Under 5s Challenges

Fun activities for under 5s using themes from our museum collections

Try at home

Stuck for ideas to keep your kids entertained at home? Have a go at some of these fun activities based on the collections at our museums.

Tiny Challenges

Activities inspired by the Tiny Treasures sessions at Treasure House

Animals

We have lots of paintings of animals in Beverley Art Gallery.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of animals.

  • Music and Singing: Sing Old MacDonald's Farm. How many animals do you know?
  • Craft: Draw your favourite animal. Colour it in, cut it out and hang it in the window to cheer up people walking past!
  • Role play: Pretend to be an animal. Move the way it moves, and make the same noises it makes. Now try a different animal! How many can you do?

The world's largest cattle painting, 'A Panic' by HWB Davis.

A coin from a Celtic gold hoard belonging to the Corieltauvi tribe (dated approx. c50BC)

Archaeology

We have some very interesting archaeological finds in the East Riding Museums collection, including some Iron Age swords found at South Cave, and Celtic coins from a hoard of gold found near Beverley.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of archaeology.

  • Craft: Make your own swords and shields from paper, cardboard, foil, and anything else you have lying around.
  • Sensory: Find some shiny things in your house. Babies can enjoy looking at them and experimenting with the noises they make when banged together. Toddlers and pre-schoolers might enjoy organising them from biggest to smallest or making shapes with them.
  • Messy Play: If you have a garden, find a spot to do some digging. What can you find? If you don't have a garden, how about hiding some coins around the house and having a Treasure Hunt! (Please clean the coins first to stay safe)

Building

In our collection there is a set of brickmaking tools and some Dutch bricks.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of building.

  • Craft: Draw a picture of your house and your family. Colour it in, or stick on different coloured paper, card and fabrics.
  • Sensory: Can you build a tower or a wall out of ice cubes?
  • Role Play: Use different materials from around your house to make a big den. You could use cardboard boxes, cushions, blankets, tables, or anything else you can think of! How big can you make your den?

Three hand made Dutch bricks, used for ballast and imported along the east coast in the 17th century.

Three maids in the kitchen of the Beverley Arms Hotel. By 'Elwell, Frederick William'

Cooking

We have Roman pottery in our museum collection and lots of paintings featuring kitchens in the Beverley Art Gallery collection.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of cooking.

  • Music and singing: Pull some pots, pans, wooden spoons and spatulas out of the cupboards and make your own orchestra!
  • Sensory: Enjoy exploring different types of fruit and vegetables. Cut them up and put them in a mixing bowl or washing up bowl to investigate touch, taste and smell.
  • Messy Play: Use mashed potato or cornflour mixed with water to get messy! Add food colouring and see what happens. Use herbs and spices for added texture or spoons and spatulas to manipulate the mess!

Fossils

There are some fossils in our museum collection, including ammonites, which lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of fossils.

  • Craft: Make a dinosaur picture! What's your favourite dinosaur? What sound does it make?
  • Role Play: Pretend to be an ammonite living at the bottom of the sea. Think about what it might see, what it might do, what noise it might make, and how it might move.
  • Messy Play: Cut out some 'dinosaur footprints' from potatoes or sponges. Get out your paints and make tracks! Can you also make a swirly ammonite shell?

An ammonite fossil

'Springtime in Picardy', painted by David Murray.

Line and Texture

Artists use line and texture to make great paintings and drawings. We have lots of artworks in the Beverley Art Gallery collection, including 'Springtime in Picardy', painted by David Murray.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of line and texture.

  • Craft: Experiment with crayons, pens and pencils. What different lines can you draw? Try straight ones, wiggly ones and zig-zags. Can you stick some wool or string on your picture to give it extra texture?
  • Sensory: Find things from around the house that have different textures - wool, fabric, brushes, balls, shells... and enjoy exploring the differences between them.
  • Messy Play: Go wild with different textures! How about mixing flour and paint together, comparing cooked and uncooked spaghetti, or making prints using shells, sticks and leaves.

People

There are lots of paintings in Beverley Art Gallery that show people, including Fred Elwell's painting of Canon Fisher and his wife.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of people.

  • Music and Singing: Sing 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes', with the actions. How fast can you go?
  • Role Play: Dress up like your mum, dad, grandparents, favourite super hero or a character from a book. Walk, talk and act like they do. Think about what job they do and what they do for fun.
  • Messy Play: Use paints to make hand and foot prints. How big are your hands and feet compared to everyone else in your family?

Fred Elwell's painting of Canon Fisher and his wife.

An old ice cream scoop.

Seaside

One of our displays in the Treasure House Museum is a collection of objects found on the beach, including an old ice cream scoop.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of the seaside.

  • Music and singing: Sing '1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught A Fish Alive'. What other songs do you know about fish and other animals you might find in the sea or on the beach?
  • Role Play: Imagine you're going to the seaside. What do you need to take with you? What do you wear on the beach? Dress up, pack your bag and pretend you're there. Remember to take a towel!
  • Messy Play: Have fun with water! Add bubbles or blue food colouring and play with bath toys, sponges, shells and pebbles.

Shape and Colour

Artists use shape and colour to make great paintings and drawings. We have lots of artworks in Beverley Art Gallery, including J. Skinner's painting of Wilson Hill Farm in Skidby.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of shape and colour.

  • Music and Singing: 'Ten Green Bottles'. Have another go with a different colour! How many colours can you sing about?
  • Craft: Make a colourful collage using paper, card, tissue paper, sweet wrappers and anything else you have at home. Stick it in the window to cheer up people walking past.
  • Sensory: Find things around the house that are different shapes and different colours. Which is the biggest object? Which is the smallest? Which is your favourite?

J. Skinner's painting of Wilson Hill Farm in Skidby.

Boats, Windmills and Beverley Town

Activities inspired by Goole Museum, Skidby Mill and Beverley Guildhall

Reuben Chappell painting of 'The Ethel', a sloop (small, traditional Humber sailing vessel)

Boats (Goole Museum)

There is lots of information in Goole Museum about boats and the history of Goole as a port town.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of boats.

  • Music and singing: Sing 'Row, Row, Row your Boat' with the actions. Don't forget the second verse: "Rock, rock, rock your boat, splashing down the stream. If you see a crocodile, don't forget to scream!"
  • Craft: Use old containers, cardboard, plastic and sellotape or glue to make yourself a junk model boat. Test to see if it floats!
  • Role Play: Make yourself a boat on the floor from cushions or anything else you like. Play inside your boat. Does it have sails or an engine? Where will you go? What can you see on your journey?
  • Sensory: Find some rope, wool, fabric, shells, wooden toys and pebbles. Enjoy exploring the different textures you might find on a boat. Can you hear the sea in a shell? What do the objects smell like?
  • Messy Play: Grab some water, ice cubes, and crushed ice. Pop them in a washing up bowl, add blue food colouring or jelly and get messy!

Windmills (Skidby Mill)

The original mill on this site was built in 1764, and it was used to make flour and then animal feed!

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of windmills.

  • Music and singing: Sing 'Windmill in Old Amsterdam'. Have you ever hunted for the mice at Skidby Mill? Were they ever hiding on the stairs?
  • Craft: Make or draw a windmill. Use your favourite colours to decorate it.
  • Role Play: Build your own giant windmill to play in, or use bricks to make one for a teddy bear or a doll. What do you think it would be like to live in a windmill?
  • Sensory: Explore the textures of bread, biscuits, oats or cereal. What is your favourite to touch, smell or eat? What noises do they make when you squash them?
  • Messy Play: Mix together some flour and milk for gloopy fun! Add raisins or other dried fruit to provide more texture.

Model of Skidby Mill, made by Peter Johnson and donated to us in 2017 by his daughter

Photograph of a bus in North Bar - specially designed with a pointy roof to fit through!

Beverley Town (Beverley Guildhall)

Beverley Guildhall contains all sorts of information about the town of Beverley and its surrounding villages.

Here are some fun things to do at home with your under 5s, on the theme of Beverley town.

  • Music and singing: Sing 'The Wheels on the Bus'. How many different verses can you think of?
  • Craft: Draw a map of where you live. This could be your house, your street, your town or village, the East Riding of Yorkshire, the UK, or the world! What are your favourite things about where you live?
  • Role Play: Think about someone you usually see, at school, at nursery, or just when you're walking in Beverley. It might be a teacher, a postman, or someone else. Pretend to be them, and do the jobs they do.
  • Sensory: Find some different types of keys in your house. Compare their shapes and textures. Do they open different locks? Babies can enjoy exploring play keys or listen to and watch an adult rattling metal keys.
  • Messy Play: Crack out the paints and make a painting of your favourite spot in Beverley! How big is it? What colours is it? Is it a building or an open space?

Active East Riding

Looking for something interesting to do during the coming weeks and months when many of our facilities may be closed? Active East Riding has lots of ideas for children and adults - discover things you can do, learn from, and take part in whilst at home.

Visit Active East Riding
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