great arts & cultural stuff to do at home


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Leap into a new year by trying new things and creating new habits! Facing another lockdown can feel boring, frustrating or anxiety making – let’s pull together a Creative Toolkit for Challenging Times. Do you need ways to 'get going', arty energy boosters? Do you need ways to chill out, worry less? Would creative and effective ways to focus and take control of your energy and time be useful?

Over the next 3 weeks, different activities, strategies and tools will be shared which can help us get through tricky times:


  • Fun Ways to Focus - ways to get your head and body focussed and ready to do stuff, achieve things and be the best YOU that is possible.

Continuing this week with...


"How do you do it?" said night

"How do you wake up and shine?"

"I keep it simple," said light

"One day at a time"

Lemn Sissay

Calm Down – Aaaaaarggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!


It’s hard to chill out if your heart is racing or if you feel angry, irritated, sad, or full of fizzing energy.Need a little something to get you feeling more relaxed? We can all find different arts activities that suit us and work as our 'chill skills'.

Musicians, dancers and performers often have to destress and find ways of calming themselves when they feel down, frustrated, nervous, anxious or after a performance when they are full of extra energy.  Check out how these 14 different artists chill out:

Artists' Chill Skills

Walking in the woods, baking, disc golf, building stuff from wood, exercise, meditating, playing guitar - just some of the Chill Skills used by our featured artists. Why not watch their short films and pick up ideas for ways that you can stay calm?















Now try the tasks below and see what works for you. Activities for teenagers and younger people, as well as early years and sensory.



Have a look at Nathan Geering's introduction to wellbeing and ways to switch your unhelpful thoughts and mindset:

Nathan Geering

Intro to wellbeing



Acts of

Creativity 1

Acts of

Creativity 2

Doodling and designing can be a great way to slow down and get absorbed in colour and patterns. 

Try designing a festival make up - visit our Festival Costume & Body Art tent:

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...or some Zen doodling (YouTube):

...or anime type characters (YouTube):

Watch these moving sculptures - their gentle movement will keep you mesmerised!

Click here

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Sit or lie down, get comfortable and Just listen to an audio book from the teen section of or listen to a soft gentle play list of music.

Listen to artist Sam Bakewell describe how carving tiles helps him manage his anxiety (YouTube)

Use sand or flour on a tray or in a box to create patterns as touching soft textures can be a soothing sensory experience. Look at these beach sand drawings for inspiration (YouTube)

Try this simple stretching sequence to help you relax tense muscles and your mind. Choose a song or piece of music to do the sequence to and make it part of your daily routine.

Younger people:


Get comfortable and sit or lie back and just listen to these food stories from Therese Collins:

A Cluster of Mushrooms

Crumbly Cake

Blue Corn Surprise

Spooky Sweet Potato Bake

Chocolate & Cardamom Pudding

Colouring can be a gentle calming activity as it involves a repetitive physical action and gives you something to concentrate on and it is fun! Try out these:


How about painting some pebbles, it’s like colouring on a 3 dimensional object! Check out these ideas for starters, then make up your own.

Singing can be a great way of organising and calming our breathing. Join in with this beautiful song.

Bele Mama DEMO

Try these body shapes and movements

(click to download PDFs):

Early years & sensory


Smells, physical actions such as squeezing and stretching and visual stimulus can really help to calm us down. Try these sensory calming activities

Here are some relaxation techniques for young people on the autism spectrum.

Check out the calm zone from Childline with lots of ideas and activities.


Having tasks and activities that help you feel OK will help you throughout your life.


If you need a little something to get you going, give you a buzz and lift your spirits, then getting physical is a great way to get your heart pumping,  blood flowing, upping the oxygen in your body and lifting your mood. 


Actors, singers, circus performers often have to energise themselves before a performance or rehearsal – so try the tasks below and see what works for you! Activities for all ages, teenagers and younger people, as well as early years and sensory.

General energisers for all ages

Dance can be a good way to stay well - find out how here and watch the Mental Health Awareness Week dance flash-mob on YouTube. Dance along if you like.

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Music and singing can also open up your lungs and voice and make you feel more positive. Sing Up At Home offers a bunch of free songs for primary and secondary ages, plus a weekly Feelgood Fifteen singing session every Tuesday at 9am. Why not join in?

Clapping games can get your brain and body buzzin'! Check out these clapping games for all ages at and give some a try with someone where you live.


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Head to Zoo Nation for inspiration to get moving - dance tutorials and interviews with dancers, including Some Like It Hip-Hop

Sharpen your coordination with circus skills and flow dart work in these challenges from local artist Dimitri:

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Visit the Dance Tent from our Summer Festival to engage your brain and body coordination with these dance and flow tasks from local artists Shanelle and Nathan. Try out the challenges for older festival goers.

Prefer a pencil and paper task? Set a timer (use your phone?) and draw as many birds, faces, things that smell, things that are blue, in 30 seconds - 1 subject each time.

Try one of these drawing tasks each day - set a time limit. Have fun!

Younger people:


Warm up and wake up with...

Dance from Shanelle

Drama from Tonia Daley-Campbell

Get your brain and body buzzing with...


Circus skills from Dimitri



Rope Dart from Nathan

Tap, click, drum and sing...

Try this easy singing task from Ula

to open up your lungs

Try Rob's Kitchen beat sequencer

Prefer a pencil and paper task? Head over to the British Library and create a hilarious nonsense directory.

Early years & sensory


Wake up the body and brain with sensory activities from HealthLine.

Use gentle percussive body massage to get your body moving and simple songs and clapping patterns.



The next area in our programme to introduce you to some of the fantastic artists and arts organisations working in the West Midlands. The arts are everywhere, and we want to help you find out what's in your area. After featuring each area on this page we'll store it in our Local Links section.

This week we introduce you to the artists and arts organisations of Coventry.


Meet your Virtual School's Arts Champion

We asked Rachael Bignall - arts lead for Coventry Virtual School - about her arts interests:

Q: What was the first live music gig/concert you went to?

Rachael: King – Love & Pride Tour, Apollo theatre Coventry – AMAZING!!!


Q: If you were in a film or story, which character would you like to be?

Rachael: Marty McFly from Back to The Future – so I can travel through time

Q: Quick fire questions: choose one option for each quick fire question. Would you prefer to…

  • Dance or watch TV? Dance

  • Art gallery or cinema? Art Gallery

  • Be in a performance or be in the audience ? Perform


What is your favourite arts activity to do ?

Rachael: Read a good book

Here's a sample of some of the arts organisations in Coventry....

Albany Theatre

Theatre and studio space staging in-house and professional touring dance, drama, music and comedy productions, with particular support for community projects

Coventry City of Culture

Massive international project celebrating Coventry's cultural life

Coventry Music Hub

One-stop-shot for all music provision for young people in Coventry

Let's Animate

Micro animation studio creating animated digital content, alongside facilitating animation workshops, courses, clubs and birthday parties both in house and on location.

Positive Youth Foundation

Aim to raise the aspirations and life chances of young people who are facing challenging circumstances, including through arts & culture

Warwick Arts Centre

One of the largest multi-artform venues in the UK

Belgrade Theatre

The Belgrade is the largest professional theatre in Coventry and acts as both the city and region’s commercial and producing theatre. Also highly respected for its community and education initiatives.

Coventry Libraries

Libraries to visit, events

Highly Sprung

Physical theatre - outdoor and indoor performances that tell stories through movement, gesture and dance. Stories inspired by humanity, science, and the complex world around us

Open Theatre

Use nonverbal physical theatre to collaborate with Young People with Learning Disabilities, creating quality art which reflects and celebrates their unique creativity.

The Tin

Live music & arts venue

Coventry Cultural Education Partnershive have created a fantastic 100 Brilliant Ideas book to get you creating. You can download the PDF here:

And finally....


In response to our Winter Photography Challenge, Abbie from Staffordshire sent in some wonderful landscape photographs which capture the atmospheric winter light really well. Visit our Gallery to view all her pics. Congratulations Abbie!


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 Children in Care Foundation, supported 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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