Explore favourite colours, and stories that will fire up your little one’s imagination and allow them to respond. Alongside interactive stories are fun, imaginative learning activities focused on art and design.
This pathway is designed to help your child explore expressive arts and design, another of the ‘specific’ areas of the Early Years Curriculum. It’s all about getting your child to be creative, thinking about art, patterns and colours, and using their imagination.
The learning in this Pathway feeds into lots of areas of the school curriculum, most obviously art but also music, drama and design. Interestingly, the creative learning also builds your child’s mathematical understanding – thinking about patterns is a key part of the way in which maths helps us make sense of our world.
What’s in the pathway?
- There are six books to read, listen to and talk about:
- The first book is on “Colours”, to support your child in learning some colour names. Encourage your child to think about which colours are their favourites. Spot colours around the home with your child, for instance talking about the colour of your child’s favourite clothes.
- Next is a story about “Little Owl’s Orange Scarf”, in which little owl wants a scarf in his favourite colours. Again, this offers the chance to think about which colours are your child’s favourites and why. Link this to your little one’s emotional development, by talking about how we sometimes link colours to emotions. For instance, red might link to feeling angry or blue to being calm.
- The next story is “This Book Just Ate My Dog!”, an imaginative tale about how and why things disappear, which ends by asking the reader to solve a puzzle. Support your child to work out the answer to the puzzle, to help them develop creative thinking.
- Next, we hear the story of how “This Book Belongs to Aye-Aye”, in which Aye-Aye wants to be in a picture book.
- This Pathway ends with two longer books, to boost children’s imagination and creativity. “The Woollies: Pirates Ahoy!” is a story about gold coins and pirate treasure, with pirates a favourite theme for children of all ages.
- Finally, “Boris Saves the Show” tells the story of a school drama show. Your child can look forward to taking part in performances at school.
- The interactive stories in this Pathway are interspersed with fun and imaginative learning activities, this time focused on art and design. In the activities, your child learns the names of different colours and explores patterns, interacting with the app to create designs of their own. They dance off with characters from the stories, practice their spellings and do some magic painting.
Books from the app
You can buy some of the amazing picture books from the app below, so you can read them offline too. Or, explore some new titles together with our books to foster self expression and creativity!
Little Owl loves doing sums, eating ice-cream, and riding his scooter. These are some of his favourite things. He has his favourite colours, too. And orange isn’t one of them. So when Mummy knits a scarf as a surprise Little Owl knows that he definitely doesn’t like it. It’s itchy, long, and far too orange. After losing his scarf at the zoo, Mummy realizes that perhaps Little Owl should be involved in the choice and creation of a replacement. Her instincts are proved absolutely right. But whatever did happen to the orange scarf? Its fate is hinted at in this deftly-told humorous tale!
A warm and witty yarn from the creator of Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket, praised by The Telegraph as ‘deceptively simple and decidedly sweet’.
Activities for you to do at home
- Create musical instruments together, filling empty yoghurt pots or bottles with beans, rice or pasta. Seal the top and shake out a rhythm together with your child. Count the number of beats as you shake your pots. Play a rhythm as you sing a song or nursery rhyme together, shaking along with the beat.
- Try some ‘transient art’ with your child outdoors (temporary art), in a garden if you have one, or in the local park. Gather natural materials, such as fallen leaves, stones and rocks, or fallen petals. Work together to arrange them into interesting shapes and patterns. Talk about the shapes and patterns you make as you create your transient artworks. Take a photo to remember your artwork, and to share with family and friends. You can also create transient art by drawing shapes in sand.
- Make a collage with your child – this helps build imaginative skills, and supports your child to develop fine motor and scissor skills. Gather a stack of old magazines and decide on a theme (this could be as loose as ‘blue’ or as specific as ‘dinosaurs’). Help your child to tear or cut out the pictures of their choice.
- Listen to the encouraging creativity episode of our podcast, The Little Pod, below with expert guest Victoria Jones from The Story Museum in Oxford for a host of practical things you can do to help develop your little one’s creativity and self expression as they get ready to start school and beyond. For more episodes on other topics, check out the full series of The Little Pod.