Arty things to do at home

Family-focused art-based activities to do during lockdown and beyond.

Written by Stefanie Trow

So we’re ten weeks into lockdown, and I think it’s safe to say that patience might be wearing thin. However crafting and creating remains in full bloom in our house and I am pretty confident in saying we’ve all probably allowed our creative juices to flow over the last ten weeks: my mother who is self-isolating has done every bit of cleaning and decorating possible; my brother has turned his hand to gardening (unheard of) building planters; and me, looking after two kids under 5, we have squeezed every inch of crafting life out of any cardboard that has entered our home. So now what??? Running out of ideas? Bored? There’s light at the end of the tunnel but realistically, there’s still some time before full normality is resumed, so grab those paints that have been gathering dust, or your shaving foam (all will be revealed) and get creating and keep sane-ish! Here’s a list of some activities I’ve done or yet to do whilst in lockdown, for kids and adults.

Tate Kids

A great part of the Tate site, with lots of creative ideas to do with kids, mostly from 3-11 year olds. My little girl and I particular loved making a marble picture using shaving foam and paint. Check it out: but warning, it can be messy – probably why she loved it so much.

Tate Kids

Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook Group

My wife joined this group at the beginning of lockdown, mainly due to the fear of keeping two kids entertained in the house all day. The group started off with a few thousand followers and now has 1.1m members – in all honesty it has been a godsend. Each evening I go through the group, checking out everyone’s ideas, and screen-shotting any ones I think my kids would like. The ideas are endless. We’ve made paper hugs to post to family members, re-usable make up boards and there is currently a pallet bar being built in our garden.

Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas

Make and Wonder

‘Make and Wonder’ is a fabulous Manchester independent company ran by a lovely Mama Art Teacher. Ordinarily they run kid art clubs (when not in lockdown) and sell monthly art boxes for kids that feature and revolve around a creative female role model each month and include 4 fun art ideas inside with all materials you will need. My little girl loves them. They’re fun and educational and the stress of thinking about what you’re going to do or need is taken away from you, which at this moment in time, sounds like bliss.

Make + Wonder

Isolation Art School

This is an Instagram account that runs projects, lessons and tips by artists to help people get creative whilst housebound during the pandemic. It includes some of the best artists working right now, sharing how they work or ‘how to’ videos for adults and children. Most videos are about 5 minutes long, and most of the equipment needed is something you already will have in your house, which again is great during lockdown when art supplies can be tricky to get your hands on. Also if you follow the #isolationartschool you can see a wider choice of artists sharing “how to” videos.

Isolation Art School


I first got into skillshare a few years ago when I noticed one of my favourite Illustrators Yuko Shimizu was teaching pen and ink classes on there (which I can recommend). So what is it? It’s an online platform (or you can get the app), which hosts an abundance of creative classes ran by a wide range of professionals. You can sign up for one month free and after that it’s £7 and you can cancel whenever you want. You can find classes for almost anything: watercolour, painting, Photoshop, digital drawing etc.…you name it!


Grayson Art Club

Love him or loath him (I personally love him), Grayson Perry is running his very own art club, every Monday at 8pm on channel 4. He’s encouraging the nation to unleash their collective creativity and unite us all through art, as we live through this unique time. Each episode is themed with something inspired by isolation, recently he celebrated all things British, from the clap for our carers to our national spirit. It’s entertaining and inspiring, for young and old. You’re even encouraged to share the work you create with Grayson, who might pick you to be included in a final exhibition after lockdown. What have you got to lose?

Grayson’s Art Club – Channel 4

Life Drawing Plus

Can’t stand Grayson? No worries! Why not try your hand at Life Drawing lessons instead? We love to celebrate all things Manchester and these life-drawing sessions have been run for a number of years now in Manchester by Artist and facilitator Agata. She’s very passionate about what she does and every life drawing class I’ve been to have been ran very professionally and each session is different from the next with models ranging from ballerinas, saxophone players to contortionist. Due to lockdown the physical classes are no longer running but are now powering ahead online via Zoom. Every Tuesday, 7.30-9.30pm, £6. Last Sunday of the month they are starting up longer pose sessions too.

Life Drawing Plus

Northern Realists

Another gem on the Manchester art scene, “Northern Realist” drawing and painting workshops run by Chris Clements, teacher and Artist, who trained at the Angel Academy of Florence. If you’re wanting to get into realist painting and drawing this would be a great starting point or if you are more experienced I’d say there still a lot to be learnt here. Chris has vast experience and has been imparting his knowledge of realist drawing and painting since 2013, with huge success and passion. Due to the current situation Chris has been running his courses online, namely “Warm and cool skin tones” and “Limited palette colour mixing”, 2 x ½ hour classes for £29. For future dates and more information check out their webiste below.

Northern Realist


I haven’t personally done the following classes but noticed them online, and all are run by reputable Artists, which I can only presume would be good and therefore I wanted to share;

Alyssa Monk, Oil Painting Weekly Live Webinars, Each Tuesday at 6pm via Zoom.

Emily Ball, Floribunda 4 day Painting Course, (I had a friend just complete this course and said it was fantastic and Emily was a great teacher), A 2nd course date is about to be announced, so watch this space.

Our guest blogger is Stefanie Trow. Stef is a contemporary artist based in Manchester who is currently on maternity leave. Stef has exhibited with Albemarle in London & Comme Ca Art in Manchester. Find out more on her Instagram @stef_trow_art and her website.

Read Stef’s previous articles Love is a Rebellious Bird, Chinternet Ugly and Thread Bearing Witness.

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