Doodling with Stuff

Paula Briggs shows how to create a safe environment for pupils to explore a range of materials to manipulate and transform.

By Paula Briggs

This resource shares the Week One session at Jeavons Wood Primary School in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, in which I’ll be working with a year 5 pupil (Lily-Rani) and a year 4 pupil (Daniel) for one hour once a week. Through regular sessions, and in collaboration with the school, the aim is to:

  • Provide the opportunity for the children to develop their hands-on making and visual arts skills through regular contact and small group work;
  • Help build confidence in the children in all areas of their school life, including academic, social, creative and practical skills, and so demonstrate the importance of hands-on creative exploration;
  • Inspire visual arts projects amongst other pupils and staff in the school by sharing outcomes.

Practising using pliers and wire


Week One – Doodling with Stuff

In this hour long session I wanted to give myself, Lily-Rani and Daniel the opportunity to get to know each other a little, and to create an environment in which, from the start, they felt able to direct their own learning and feel comfortable in their own exploration.

The idea behind the session was simple: I provided a range of materials which they would be able to manipulate and transform. My intention was that I gave very little guidance as to what they might make, or how they might do it – instead I wanted the children to experience how ideas start to flow once the hands are occupied. The session is nothing more than a starting point from which we can build over the coming weeks.

It was important to me that they children were given the space (not just physical space, but also time, and lack of directive) to find their own way.

We began with a few demonstrations to make sure the children knew how to use the tools I had provided (pliers for cutting and bending, hacksaw and table bench, and glue gun), and were aware of safety considerations.

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