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: Bold, bright, beautiful

Introduce children to the award-winning author and illustrator Lois Ehlert and equip them to create colourful collages with a range of resources including coloured paper, glue, wire, thread and recycled textiles.

Expressive arts and design: Fabulous Frida!

Frida Kahlo's art is a fantastic subject for pre-schoolers as there are so many ways to explore her paintings, her life and her art style. It is also an opportunity for children to understand her cultural heritage as a Mexican painter.

Expressive arts and design: Staying in line

Be inspired by Mondrian to create simple, stunning artworks which involve children working in small groups and having fun collaborating. Help two-year-olds to get involved too.

Expressive arts and design: Fantastic beasts

Channel children's fascination with imaginary creatures such as dragons, unicorns and mermaids into creating characterful artworks, including finger puppets and 2D artworks that they will be proud of.

Expressive arts and design: An autumn glow

Autumn provides a feast for all the senses. Encourage children's sensory exploration of its natural objects with these simple ideas for creative artworks.

Latest Features

EYFS reforms: In praise of creativity

The new EAD Early Learning Goals invite practitioners to optimise children's creativity through oral, aural, cultural and aesthetic expression – thereby enhancing their holistic well-being.

Interview: The show must go on!

As a performance storyteller for children of all ages, Craig Jenkins had to shift his performances online when coronavirus struck. He tells Karen Hart how these sessions swiftly sold out and how this has fuelled his plans for the future.

My little mermaid

Take a look at this month’s practical supplement which has a wealth of seasonal ideas to support children’s learning through play. Use our expert pointers on the Characteristics of Effective Leaning to create meaningful observations and enhance your knowledge of each individual child.

Things to do on a rainy afternoon

A rainy day in doors doesn’t have to mean a day stuck in front of the TV or computer. There are lots of activities to keep children occupied – and still learning. Painting, baking, and other arts and crafts are just some of the great ways to boost their creativity. Here are some activities that are perfect for wet weather days.

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.

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