Things to do during the LOCKDOWN for children and adults

First week of lock down completed and I’m not going to lie it ended up with my husband DJing on his decks until 1am this morning and finishing off left over Christmas alcohol! It was good just to turn up the tunes and dance away the tension of the last couple of weeks! Definitely recommend!

As an art secondary school teacher I am used to working to a timetable and being in a school setting. So for me sorting out a timetable at the start of week was helpful. I haven’t kept to the timings religiously but it has helped me to feel more in control and therefore has helped my anxieties with everything that is going on.  I would recommend every one doing this especially if you have a tendency to worry.

I have 2 boys, my eldest son called William is 6 and my youngest son called Jake is 4. The hardest thing has been trying to accommodate both of their needs. Starting William on a task and then playing endless amounts of board games, puzzles and marble runs with Jake has been a winner.  In the afternoons I have tried to complete a joint art activity which so far has kept them both occupied.

William has been looking at the Great Fire of London in school so for the first 3 days we have focused on creating an A3 watercolour painting. He spent a maximum of 30 minutes on each stage.  I did use watercolour colour paper, 300gm but you could just use normal paper or cartridge paper. I got William to use watercolour paints but again you could use whatever paints you have available, poster or acrylics would be fine. See the stages below and encourage your child to see this painting as a work in progress. It takes time to develop a great painting. So lots of praise along the way for each stage really helps.

Day 1: Creating the fire background (30 mins) 

We wetted the watercolour paper first using a clean, damp sponge and then when William applied the watercolour paint you get a lovely bleeding and mixing of the colours. It is really important that the fire painting now dries until tomorrow. If they’re really enjoying painting then have another piece of paper at the ready.  We used a size 10 sable paint brush as its bigger and a bit easier for children to work with.

Day 2:  Adding the buildings (30 mins)

Using a mix of dark brown and blue watercolour we created a black tone. If you  are using black and poster paints or acrylics water the paint down. You want to create a faint grey for the background so that it looks as though it is in the distance. We used a 3/4inch square paint brush as the shape of the brush helps to create rectangular buildings. You could get you child to practice this on a scrap piece of paper first. You can also add some smoke using by adding more water to your tone or black and white together watered down.

William added more fire to the background after he had finished painting his buildings and smoke. Make sure the painting has completely dried before you go on to the next stage.

Day 3: Adding the details using a fine liner (30 mins)

Using a fine liner (a black biro or black felt tip pen will do if you do not have one) apply the detail. Think cracks, broken windows and tiles. Add stairs, ladders, pitched and broken roofs.

The finished outcome…

Get in touch if you have any questions and please send me any your children’s paintings. Enjoy!

The younger sibling’s pieces…

I said to Jake that we were creating a Fire of London picture. I gave him the same materials and paper (no arguments then!)

I am really impressed with his work and prior to this his tendency would be to create a mass blob of brown paint so that fact that he has created individual lines and changed and created different colours is brilliant. Remember he is only 4! I am going to frame it as I love the abstract lines and colours.

Another top tip to help children grow in confidence with drawing and painting is to hold the pencil or paint brush with them. I asked Jake what did he want to paint and then helped him to create the outside shape of the animals below whilst he held the paint brush. This helps your child to develop their hand to eye coordination and also then allows them to colour in the shape or paint around it feeling proud that have completed a recognisable picture. If you have younger children then you can still do the same but for younger children just holding a pencil or paintbrush is a challenge and allowing them to be free with their marks is really important for their development so don’t worry if the outcome is not the one you had in your head.