your child’s creativity

Colour exploration

Growing Artists at Bright HorizonsThis is a great experience that can be done with any age. Provide your child with a palette of primary colours and allow them to explore mixing the colours one by one, or all at once! What new colours can they make? It’s a good tool to introduce the colour wheel and experimentation, along with black and white. I’ve also tried the ‘100 colour challenge’ on a large sheet of paper where children painted a little square of a new colour that they made every day.

Process art

When a painting or drawing is created, that doesn’t mean it has to be over. One game I like to play is called the process game! Use a bell or instrument to signal 5 minute breaks in between. Provide your child with a range of art utensil’s and mediums and when they hear the signal, encourage them to change it up and add something different that they haven’t tried yet - it might be a painting that includes pen, charcoal, some clay and sand!

Sensory play – that’s art too!

No.1 piece of advice: go and buy a tuff tray! These things are amazing! You can use them for role play, storing art, water and sand play, and even natural play like planting. They are great for containing mess too! Use cornflour in a tray for mark making, add some clay and use the tray as a base for rolling and moulding, experiment with some chalk and water or just simply use tissue paper and pva on large sheets of paper for sensory play fun.


Art as therapy

Growing Artists at Bright HorizonsArt gives us a voice. If it relaxes us as adults, excites us through colour and feels empowering, imagine what it is doing for your child! Every piece of art tells a story, and sometimes we don’t even know what it is until we have made it. Art should allow your child to express themselves freely and share important and fundamental thoughts with you.

Mark making

Whether it be a pen, brush, charcoal, pencil, chalk, glue stick or even the Barbie dolls hair – mark marking is key! It supports your child’s fine motor skills and builds on their development with making shapes and marks that represent objects and even people.


Praise and confidence

Art can never be wrong, that’s the best thing about it! Its so important to praise a child for everything that they make, because no matter what, it IS important and is allowing them to use their imagination. By showing them that you value their creations they will want to do it more and will naturally build on their self-esteem. Some children may struggle to articulate their point and the arts can help them do that, but also relax and engage them in something powerful.

Here is a list of easy art activities you can try at home:

  • Observational drawing of objects and flowers
  • Teabag painting
  • Bleeding tissue paper with water and pva
  • Tile patterns with cut coloured card and pva
  • Papier Mache with food processed newsprint
  • Weaving with wool
  • Wands from sticks and ribbon
  • Paper plate masks
  • Tin foil sculptures
  • Cardboard box role play
Printing/painting with corks, cotton balls, feathers or bark!