Keeping Creative at Home: Rediscover your home as a creative space

23 March 2020

Experienced artist-educator Greg Klerkx looks at how you can use a space common to all of us – our home – as inspiration for creative activities

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Image credit: Christopher Niemann, from his Sunday Sketches series

Whether you're a teacher, a parent, or both, we hope our Keeping Creative at Home blog series will help you and your children through this tricky period of adjustment.

We're aware there's currently a lot of pressure, on parents in particular, around home education. So, first and foremost, all of the activities in this series are designed to be fun, creative experiences for your children (and hopefully for you too!), but there is also potential for learning in all of them. Should you wish to use them for education purposes, there are links to free resources included below each activity, and we have indicated the skills and subjects they are linked to.

Most activities will be suitable for primary age children but can be scaled up. A few activities are aimed specifically at older children and adults. Many will also suit, or can be adapted to, children with special educational needs.

1. Your home as a sensory space

How is your house different if you explore it by focusing on one sense at a time? For example: touch, or smell, or hearing?

Explore a single room or even your entire house this way. Which parts of your house have a particularly strong ‘sense’ profile – e.g. loud/quiet, lots of tactile surfaces?

Can you map your whole house purely by sense, perhaps using art-making materials to create original symbols for sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell?

Want to go further? Try one of these:

Making a sound scape

Making a sensory map

Doing a sensory walk

Art, movement, geography, literacy

2. Hidden wonders

Move through the rooms of your home and find objects that you’d not really noticed before and that you think are interesting – maybe something in the back of a cupboard or tucked in a drawer, for example.

Create a story of how the object came to be there. Use the other objects/space you’ve found to create a treasure hunt, creating clues to discover each ‘hidden wonder’.

Want to go further? Try one of these:

Treasure hunts

Structured story making

Write a choose your own adventure story

Art, geography, literacy

3. Leave a lovely message

Using post-it notes or note paper, write a series of joyful or encouraging messages and place them throughout your house for family and friends to find; inside coat pockets, under coffee cups, by doors or windows.

Messages might be: ‘You can do this!’, ‘Today will be amazing’, ‘You are a star.’

Encourage others to add messages. Older children and adults could use famous quotes for the same purpose, and an extension of this is to research the origin and context of the quotation and person behind it.

Literacy, history

Leave a lovely message.jpeg
Credit: Nimble Fish

4. The Page 10 challenge

Find 10 books or magazines from around your house. Open each book or magazine to page 10 and read or write the first sentence that appears on this page.

Once you have 10 sentences, arrange them into a story. You can do this individually or as a small group. Repeat either with different pages or with different books/magazines.

Want to go further? Try one of these:

A process for creative writing

More story-making activities

Literacy

5. Freewriting

This is for older children and adults, and works best in a small group.

One person selects a book in your house and opens a page randomly, then closes their eyes and points at a word. Starting only with that word, each person free writes for three minutes: writing non-stop, without concern for grammar, punctuation, or even sense.

Use the results as the start of a short story or prose poem, either individually or collectively.

Want to go further? Try one of these:

Step by step freewriting

Prose poetry

The morning pages

Literacy

6. Object enhancement

Find an ordinary object, i.e. something you see and use every day such as a a lamp, chair, table etc.

Using art materials of any kind, give that object some pizazz: a chair with papier-mâché wings, a lamp with eyes and a nose.

How can much of your house can you transform this way? Share this activity with friends or family, and perhaps create an online gallery of your transformed objects and spaces!

Want to go further? Try one of these:

Art from ordinary objects

Online gallery tool

Art, design

Art-out-of-everyday-objects9__700.jpg
Credit: Tatiana Khlopkova

7. Door to the future

Pick a door in your house, one that leads from one interior space to another. Have some random numbers in a grab bag and in front of your chosen door, pick a number.

Let’s say the number 125 was selected: this is now a door to the future, and by stepping through it, you will find yourself on this same site (or perhaps somewhere else in London) 125 years in the future.

Step through the door… then discuss, write, draw, etc., the world you find.

How will politics and social interaction be different (or the same)? What will buildings, cars (if we have them) and cities look like and why? What breakthroughs will have happened? How will they affect the world?

An extension could be to use answers to these and other questions to create an art installation on the ‘other side’ of the door.

Want to go further? Try one of these:

Visions of the future

Art, design, oracy/literacy, history

Finally, if you are looking for some more generally creative and home learning resources developed specifically in the context of learning at home, there are two sites created and curated by teachers and parents: Home Learning UK and Inspired Learning Partnership.

Teachers might find the learning packs from South Croydon Primary School helpful, which are very easy to use and navigate.


Have you tried any of the activities on this list? Please share your pictures or experiences with us! Tweet us @A_New_Direction or email schools@anewdirection.org.uk

Greg Klerkx is co-founder of award-winning arts company, Nimble Fish