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Study Art & Design in Key Stage 1

Julie St Clair Hoare By Julie St Clair Hoare

Get creative with Hamilton's hands-on art and design topic sessions for key stage 1.

The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.

Cross-curricular topics are a fantastic way to cover the art and design curriculum, allowing children to engage creatively with different areas of the curriculum at the same time. Music can complement painting. History can be enhanced by model making. Sculpture can elaborate geographical concepts.

Here are a few of our favourite art and design opportunities in KS1 topics:

Art and Design in Year 1 and Year 2

Our Carnival of the Animals topic is organised around the popular work of composer Saint-Saëns. Each block focuses on a different area, including, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and fossils around the world. Within each block there are plenty of brilliant art and design opportunities, including:

  • Mammals - Produce a piece of art work in the style of Aboriginal Art to go in an Art Gallery for visitors to the Safari Park.
  • British Birds - Examine the work of the artist Claude Monet and use some of his techniques as a source of inspiration for their own artwork.
  • Exotic Birds - Be inspired by the work of Gaudi, learn about Art Nouveau and develop artistic skills by making mosaic art.
  • Fish - Create large fish stick puppets, props and back drop.

Explore Carnival of the Animals for KS1.


Changes within Living Memory gets children to explore the ways in which life has changed over the time of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The topic provides plenty of opportunity to engage with art and design, including:

  • A Day in the Life - Study clothes and hairstyles over the last fifty years and then paint a portrait of a relation.
  • Transport - Create artwork using printing with toy vehicles. Recognise the name Jackson Pollock as a famous artist.
  • Toys and Books - Look at paintings of toys, old and new. Study different art techniques and create toy paintings. Explore the illustrations in children’s books and how these have changed in style and content over the last 50 years. Replicate the style of a current illustrator.
  • Music - Listen to music from the 60s and 70s and then create posters in the style of the times.

Explore Changes within Living Memory for KS1.


Using our exciting Oceans and Seas topic children build their knowledge of oceans and seas around the world. There are lots of opportunities to use art and design to enhance and reflect pupils understanding of the qualities and life of the seas.

  • Oceans and Seas of the World - Explore the the stormy seascapes of J. M. W. Turner, and then use a variety of techniques (including using salt, blotting and colour mixing) to create textured watercolour paintings.
  • Atlantic Underwater World - Create a sculpture of the marine life found in the Atlantic Ocean and recognise the difference between two- and three-dimensional shapes and art works.
  • Pacific Underwater World - Use colour-wash and 3D sculpture techniques to create a Great Barrier Reef display. Experiment with different types of sculpture using a variety of media and understand how to change colour to a different tone.
  • Boats and Ships - Sketch boats for a timeline and use watercolours to paint a picture of a ship with a specific purpose.

Explore Oceans and Seas for KS1.


In the popular Castles block of our We Are Britain topic, children discover the castles around the British Isles. Capture the range of castle architecture using different art and craft techniques. Examine the painting Castle and the Sun by Paul Klee and compare the image to real castles in the UK and then recreate the image using crayons and watercolours.

Explore We Are Britain - Castles for KS1.


In our block about St Paul's Cathedral in the Great Fire of London topic charcoal drawing and potato printing are used to develop artistic ideas inspired by St Paul’s. Children also have the opportunity to design, make and decorate a model Cathedral.

Explore Great Fire of London - St Paul's Cathedral for KS1.

Our Artists block in Famous for More than Five Minutes is dedicated to learning about the life, times and paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and L.S. Lowry. Children learn about the nineteenth-century Van Gogh and the twentieth-century Lowry, discuss their art and then create their own paintings 'in the style of...'.

Explore Famous for More than Five Minutes - Artists for KS1.