Our expert in play and creativity, Public Programmes Creative Producer Karen Carey, has curated a collection of websites with high quality creative content and fun, inspiring activities to do with your tamariki ages 3 to 5 and ages 6 to 12, or for them to do by themselves at home. Have fun creating and making!
FOR AGES 3 TO 5
Visit the website for TATE Modern in London, UK, to see their online displays and check out their dedicated children’s page Tate Kids to discover an amazing range of fun art activities inspired by the great artists for little ones.
Karen’s insight: Weaving is a fun and relaxing pre-school activity that stimulates fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Have a play weaving with different materials such as string, paper strips, and even small sticks, and mix them to create interesting patterns and textures.
The Artful Parent – 3D Art and Sculpture
The Artful Parent website has a good selection of inspiring process-focused and engaging art and crafts activities for littlies, similar to the ones on offer in our Little Creators programme in PlayHQ. One of the many activities you will find here which your little ones might enjoy is making 3D art and sculptures.
Karen’s insight: Little children love building and making sculptures, towers and 3D creations. You can use pretty much anything from blocks and recycled materials, to popsicles, clay, sticks, playdough, wood and items like sticks and stones found in nature to create structures. Sculpture making activities nurture children’s creative expression and help them develop their visual-spatial and problem solving skills and experience play-based exploration of balance, construction, textures, colours and shapes. You can read more about the benefits of art for children here
TATE Modern – Show the World Your Artwork
At TATE Modern in London, UK, you can not only experience amazing art in their online displays, children can also submit their own creations at Tate Kids Gallery, and you can enjoy seeing the artworks of other children.
The LEGO Foundation – Learning through Play
The LEGO Foundation in Billund, Denmark, aims to build a future in which learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. On this website you can find lots of interesting and inspiring articles and studies on the importance of play, as well as inspirational tips and activities for using different types of play to support development and learning in children.
Karen’s insight: I highly recommend reading the article Discover How Different Types of Play Support Your Child’s Development When we design and create play installations for pre-schoolers in PlayHQ, we always endeavour to make a creative environment which encourages and caters for different types of structured/unstructured, imaginative, discovery, constructive, social and active play in carefully curated ‘play pockets’ to engage, stimulate and inspire play in creative and interactive ways.
The Kiwi Conservation Club
The Kiwi Conservation Club website has a good selection of fun and creative activities for children to do in nature or to make, inspired by nature. Many of their activities are created by children (which is just awesome!) and most of the activities can be created using recycled materials.
Karen’s insight: Check out the creative fruit feeder for birds activity, created by children, and turn your empty milk bottles into purposeful and fun projects for your little ones to make and decorate. At Capital E’s PlayHQ, we love building and creating using recycled materials. We built ‘Funnington’ and ‘BoxOpolis’ from old cardboard boxes and ‘Imagi-Nation’ from old pipes and fabric. We always endeavour to upcycle, recycle and re-use, and to use sustainable materials for our builds and for craft activities, whenever possible. We encourage you to do the same.
ARTS:LIVE is an Australian award-winning, creative learning hub for the arts, which allows children of all ages and parents to explore, learn and develop their creative skills. All the resources have been developed with professional artists and arts organisations. Explore a range of fun craft, art, media and music activities on ARTS:LIVE for children and families to do together at home.
Karen’s insight: Try out Playing the Pitch and turn glasses of water into musical instruments and experiment by adding different amounts of water to containers. What songs can you make?
FOR AGES 6 TO 12
Karen insight: I love the range of fun creative art activities that can be found on Tate Kids, activities range from pop art design and fun art quizzes to online Street Art creations. Check out Create Like An Artist where children (and adults) can learn skills from casting to weaving, and with art activities for both for people of all ages.
Exploratorium – Explore, Play & Discover
The Exploratorium in San Francisco, USA is a museum that invites children to explore and experience human perception, art and science. Their website offers a range of fun and engaging online activities to feed and inspire children’s wonder and curiosity.
Exploratorium – Science Snacks
The Exploratorium Science Snacks are bite sized, hands-on and fun science activities using cheap and available materials. This is a great site for all children who love testing and experimenting.
MetKids is a digital feature for, with, and by children, sharing the amazing art that can be experienced in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA. On this site, children can hop in the Time Machine to discover big art ideas from different time periods and areas, watch awesome Q&A videos of children interviewing artists about how art can tell us about who we are, and much more.
Design Digital Island Fashion
This is a great activity for young budding fashion designers. Rako is an arts collective based in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia and on their website Island Fashion children can learn about Rotuman patterns which can be used to design and create their own online Pacific outfits and garments.
MakerBox – Daily Creative STEAM Challenges
Our friends at MakerBox have created a range of engaging and creative daily challenges sure to get children’s creative juices going. On this website you can find lots fun and engaging activities to do at home, ranging from building flying contraptions and marble runs to sewing and making cool animations.
The website code.org offers technology interested children code projects with easy step-by-step guides for children to enable them to create animations, games, websites and much more.
Record a Podcast
The Pineapple Studio want children all over the world who are stuck at home to share their stories in the podcast The Kids are All…Home . This is a fun opportunity for children to learn how to make their own podcast at home and to share their stories with others around the world.
Nanogirl – Online Science Lab
Nanogirl’s online science Lab has a range of fun and engaging STEM projects and activities suitable for 6-11 year olds.
Family Maker Camp – Make, Create, Discover, Play, and Share!
Family Maker Camp encourages making and hands-on learning from home, and provides inspiration, guidance and an opportunity to share what you do with others online and become part of a community of Makers. #MakeTogether with Mario the Maker Magician and check out the Upcoming Events section and their website video tutorials for fun activities.
Karen’s insight: At Capital E we love making and creative projects, and many of us are Makers ourselves. The value and importance of cultivating creativity and creative thinking through projects, peers and play are at the heart of the Maker Movement, and what Capital E is all about. Family Maker Camp is all about fun hands-on making and creating, discovery, play and sharing cool projects. Check out the Family Maker Camp website and sign up for fun Family Maker Camp ZOOM video tutorials in their Events section. Happy Making!
OK Go Sandbox
OK Go Sandbox is an online resource who uses OK Go’s music videos as starting points for integrated guided inquiry challenges allowing children to explore various STEAM concepts. OK GO Sandbox is about bringing different ideas, disciplines and people together to explore creativity and learning.
Karen’s insight: The captivating video Art in Microgravity about the challenges of creating art in micro gravity, through play, experimentation, trial and error is just awesome. Imagine how fun it would be creating art when floating in space?
ARTS:LIVE is an Australian award-winning, creative learning hub for the arts, which allows children of all ages, educators and parents to explore, learn and develop their creative skills.
All the resources have been developed with professional artists and arts organisations. Explore a range of fun craft, art, media and music activities on ARTS:LIVE for children and families to do together at home.
About Karen Carey
Karen is the Creative Producer, Public Programmes and leads her team delivering creative public programmes, events, activations and play installations; creating play-based spaces and experiences that challenge, inspire and stimulate children’s imagination and creativity. Originally from Denmark, Karen is very passionate about the intersection of art, play, creativity and children, and has extensive experience working with children as a trained teacher and visual arts educator, and is an artist and Maker herself.