5 primary school art projects to try at home

Children's painted hands
Art is part of the national curriculum and one of the subjects your child will be taught at school. Teacher and parent Phoebe Doyle offers some practical project ideas and suggestions to help expand their knowledge and experience at home.

Paint a stone paperweight

Age range: Nursery and Reception
What you do: Find a smooth stone or large pebble about the size of the palm of your child's hand. Have them paint a picture of something (an insect, a flower or a dinosaur) on the stone. Once dried, varnish the stone/pebble.
They're learning about... Using different tools and materials to create art.
At school they might… Do a similar activity linked to a topic they are studying, such as mini-beasts. 

Study one picture closely

Age range: EYFS and KS1
What you do: Choose a famous painting (for example, Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers) and have your child study different sections of the picture – use a magnifying glass to help if you have one. They then draw, paint, or use pastels, recreating that specific part of the picture, larger and in detail.
They're learning about... How to look at the work of different artists using different tools and techniques.
At school they might… Do a mini-topic on one particular artist, learning about their life in terms of their work, their birthplace, their personality, etc.

Make a clay Diwali candle holder

Age range: EYFS and KS1
What you do: Start with a ball of air-drying clay. Help your child push their thumb into the ball to make a hole big enough to fit a tea-light candle in it. Paint the clay using gold and silver paints, then leave to dry.
They're learning about... Exploring a range of starting points and different inspirations for their art work.
At school they might… Work on a selection of art projects themed around a festival such as Diwali (for example designing henna patterns on a cut-out paper hand).

Paint a mood

Age range: KS2
What you do: Chat with your child about how they are feeling, perhaps asking them, “How does it make you feel when X happens?” Write down the key emotion words they use. Present them with paints or sketching pencils and encourage them to draw a picture of their mood. Explain that it might be an abstract picture, where the meaning isn’t immediately obvious – look at some abstract art online together so that they understand they don't have to represent emotion through objects.
They're learning about... Communicating ideas and feelings through artwork.
At school they might… Listen to a piece of classical music and draw or paint how it is making them feel.

Design story-telling tiles

Age range: KS2
What you do: Help your child roll out some air-drying clay and cut it into several square tiles. Using clay tools (or ordinary cutlery) have them carve out scenes from a favourite story, depicting what happens and the setting.
They're learning about... Using tools and techniques, using a story as a starting point for art.
At school they might… Use drama, images, nature or films as other starting points for artistic projects.

Primary-school art curriculum changes in 2014

In 2014 there will be changes brought into all areas of the national curriculum. These changes, broadly speaking, are designed to give schools and teachers more freedom and independence to teach children in the way they see fit, therefore some of the objectives and assessments will be more free-flowing and less rigid.

Like many other subjects, art has been ‘slimmed down’ in terms of the number of objectives and suggestions. This should not mean that your child will be taught less art, but that it’ll be up to the teacher to determine more of what is taught. What you can do as a parent is continue to fire their interest in the subject – take them to galleries, look at books about famous artists and have fun with plenty of hands-on creative activities.