Expressive arts and design

Buttercups and daisies

Wild flowers such as daisies, buttercups and dandelions may be considered weeds but they have a special place in childhood and provide a great resource for Expressive Arts and Design projects.

On a fairy tale adventure

Embark on an exciting learning journey inspired by The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Encourage children to enact the story's physical challenges and create their own follow-on narrative and characters.

Catch a star in your net

Nets are a cheap, readily available, versatile resource. Use them to make dens, catch carboard stars and all sorts of other objects. Talk about how they keep us safe and have fun crawling beneath them.

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.

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, glorious slime

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: A game plan

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.

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.

Expressive arts and design: Flights of fancy

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.

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.

Autumn leaves – try these five creative activities!

Autumn leaves are a key sign of the changing seasons and make a colourful, accessible and versatile resource for play and exploration. The beauty of them is that at this time of the year they are available in abundance – and completely free.

Up in the clouds

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 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.

Ready for lift off!

Karen Hart continues her exploration of wings and flight with some creative activities, using natural resources, that will help children to begin to understand the laws of aerodynamics.

Impressions of sunflowers

Kim Benham, senior manager at outstanding nursery Sparkles, in Croydon, begins her new monthly column recommending resources and creative themes.

Impetus for learning

If you are a potential entrepreneur with an idea for an early years educational technology product or service we want to hear from you, says Rose Luckin, director of innovation project, EDUCATE.

Whatever the weather we play

There is one thing you can predict about a British summer, it is completely unpredictable! But as we know, with the right assortment of clothes, we go outside come rain or shine.

Which face will you wear today?

Halloween is fast approaching, but children can enjoy masks at any time of year. We suggest spooky and non-spooky options to fuel their imaginations as autumn approaches.

It’s fantastic weather for a party

As we move into June our planning will take advantage of warmer days and opportunities this affords for being outside more. A teddy bear’s picnic can involve children of all ages.

Pre-school diary: Come into my parlour

Ailsa Chapman reflects on how the warm weather has had a positive impact on learning, providing inspiration for creative activities such as making ice cream parlours using tuff trays.

Impressions of sunflowers

Children’s artistic ability never ceases to amaze me. Add a bit of nature and watch to see where children take it. The provocation here is a beautiful miniature sunflower perfectly blooming in a pot.

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