‘Art Out of the Box,’ concept from Nicky Hoberman, illustrated by Hiromi Suzuki & ‘Matisse’s Magical Trail,’ by Tim Hopgood, illustrated by Sam Boughton.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, Book Boy Jr. decided that he was feeling creative so I whipped out my box of ‘Art Out of the Box’ activity cards to test out.  Although I sometimes find doing art at home (and in school) a little stressful, I know that it’s brilliant for developing motor skills, expressing yourself and encouraging mindfulness. So with that in mind, I got out the felt-tips and paint, and got stuck in!


The book contains two stacks of cards – one set of techniques, and one set of subjects. You select one card from each set, then you’re ready to go. Both Book Boy and Book Boy Jr. were very keen to get creating, so we tried out several of the activities. Please enjoy our gallery of excellence!

Most of these activities require noting more than a piece of paper and a pencil, but there are others which call for paint or tissue paper. The standout favourite activity was creating the paint splodge bugs. I had an army of them drying around my house! 

With 80 cards to pick from, there are enough activities to keep budding Van Goghs going for weeks! As a parent, these will be an excellent distraction to pull out on a dull, rainy day. As a teacher, they’d be brilliant to laminate and put at a mark-marking or role play station. Older pupils will love them too (Book Boy is almost eleven.) Maybe as a class reward or 5-minute time-filler?

However you plan to us them, they’re perfect for entertaining children and encouraging them to explore their creative sides.

As we had been inspired whilst creating our masterpieces, we decided to enjoy a story on an artistic theme:


Matisse is a snail who is scared of the big, noisy, foot-stomping world around him. It’s at night, when the streets are quiet and safe, that Matisse ventures out of his shell to do what he loves best – drawing! But his drawings are too small for most people to notice. Where could he draw that his artworks would be seen and appreciated…?

A really inspiring story about the power of art to spread joy and bring people together, about embracing your talents and being just that little bit bolder.  It would also be a fantastic book to kick off a school art project.

Well if this blog post hasn’t inspired you to put on your apron dig out your paints, nothing will! I’d love to hear if you try any of the ideas on the activity cards.

Library Girl.

*Huge thanks to Laurence King Publishing and OUP for sending me these titles to review*

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