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 art and design: One from the heart

Karen Hart suggests some Mother's Day card making ideas that involve children making sponge paintings, hand prints and 3D decorations. These are cards which will be treasured for years to come!

Maths: Tying the knot

Furoshiki is an environmentally friendly, Japanese technique for wrapping gifts which will give children the opportunity to test their creative skills and learn about why conventional wrapping paper is bad for the planet.

Expressive art and design: Tokens of friendship

Both girls and boys will enjoy making friendship bracelets, using their imaginations to create their own unique designs and deciding which friends and family to gift them to. Observe how they persevere and are proud of what they have made.

Expressive art and design: Raise your voice

Children's musical experience begins very early in their life, from hearing their mother's singing in the womb to spontaneous singing as they play. This is the first in a series of articles providing practical inspiration to develop their musicality.

Parent: Drawing and painting

Drawing chalk pictures on the ground, painting fences with water and even leaving smudged fingerprints on the wall are all examples of children experimenting with mark making. Find out how you can encourage them to push their skills further.

Expressive Art and Design: ‘A spider on my knee!’

Autumn brings plenty of inspiration for artworks – from the appearance of many spiders to the vibrant patterns that feature in Diwali celebrations. Karen Hart explores how you can mark these seasonal changes and festivities in your setting.

EAD: Seed of an idea

Take a closer look at natural plant forms and use these shapes and properties to create pictures and sculptures. As children experiment with art techniques they will also be learning about the natural world.

Latest Features

Join the Big Schools' Birdwatch

The Big Schools’ Birdwatch runs from 6 January – 21 February. It’s an opportunity for children to contribute to the world’s largest wildlife survey, the Big Garden Birdwatch, by spotting and counting birds in the grounds of the setting.

Glorious mud!

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!

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

Wrap up!

'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.

Get ready for National Early Years Music Week

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!

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.

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