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Big Art for Little Artists: early years

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Subjects: Communication and language, Expressive arts and design, Personal, social and emotional development
  • Session type: Gallery led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Walker Art Gallery
  • Free


A visit to Big Art for Little Artists is the perfect introduction for very young children to a gallery. Big Art is a child-centered, hands-on gallery that provides children with the opportunity to explore, create, play and discover.

Further details

parent and child at a creative workshop

The children will be warmly welcomed to the gallery by a member of our education team who will encourage a group discussion about the role of a gallery, the varied collections on display and the role of an artist. In Big Art paintings and objects from the Walker Art Gallery’s collections are displayed alongside the children own artworks and activity spaces.

Following the group discussion the children will be given the freedom to explore the open ended activities on offer in Big Art for Little Artists. In Big Art we encourage the children to take the lead in their creative play by exploring treasure baskets, putting on a puppets show, dressing up as a character from a painting, creating their own artwork and experimenting with colour mixing on our light box. The quiet story zone area of the gallery gives opportunity to take part in large scale drawing, read a story, or build with our construction material.

For pre-school aged groups a story and rhyme time will draw your time in Big Art to a close. This is followed by an exploration of the Walker Art Gallery using a Big Art trail. The trail element of the session provides a constructive exploration of the Walker Art Gallery and its varied, internationally important collections. Trails will be provided for each pupil on the day of your visit.

Curriculum links

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
  •  Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.

Communication and Language

  • Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Personal Social and Emotional Development

  • Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.