expressive arts & design

Treasure baskets and heuristic play

by Anni McTavish What are treasure baskets?  “Treasure Baskets” are a collection of ordinary household objects, that are chosen to offer variety and fascination for babies who can sit up comfortably but are not yet crawling.  When babies begin to sit up by themselves, they are often fascinated by the world around them. It can […]

Expressive arts and design in EYFS

expressive arts & design in eyfs

by Debi Keyte-Hartland Art in the early years To express, simply means to communicate.  The expressive arts, therefore, are languages of communication, able to express and communicate ideas, feelings, working theories children have about how the world works around them.  It is interesting to think about how children communicate in musical ways, or how they […]

What is loose parts play in the EYFS?

loose parts play

by Debi Keyte- Hartland The term “Loose Parts” was coined by Simon Nicholson, a British architect and designer whose parents were artists Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.  He wrote a paper called The Theory of Loose Parts: How not to cheat Children in 1971, and this has become hugely influential in the ensuing decades since. […]

Making a noise for music

Music in the early years

The role of music in the early years Everyone knows how much young children love to sing and dance, but all too often music is thought of as something which only a few specially talented or gifted people will be good at. And it is children’s experiences of music in the early years which have […]

Children as artists

Young children are artists. They use all sorts of materials to show what they have noticed about the world. They might draw the rain falling onto the tent during a family holiday, paint a giraffe seen at the zoo, model a fish from clay and press patterns into its body. What they make can say […]

Messy play

Messy play provides so many explorative and investigative experiences, which promote so many of the characteristics of effective learning.  Some easy ideas to start you off Here are some easy ways you can enhance your continuous early years provision with messy, tactile, multi-sensory play. These ideas could be used large or small, inside or outside, […]


Play with clay Clay is natural, it comes from the earth. It is cool to the touch and soft on our skin. It has a deep earthy smell which invites you in. Clay can be sculpted far more intricately than play dough. Just by covering it over, clay can be returned to day-after-day, added to, […]


How can I be more creative? Be inspired by our guest bloggers from Rachel Keeling nursery school who shared about their clay and sculpture project.  Have a read of The beauty and chaos of free play blog. I was comforted by the image of a well used and played in space and the quotes of Vivian Gussin Paley and […]