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Expressive arts and design in the EYFS

Getting creative with children in your childcare setting is a whole load of fun! Read on for tips and easy activity ideas you can try with the children in your care.

Expressive arts and design and the EYFS

Expressive arts and design is one of the four specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Each specific area is divided into early learning goals, for expressive arts and design these are:

  • Exploring and using media and materials - children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
  • Being imaginative - children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through Best practice and activity ideas.

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Best practice and activities

If you're looking for inspiration or ideas to try, watch the film below to see what happened when St Michael's Community Nursery in Mickleham held a box day and ran a session in a big empty hall with just a few resources.

Download an Early Years Creative Toolkit from the SPEAR website with step by step instructions for nine activities to try in your own setting. There are ideas for singing, visual arts and storytelling - all from local artists!

And read interviews with the artists and the childcare professionals (PDF) who ran creative sessions with children in their settings. There are activity ideas for you to try too.

The interviews, film and Creative Toolkit are from the Creative Shoots project Surrey Family Services Supporting Children Team and Arts Partnership Surrey ran to support children to be creative thinkers. The project involved three local artists and three childcare settings, Hambledon Nursery in Waverley, Peter Pan Nursery School in Woking and St Michael's Community Nursery in Mickleham.

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Contact us

If you'd like more advice or support, contact your Early Education and Childcare Advisor. If you're unsure who this is contact your relevant area advisory team:

  • North east:
  • North west:
  • South east:
  • South west: