Our Summer Arts Boredom Busters are here to help you and your family get creative, have fun, and make the most of the summer holidays.
Although this summer will be very different for most of us, there are still plenty of free, engaging, and fun things you can do together as a family that will make you smile. Each week in the summer holidays we’ll be sharing a round up of some of our favourite arts and culture activities to help keep you and the kids entertained.
This week, we invite you to go wild with a range of exciting resources that encourage you to get closer to nature, explore your animal instincts and care for the planet. We’ve suggested a path you might like to follow below, or you can download all of this week’s activities as a PDF resource:
Begin the week by letting your imagination take flight with Poetry Society’s Poetry and Nature resources. A good place to start could be William Wordsworth’s famous poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’. Recalling both the beauty of nature and the importance of nature as inspiration for creativity, Wordsworth notes that, from the comfort of his couch, his mind wanders back to nature and his imagination allows him to feel and explore his experiences of the natural world. What aspects of nature can you experience from your home?
Take part in some of the creative ideas suggested by the Poetry Society and start to collect the words and sounds that take you back to nature. If pastoral poetry isn’t your bag, check out Michael Rosen reading his poem Seagulls, which instead describes nature in the city.
Once you’ve finished writing your nature-based masterpiece, take a break and enjoy Little Angel Theatre’s online performance of What Does An Anteater Eat?. Director, designer, and puppeteer Toby Olié created and performed the play entirely from his home during the lockdown. Why not follow his lead and have a go at making your own animal puppets?
For some inspiration, head out on a visit to the Virtual London Zoo, where you can see live streams of zoo animals and hear the stories of the zookeepers who work with them. Pay close attention to how the real animals move. How could you bring the movements to life using your own puppets? Take the adorable Elio the baby sloth, for example. Can you make your own sloth puppet move slowly and sleepily the way Elio does?
Next, turn your attention to the outside and explore the habitats we share with animals. The Horniman Museum have put together a tutorial for making your own Nature Notebook, which includes lots of inventive ways to help clean up your local area and turn trash into treasure! Find out more about the impact rubbish has on our environment, and use the prompts to think of ways you can positively impact the nature in your community.
End your week with Friday Frog Live – a live stream from the people who look after the Manchester Museum’s collection of reptiles and amphibians. They have frogs from all over the world, including lots of exotic places like Costa Rica. Take note of how the zookeepers have recreated the frog’s natural habitats in the vivarium – what would you need to make a frog feel at home where you live? If you have any questions for the zookeepers you can submit them online here.
At the end of the week you should have lots of words, poems, puppets, and objects exploring nature, animals, and the environment. Think about how you can bring all your creative ideas together. Perhaps you could create a story about the natural world, or use your puppets to create a show?
Want to go further?
- Use the toolkit from Spark Arts to explore nature further
- Follow our photography tutorial to capture photos from your favourite animal’s point of view
- If you are looking for something you can really dive into, The Yard theatre is hosting For You, From Me – a free online programme that runs from August 5-26. The programme is suitable for a range of ages and will help participants take part in theatre-making and performance from home!
- To browse more resources, programmes and events, check out our LookUp platform and the GLA's London Learning at Home site
Share your creations
Have you become one with nature and discovered your true animal instincts? After a busy week of boredom busting, be sure to share your creations on social media with the hashtag #SummerArtsBoredomBusters and tag @A_New_Direction (Twitter) | @anewdirection_ldn (Instagram)