COVID-19 kids gig guide

10 April 2020

Rosalind Appleby discovers there are still plenty of opportunities for kids to experience the arts this holidays, thanks to the resilience and adaptability of West Australian artists.

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It’s going to be a school holiday like never before! The hunt is on, not just for Easter eggs but for activities children can do in isolation. Many arts organisations are still reeling from the closure of venues and cancellation of events – in some cases the future of these organisations is at stake. Yet already different groups are finding ways to continue to reach out via online platforms.

Awesome Arts is hosting a Digital Art Club during the holidays. They will share a daily arts activity at 9am to get the whole family creating, with the option of sharing the art work in an online exhibition. Follow all the action at Awesome Arts.

The people behind the wonderful Spare Parts Puppet Theatre have created brilliant videos on how to make your own puppets from items you have in your home. Head to their Facebook page for the creative tutorials on puppet making, origami and more.

“At Home With Puppets part 4”, a video from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

Many of our talented West Australian creators of children’s books have risen to the call for help from teachers and parents during the COVID-19 crisis by creating online material that will entertain, instruct, and inspire children and young people. Some are reading their books and discussing them. Some have created mini-lessons on art or history or craft projects. The website is being updated regularly so keep checking in.

Speaking of books, the beloved children’s bookstore Paper Bird Books are putting virtual book launches and more on their Facebook page. You can even get your books delivered by bird, if you live locally! Their youtube channel “Home Club” hub is has daily new videos from children’s authors and illustrators.

Some local libraries are also delivering books, such as Mundaring Library which has a click and collect option. And don’t forget the audio book options from the State Library of WA.

CirQuest have launched online 6 week classes, starting Easter Monday. The kids’ classes are all in a pre-recorded video format, sent via email, so that you can choose when and how you want to engage with them.  The classes include circus play classes for toddlers, Acro for 9-12 year olds and teenage/adult classes, so there are options for everyone!

Port Hedland maker Amy Morton is running polymer clay workshops. Taking inspiration from Dorothy Forrest and Annette Lormada’s bright and bold coloured paintings of river creatures’, Amy will guide you virtually to create your very own river creatures mini wall hanging using polymer clay. This workshop will be delivered through an online video tutorial so that you can watch, learn and create from home, at your own pace.

Learn to Weave kit from Tjanpi Desert Weavers

North Midlands Project have compiled an enormous list of arts activities for children, including online jigsaws, draw along classes and face painting. You can even order a weaving kit and participate in an online Learn to Weave tutorial with Tjanpi weaver Loria Heffernan! 

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image have released a series of online workshops for parents and teachers covering animation, storyboards, game reviewing and various filmmaker tools.

Perth Academy for Performing Arts has put their school holiday acting workshops online. There are acting classes for ages 7 – 14.

The Art Gallery of WA are creating online materials for families at home, such as a work book with audio samples as part of their Conversations with Rain exhibition. Print out copies of the journal, listen to the sound files provided and follow the prompts. This is an opportunity for children to explore creative relations with the weather as a way of potentially transforming our climate futures.

As a final note, remember how important play is, especially in emotionally loaded times like these. Don’t worry too much about coming up with endless ideas. Children process change and stress through play. Let’s give them creative space to do just that.

Picture top: Author James Foley in the Paper Bird studio with Jennifer Jackson filming. Photo by Matty Mitchell.

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She was co-managing editor and founding board member of Seesaw Magazine 2018 – 2023, is author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine (UK). She loves park percussion instruments.

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