Back to School Creatively

Here is a selection of our recent activities and resources put together to support children's transition back into school life - both at home and in the classroom.

Based around 6 topics, with key themes / values, each selection features something to do, something to watch and something to read - with book recommendations from Sandy Gibbons, Development Librarian: CYPS, Neighbourhood Services: Leicester Libraries.

These are ideal if you are looking for a creative pit stop to end the day, support material for a circle time discussion or a recommendation to include in your school newsletter for families to do at home.

If you would like more information on any of the resources or our work with schools please contact nicola@thesparkarts.co.uk

1. Recycling - Treasure to Trash

Key themes / values: environment, exploring materials

Something to Make: Create recycled flowers or an entire recycled garden. Check out the resources in our Bitesize Recycling Creative Learning Toolkit.

Something to Watch: Talking Rubbish
Meet Charlotte the Excavator. She loves Talking Rubbish, it's her favourite subject! Charlotte finds ways of making new, fun and unusual friends from things that get thrown away.

Something to Read: Tidy by Emily Gravett a very funny rhyming woodland story about the perils of being too tidy. Watch Emily Gravett reading Tidy


2. Music & Movement

Key themes / values: speaking and listening, following directions, fine motor skills

Something to do: Sphere Play - download the worksheet and get ready to play with sounds and words?

Something to watch: Rhythm Play Express - Play, dance and jam along - sounds, music, words and movement to feed the imagination of Early years and Key Stage 1. Develop new language and learn new words.

Something to Read: Press Here by Herve Tullet An inventive, interactive picture book that invites the reader to use their imagination.


3. Nature

Key themes / values: exploring materials, questioning, imagination

Something to Make: Make amazing Mandalas using natural resources outdoors or smaller versions on a tuff tray or a table top. Check out the resources in our Discover Nature Creative Learning Toolkit

Something to Watch: The Fox's Journey by Tia Chand-Corey
What does the fox see and do during social isolation? One of 8 stories Created by storytellers in their homes to feed the imagination and find the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

Something to Read: The Last Wolf by Mini Grey
Can Little Red help her new friends in need? A powerful, moving and funny picture book.
Watch the author reading the story and making a Last Wolf treehouse.


4. Adventure / Poetry

Key themes / values: creative writing, resilience, problem solving, imagination

Something to Do: writer and storyteller Dan Mallaghan talks you through one of his favourite things to do - write nonsense poems. We'd love to hear and share yours.

Something to Watch: The Big Veg Takedown - The Online Adventures of Walter Lemonface. An animated adventure full of colourful characters and mysterious happenings created by artists, children and families working together to create an exciting animated story. Watch the episodes as they were created to see how the story developed.

Something to read: Stanley's Stick by poet John Hegley and award-winning illustrator Neal Layton . With a stick in hand, Stanley's options are endless - his imagination takes over and the magic begins.

Watch Stanley's Stick - with musical accompaniment performed by members of the Northern Chamber Orchestra. Music and narration by James Manson


5. Animals

Key themes / values: exploring materials, fine motor skills, questioning and reasoning

Something to Make: You will be AMAZED what you can make from old newspaper and tape. Artist Sophie Cullinan creates incredible and curious objects using everyday newspaper and card.

Download the worksheet, watch the YouTube instructions or visit Sophie's Paper Palace

Something to Watch: Truls the Turtle by Ines Sampaio
The tale of a turtle whose chilli eating habit has given him a magical musical shell. A story written and created at home during lockdown To help find the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

Something to Read: I Am A Tiger by Karl Newson - Winner of the Leicester Our Best Picture Book Award. A witty and clever story about a little mouse with very big ideas – she believes she is a tiger!

Watch author Karl Newson and Illustrator Ross Collins read I Am A Tiger


6. Friendship

Key themes / values: problem solving, kindness, journeys, imagination and discovery, routine, celebrating difference

Something to make: Make a paper chain to show how we should all respect each other and appreciate each other's beliefs… Download the Worksheet created for Journeys Festival International.

Something to watch: Druv's Magic Land by Santoshi Bobby Mann
Being kind and looking after animals is at the heart of this story, based on a Hindu tale. Druv goes on a magical journey that helps him to explain to his sister why she shouldn't eat the sweets she so desperately wants…

Dhruv's Magical Land - retold in British Sign Language by Nadeem Islam

Something to Read: Blue and Bertie by Kristyna Litten
Bertie the giraffe's life runs over very straight lines. But then, one day, Bertie oversleeps and is left behind by the rest of his herd, and his life begins to take some very unexpected turns…


Share your creativity

We would love to see what you create in the classroom or at home. Share photos of your creativity with us on social media or send them to us at nicola@thesparkarts.co.uk


Thanks to Sandy Gibbons, Development Librarian: CYPS, Neighbourhood Services: Leicester Libraries for book suggestions.

Many of the recommended books are available to borrow from Leicester Libraries.

You can follow libraries on social media for regular updates about all their projects, services and the latest bestsellers. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.