Tiny 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.

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.

Explore From Home

Whilst our libraries, museums and archvies are shut, we have decided to make much more of our content available online. From fun activities you can try at home to brand new exhibits, check out our LMA website as we add new content weekly!

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