Big Art

Early years foundation stage workshop

In our staff facilitated 45-minute session, students will take part in an arty scavenger hunt, and are invited to craft using collage and mark making materials. Our youngest visitors will learn what an art gallery is and why it is the perfect place for them to learn in, which they will love to visit. We make sure to provide an opportunity for free play and self-led activity in this session.

Workshop details

Big Art for Little Artists is a dedicated children’s gallery at the Walker Art Gallery, curated for children in early years and key stage 1. 

This colourful, interactive space hosts paintings, sculptures, costumes, toys, books, games, and craft materials for children to explore. 

All activities are age and ability appropriate with strong links to the Early years foundation stage framework. 

Early years foundation stage links

Commnication and language

  • Listening and Attention. Children are invited to sit down in our storytelling zone to share their experiences of their trip to the art gallery.
  • Understanding and Speaking Session resources prompt idea sharing and dialogue either between children and their peers, or their group leaders. Children can role play in our dress up zones and put on a show for friends in our puppet theatre.

Personal, social and emotional development

Children’s confidence will be encouraged by taking part in the exciting experience of exploring Big Art. Cooperative play involving turn taking and role play with peers using our resources encourages children to build social relationships. Learning through play this safe and exclusive space means children can immerse their imagination in this new environment and have fun and feel good while doing so.


Big Art is a literacy rich environment . The artwork on display, alongside taking part in the arty scavenger hunt, invites children to think and say what it is they are seeing and experiencing, boosting their visual literacy. Pencils, crayons and chalk are readily available for children to pick up and put to paper. Our story zone hosts a library and is accompanied by small world play opportunities for children to act out their own narratives.

Expressive arts and design

Children are able to experiment with collage materials and mark making. Opportunities for imaginative and creative play through small world toys, block play, costumes , puppets , and musical instruments.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Children will:

  • learn what an art gallery is
  • learn that there are different forms of art
  • learn that having an imagination is an incredible artistic skill that everyone possesses. We want to impress to children that the way they express their creativity is not right or wrong, or better or worse- it is personal and unique to them.


Children will:

  • learn that the Walker Art Gallery belongs to everyone to enjoy, and it is a fun welcoming place to visit. A visit to Big Art boosts young children’s access to Cultural Capital.
  • find Big Art so exciting they will want to return to the Walker Art Gallery


  • Pupils will flex and practise lots of different skills (literacy, fine and gross motor, team work and self actualisation) through set activities and free play without realising.


Pupils will be introduced to:

  • The role of a national gallery like the Walker Art Gallery
  • What a collection is