Free Activities from Nottingham's Galleries and Museums

Words: Laura-Jade Vaughan
Sunday 12 April 2020
reading time: min, words

The closure of Nottingham’s galleries and museums has left a culture-shaped hole in all of our lives. Luckily, there are some fantastic creative organisations in the city that have developed an innovative range of free activities that you can try at home. There’s plenty to stimulate the curiosity and imagination of young and old alike – perfect for any budding scientists, artists, writers or performers.


Ignite Futures
For children fascinated by the curious world around us, Ignite offers a great range of science activities including a back garden scavenger hunt, creating cabinets of curiosity, and science-based magic tricks which question how our brain perceives the world. One experiment, which spans over several weeks, involves cultivating mushrooms to create intricate architectural models. There’s something for everyone – from toddlers to grown-ups – and the activities come as easily printable worksheets.

National Justice Museum
Parents: be prepared to see your faces on ‘Wanted’ posters pinned around your house thanks to the National Justice Museum’s activities. There are also quizzes, role-play activities, and crimes to solve. Depending on your child’s world view, you can learn about being law-abiding, consider how you’d change the justice system or plan your own protest.

New Art Exchange
New Art Exchange has come up with a clever way to repurpose envelopes into a really unique sketchbook. By making use of the envelope windows, you can peek through the window of a castle, look at the sea life in a fish tank, see how many clowns will fit in a clown car – or wherever your kid’s imagination takes you...

Nonsuch Studios
Nonsuch has set themselves an ambitious task: twelve weeks of daily creative challenges, with one set for kids, and one set for grown-ups. With a total of… *does the maths*... 168 activities sent by email, you’ll have plenty to keep you and the family occupied. The coffee float recipe looks divine (don’t worry – that’s one for the adults!).

Nottingham Castle
To any heritage nerd, finding a plaque can be a special moment where your surroundings become infused with the romance of a bygone era, and you suddenly feel connected to someone or something unexpected. Nottingham Castle has “researched” the lives of Robin Hood and his friends, so families can have a go at making their own plaques. Plus, if you share it with #NottmHeritageHunters there’s a special prize up for grabs...

Nottingham Contemporary
Nottingham Contemporary has come up with some really imaginative art activities, including creating cardboard sculptures, drawing challenges determined by the roll of a dice, and using family members' clothes to create a crowd of dancing people. A drawing activity, for children and adults alike, invites you to draw the view from your window, while experimenting with the techniques of one of their exhibiting artists. They are creating new activities each week, so keep an eye on their website.

Nottingham Playhouse
The digital content produced for Nottingham Playhouse really is for all ages. The whole family can learn to sing together with a video from their choir conductor: warm-up with fun vocal exercises, and then sing ‘Bring me Sunshine’ with piano accompaniment – an uplifting and soothing song for these troubling times. Also, be sure to watch a performance of a musical number from Sweet Charity. Beautifully shot with excellent audio quality, it captures the joy-inducing, skin-tingling magic of the theatre, from home.

Read On Nottingham
The National Literacy Trust has a huge number of creative resources available. There’s plenty of activities linked to beloved CBeebies characters, and you’ll find visually exciting worksheets including colouring-in, creating your own newspaper, or an activity helping your little one begin dreaming about their ideal job for when they’re all grown-up. There are also videos, allowing you to draw along with a professional illustrator, or hear a story read aloud by the author.

Nottingham Forest
As well as offering staff with teaching qualifications to deliver classroom support and PE activities to schools that are remaining open for children of key workers, Forest have provided a wide range of online teaching materials to allow young people to continue learning, including football challenges for families to take part in from the safety of their own homes.

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