Expressive arts and design

Expressive arts and design is one of the seven areas of the early years foundation stage and is used to develop a child's imagination, creativity and their ability to use media and materials. Children do this in range of ways including singing songs and making music, dancing, playing with colours, textures and design. All these approaches to expressive arts  help children to represent and understand their own feelings and ideas.

Below you will find a range of practical articles and expert features that cover expressive arts and design to help you develop these skills and overcome challenges you might encounter. For more information on the EYFS you can download latest version of the statutory framework here.

Latest Practical

Expressive arts and design: The perfect mix

Used together, sand and water play provide children with many exciting opportunities for creativity. Children engage all their senses as they explore textures, changing colours and shifting patterns.

Slime Planet, located at Loughborough Junction in south London, runs activites and workshops for pre-schoolers and KS1 and 2 pupils.

Slime, glorious slime

  • Ann Roberts

It's easy to understand why slime has become such a popular resource with children in the last couple of years. Squishy, stretchy, jiggly or like putty, it's fascinating to manipulate, deeply mysterious and curiously addictive!

Expressive arts and design: Get into character

  • Jenni Clarke, early years consultant and author, France

Discover how imaginative play based on dressing up and role-play can extend children’s understanding of the world and inspire creative art works to represent their experiences.

Expressive arts and design: A game plan

  • Karen Hart, teacher and education writer, London

Game-building activities are a great way to stimulate children’s imagination and develop their creative skills. Karen Hart provides step-by-step guide to making a memory game and building a board game.

Artworks are a good springboard to talk about animal characteristics and habitats

Expressive arts and design: Flights of fancy

  • Karen Hart, teacher and education writer, London

Karen Hart suggests ways to turn old carboard boxes and paper and card into simple models and artworks which will encourage children to explore ideas to do with flight and weightlessness, developing vocabulary along the way.

Up in the clouds

  • Karen Hart

What could be more educational than sitting outdoors on a sunny day and looking up at the clouds? Karen Hart suggests creative activities that encourage children to engage imaginatively with the world.

Red, white and blue...

  • Ailsa Chapman

Ailsa Chapman reflects on a month that saw her class celebrating the Royal Wedding in a way that encompassed many learning areas. Her next challenge is to complete 52 end-of-term reports.

Latest Features

Children enjoy time spent in the mud kitchen at Busy Bees Hartham Park Nursery.

Glorious mud!

  • Karen Faux

Winter is nearly over and if you’ve recently done an audit of your outdoor space, you might now be thinking about giving your mud kitchen a revamp, and introducing some new resources. If you haven’t yet set up a mud kitchen, now is definitely the time to start planning one.

Brilliant ideas for sand play!

  • Karen Faux

Sand is a tactile, sensory and endlessly versatile resource. Try some new ideas for making the most of it in your setting.

Wrap up!

  • Karen Faux

'There's no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing,' as the saying goes. Use children’s colourful winter clothing as a link to many areas of learning.

Early years-age children enjoying a song with Kathy Doolan (in green) and Warwickshire Rhythm Time franchisee Rachel Turner (in yellow)

Get ready for National Early Years Music Week

  • Karen Faux

More than 12,000 children are already signed up to join in with this inaugural event that will take place from Monday 28 January to Friday 1 February 2019. Nurseries and parents will be sharing the buzz around a host of exciting music activities.

Grab a pumpkin and have fun on Halloween!

  • Karen Faux

Discover how this spooky celebration can provide an exciting springboard for children's creative activities, including artworks, story-telling, role-play and lots of fun with friends.

Five great paint activities for children

  • Luca Da Re

Here are five great paint activity ideas you can easily try in your setting. Whether you are looking for ideas to do inside or out, there is something here for you.

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