great arts & cultural stuff to do at home


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go & look challenges

A mish-mash of arts stuff you can go and find out about, maybe that you haven't come across before, or a different take on an artform you know well. Click on a heading below to zoom down to the detail.

Dance styles


A 'sofa dance' from the BBC (YouTube)

Site-specific dance

ACE Youth Dancers

Make it Mine - Dance interpretation


Watch these three versions of a swan solo from Swan Lake:




  • What parts or elements are effective in your opinion? Costume? Movements and body shapes? Patterns made by the dancers? The link between music and dance movements?

  • Which version has the biggest emotional impact? Do you feel sad/interested/bored/entertained?

Check out the National Youth dance Company and how young people interested in dance can develop their skills Here

Career Pathways in Dance


Find out how these people have made dance their everyday job:

  • Shanelle Clemenson in our careers section Here

  • Contemporary dancer Here

  • Commercial TV dancer Here

  • Choreographer Here

Which of these would you like to try? Can you copy one of the moves?

Dance styles through the ages

Book Recommendations

Jasmine a care-experienced young person in Dudley - has written about her favourite books, and suggests 10 you might try:

I can't really choose just one book because every book this author writes just seems to get better and better. So my favourite author has to be Cassandra Clare, every book she writes has a new and thrilling plot that just draws you into the book and the world she creates. She includes a range of different ethnicities and sexualities in her books that make it even more interesting. Her books always includes vampires, werewolves and warlocks but also discusses demons and Angel's. The books that she writes tackles a lot of difficult things, such as racism, homophobia and a lot of other things that just hits home. Every book that she writes is different and new and gives you plenty of reasons to love her as an author. I warn you though If your going to read any of her books you should always be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. Plus no matter what you'll fall in love with nearly every character she creates as each one is unique and has a special personality.

Jasmine's Top 10 Book List

1) Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

2) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

3) The Maze Runner by James Dashner

4) Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

5) The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

6) Smart by Kim Slater

7) Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

8) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordon

9) Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

10) The Magersterium by Holy Black

Chill Skills
from Artslink Awesome Arts Festival

On the final day of our summer festival we looked at Chill Skills, ways that artists unwind, chill out and de-stress.


Head over to the Chill Out tent and pick a few films from the collection to watch. See if you've tried any, or would like to.

1. For younger festival goers

There are many festival held in the UK and in other countries. Have a look at these:

Which would you like to visit, and why?

2. For older festival goers

Research some festivals. Use these below or find others.

Who do you think is the target audience for

each festival? E.g. young people, families, children…..


1. Being a BBC Production Apprentice

by Annie Chisambo

Annie talks about her background in local radio, and about what it's like to be a BBC apprentice.

Commissioned from the BBC for streaming by Artslink Connect & Create participants only. Please do not use for any other purpose.

2. BBC Young Reporter Competition

Open August - October 2020

A chance for 11-18 year-olds to share their unique stories with the BBC. This is the third year of this editorial opportunity and previous winners have produced reports with the likes of BBC Three, The One Show, BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live, Newsbeat, Newsround and the News at Six.

All the details will be on where at the moment you're still able to see some of this year’s winning stories.

Crazy Cover Versions

Listen to these pop songs which musician Hildegard von Blingin' has transformed into medieval covers. Click Here

Check out Post Modern Jukebox, who take modern day hits and transform them into 1920/30/40’s style performances. Click Here



Take a song you like and know, and transform it into a different musical style. For example, can you change a nursery rhyme into a rap? A love song into an upbeat pop song?

Next Steps

Look at ‘cover versions’ that artists have created from well known existing songs. Radio 1’s live lounge invited artists to do this Click Here

Food sculpture

Look at these extraordinary sculptures carved from fruit and vegetables by artist Vincenzo Scuruchi: Click Here (YouTube)


Artist Manami Sasaki creates works of art using food items on toast. Click Here


Japanese chef and food artist Takehiro Kishimoto creates exquisite patterns into all sorts of vegetables and fruit Click Here. His work is based on the Japanese tradition of ‘mukimono’ decorating and garnishing food.


Create a sculpture or image using items of food.

Photograph your creation. You can eat your sculpture afterwards so you don’t waste food!

N.B. please do not use any sharp objects without adult permission and supervision.

Next Steps

Research other traditional carving patterns such as maori wood carvings Click Here and their meanings Click Here. Research other patterns such as celtic patterns and meanings Click Here. Create your own patterns using ideas from zen doodling Click Here

Postage Stamp Art

The Royal Mail create ‘special edition’ stamps which many people collect. Previously there have been special sets of stamps based on Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Gruffalo, James Bond, Royal Navy ships, Alice in Wonderland. Click Here


Challenge:  Design a set of stamps based on your

interests in life.  Experiment with different ways of

creating your design:

  • Drawing

  • Painting

  • Printing

  • Collage

You can use these templates or design your own stamp shapes too! 

Next Steps

Research stamps from different places.  Notice the different sizes, shapes and colours. Look at the way stamp design has changed over the years in this country.

Comic Book Characters

Take a look at the fabulous superhero characters that artist Iqra Babar created here. Have a think about what makes a character ‘super’ - click here for some ideas.



Can you create a comic book character or a flying superhero – human or animal?

Think about its characteristics – positive ones and things that get it into trouble! Design a character including its expressions, any makeup or masks, accessories, costume, key phrases and name it. Use a range of ways to create the designs:

  • Collage

  • Paint

  • Pencil sketches

  • Crayons and felts

  • Photographs – mix and match them

Next Steps

Research superheroes from different countries and cultures. Look at different stories, animations and comics. Create a model of your superhero using clay, playdoh, plasticine, paper, card, tape, paint... any materials that can create a 3-dimensional figure.


Create a life size costume for your superhero - use fabric or paper and paint/pens/chalks or newspaper and sellotape to create the garments. What would your superhero wear, what lengths and shapes would their clothing be?


Create a story or adventure that your superhero appears in. Tell the story (voice record, live performance, video, write it down, create a comic strip) and share it with others.  We would love to see your designs and stories.


Take a look at the different types of portraits in the National Portrait Gallery’s online collections: Click here 


Explore the artists featured as part of ‘National Portrait Artist of the Year’: Click here. Which styles and materials do you particularly like?

Check out some weird and wonderful portraits made with unusual materials


Can you create a portrait of someone, or maybe a pet, or use a photo to create from? Use materials of your choice – collage, caricature or cartoon, chalks, pencil, fine liner pens, paints, charcoal, objects…. Explore trying different styles and materials and find your preferred materials and style.

Next Steps

Research portrait painters and photographers that you like. Create portraits yourself and build a collection. Have a mini exhibition somewhere in the place you live or create a digital exhibition - PowerPoint or slideshow and share it with people you live with.

Rockin' Around the Room!

Look at this fantastic film of people dancing in and around their houses - different people in different places with different moves.

Dancers from Paris Opera made this film on YouTube to encourage people to stay home during lockdown.  Do you recognise the music? See if you spot the little people getting involved!


Can you dance around wherever you live and create different movements in each room or space (corridors, stairs)?  Can you teach movements to people you live with and dance together?

Next Steps

Research site specific choreography – that is dance pieces choreographed about and  to be performed in a specific place.  Look at these dance pieces created and performed in specific places:

Can you create a dance piece in a particular space? Practice it and film it. Share it with others.  

Land Art

Take a look at the way artist Tamas Kanya creates sculptures, patterns and pictures using stones and other natural materials. Click here 


For more stone patterns click here


Artist Andy Goldsworthy also uses stones and rocks to make large patterns and sculptures outside. Click here


Artist  Erzsebet Szilajka uses pebbles, stones and sea glass in a different way to create simple beautiful images. Click here


Here’s a YouTube video on painting stones – you could try this at home. Click here 


Japenese artist Akie transform stones into animals. Click here


Can you create an original piece of art using stones and pebbles? Paint them, balance them, arrange them into patters – whatever you like. Think carefully about the background you are placing them on – grass, pavement, plain paper, material/fabric, cardboar, tin foil, plastic sheet…. Photograph your art work. We would love to see it and share it in our gallery.

Graffiti Art

Look at this article on graffiti art in Digbeth, Birmingham. Look around where you live, is there any graffiti art? What do you think of it?


If you were given a wall or patio to transform, what would you do? Design on paper your own graffiti image or have a go on the Tate online site: Click here


Ask whoever you live with if you can use coloured chalks to transform an outside wall or patio/pavement/paving slabs area. Here’s some work that a mother and child created to cheer up their pavements in the neighbourhood: Click here

Share your work in ways that suit you – in person or digitally online. We would love to see it, so you can send photos or a film clip of your work .

Next steps

Research the work of other graffiti artists. Create a collection of work that you like.  Create a series of your own designs. Create your own graffiti tag. 

Animal Sculptures
  • Look at these incredible beautiful breeds of bird: Click Here

  • Artist Patrick Cabral creates intricate portraits of endangered species by cutting paper: Click Here

  • Take a look at paper artist Lisa Price who used nature as a focus for her paper sculptures and 3-dimensional pictures: Click Here

  • Artist Brian Mock makes sculptures from nuts, bolts and other recycled material: Click Here

  • Here’s some simple craft bugs using items from the garden: Click here

  • Here are some guides for making simple origami (paper folding) animals:


Can you create a creature or creatures (real or imaginary) using different materials:


  • A creature using leaves, stones, sticks

  • A creature using paper - folding it, cutting it, drawing on it

  • A creature using recycled materials - cardboard, junk mail, drink cartons

Share your work in ways that suit you - in person or online. We'd love to see them, so if you'd like to send them to us for our Gallery: click here.

Next steps

Research how paper can be used to create art here. Research artists who use recycled materials to create sculptures. Find out about different paper techniques including as quilling, origami, paper cutting, paper dyeing.

Small Worlds

You may feel that your life has got quite small since being in lockdown. At the moment we can’t go to as many places or see as many people as we used to. Artists specialise in creating tiny scenes using everyday bits and pieces with amazing results!

Artist Tatsuya Tanaka creates and photographs small scenes in everyday places using everyday objects: Click Here

Gardens in a tea cup: Click Here to look at the work of Muhaiminah Faiz.


Create a tiny scene in a tiny place somewhere inside or outside of where you live.  Photograph the scene you create, take sevral photos from different angles. Share your work with someone else. Create a folder or album (digital or paper) of your scenes. Send your pics to us if you like - click here.

Next steps

Create an exhibition or a trail of your tiny places for people to look at, inside and outside of where you live.  Can you create a scene somewhere along a place where people walk - see if they notice it!  Create a series of scenes and film them.  Add a soundtrack to your film.  Research other artists who create mini worlds or small scenes.

Artful Architecture

Take a look at these unusual building designs  

What do you think is important for the outside of a building and the inside?

Take a look at these amazing small spaces (YouTube clip) that have been designed carefully to look fabulous and be fun to live in.

We have some architecture activities for you to do at home from Foster and Partners – templates to build your own paper city, town, village. Click Here


Can you design your perfect space?

  • Draw it – inside and or outside, floor plans

  • Make a model from card and paper, tin foil, or plasticine, play doh, lego, building blocks – any mixture of things you can find.

  • Create a mood board (collage) of the colours and textures you would like in your perfect space, pictures of the gadgets and accessories, the furniture and furnishings – decorations, lights, what else would you have in your perfect space….?!

Next steps

Create a location and an environment for your designed space. Where would it exist – a city? A desert? 


Research some contrasting architects and designers here

Being Well - Mental Health and the Arts

It can be tough to stay emotionally steady during this lock-down time.  Many people have dips and wobbly times, and it can be especially tricky at the moment.

TROUBLE IN YOUR BUBBLE? has great tips for keeping those relationships and yourself as healthy as possible during lock-down (click the image to download the pdf) - there are some useful thoughts and pointers around well-being. The resource was created created in New Zealand by an organisation which supports Pasifika culture.

You can also use arts activities to pick up your mood, distract yourself or work out your thoughts and feelings:

MUSIC – create a playlist that helps you to feel calm and relaxed or energised and positive.

DANCE – have a dance to get yourself moving. Stick on your favourite tunes and move your hands, feet, arms, body to your top tunes. Many people enjoy dancing (see here) You could turn, jump, travel from room to room in your home – enjoy! (N.B. links to YouTube and features adverts. We recommend you don't follow any links)

WRITE – Poet Joseph Coehlo reads his poem ‘Argument’ here

Write a poem, rap, a rhyme, speech, letter, scene for a play, story. 

Download a free journal template here

DRAW - colouring, doodling are all useful things to remember and use if you are struggling to stay steady.

Free colouring book by artist Johanna Basford here

The arts can be a great way of expressing feelings during difficult times

BLURT – Project Quaranzine: take part in The blurt Foundation's zine project here


You could create a zine (folded leaflet) and draw, write, collage your thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t have to make sense or shown to anyone else but yourself.

How to make a zine here

Download a zine template here

Helpful prompts and ideas


Can you create a list of the top 3 arts activities that help your mood? If you wish, share them (or this page) with others - the challenge may help them too!

Making music in extraordinary ways

Have you ever seen or heard of instruments that are made from different materials? Explore the links below and discover a whole new world of sound and music making!

Watch this short film about the amazing Landfill Orchestra in Paraguay: Landfillharmonic

Other unusual ways of making music using everyday instruments include:

STOMP Brooms

Coffee cup percussion


Band in one body (Bobby McFerrin)

Bucket drumming

Vegetable orchestra

Glasses and water

Blue Man Pipe Drumming

The challenge:

Have a go at creating your own rhythms and/or tunes using everyday objects and yourself!

Next steps:

Record or film your piece. Ask for other people's feedback on your piece. Can you create a group piece of music with the people you live with? Maybe start with a rhythm and see where it takes you.


Try creating pieces in different styles. Give your piece a title.

Makeup Design & Costume - Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil is a world class performance company who combine circus, dance, drama, theatre, storytelling, visual design and performance.  Look at how the performers audition and train to get a place in one of the Cirque companies.

Behind the scenes Auditioning for Cirque du Soleil - Click Here

Costumes and make up are one of the key features and attractions of Cirque du Soleil shows.  Have a look at these films to see what goes on behind the scenes:

‘Alegria’ Make Up & Costumes - Click Here

Short interview with make up designer - Click Here

Stage make up tutorial by Cirque performer - Click Here

(there are plenty more if you search ‘Colour me Cirque’

Behind the scenes at a Cirque du Soliel show - Click Here

The challenge:

Can you design a circus costume and make up?  It could be any type of character or creature that you can imagine. Feel free download and use our template:

Next steps:

Have a look for other costume designers work in different kinds of theatre and performance. Make up artists work in daily TV studios as well as in films and stage productions that need special make up effects. Can you design accessories for a range of characters including masks, headdresses, hats, footwear, gloves, etc?

If you want to get more into costume design, you can find a great range of templates at this site. You'll need to subscribe, so make sure you have permission if you need it.

Hand Dancing

Look at the choreography of the company ‘Up and Over It’: Up and Over It click here


Can you create a hand dance to a piece of your favourite music, either on your own or with someone you live with?

Look at the work of finger tutting expert JayFunkY for inspiration: JayFunkY and Behind the scenes with jayFunkY

Share your work in ways that suit you – in person or digitally online. We would love to see it, so you can send photos or a film clip of your 'handywork' to us via our contact page and we'll display some of the images in the gallery.  

Next steps – research what other dance styles use hand movements in a specific way such as flamenco, khatak, vogue, more finger tutting

Visual Arts Creatures

Take a look at ‘Butterflies & Moths Collection’ – Natural History Museum


Check out how other artists have created artworks featuring creatures:

Artist Jennifer Murphy:

Artist Fredrico Uribe:

The challenge:

Create a creature (real or imaginary) either by:

  • making a model (plasticine, play doh, salt doh, natural items found outside stones, twigs, leaves etc or inside – everyday objects),

  • collage – cutting out creatures from magazines etc (ask first!) and arranging them,

  • painting/drawing – using pencils, crayons, pens, paints,

  • or using any other ideas you have…..


Share your work in ways that suit you – in person or digitally online.  We would love to see them, so you can send a photo of your work to us via our contact page and we will display some of the images in the gallery.

Next steps:  research other artists and designers who use creatures, animal images in their work e.g. pokemon, manga art, tinga tinga art etc.


Children & Young People: please make sure you stay physically safe when doing any of the activities, and check with an adult before starting, as Artslink can't accept liability for any damage to yourself or property!

Children & Young People and key adults: please be aware of the importance of e-safety.

We strongly recommend the Thinkuknow e-safety website.

Artslink is a programme by West Midlands Virtual Schools, co-funded by Arts Connect. It aims to ensure that

all care experienced children & young people are able to access high-quality arts & cultural experiences and activities.

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