London is home to some of the world’s greatest galleries, where you can see everything from a Picasso portrait to Degas’s dancers. But no masterpiece can beat a painting carefully crafted by your own child. Whether you want to nurture a naturally artistic eye or introduce them to the wonderful ways they can express themselves, here are the city’s best classes, from babies through to teens...
Start them young at these hour-long baby-and-parents sessions at Dulwich Picture Gallery (costing £12), which begin with a relaxed viewing of the gallery’s impressive collection. Once inspired, you roll up your sleeves and help your child paint their own masterpiece based on that month’s theme. Suitable for babies from sitting stage to age two. Sessions are twice monthly, 10am and 11.15am.
Chocolate decorating, Manga art and photography are among the experimental activities offered to families at these free and themed monthly drop-in sessions. The gallery also hosts free and ticketed events throughout the summer holidays, and you can pick up drawing resources every weekend and school holiday weekdays to practice at your own pace. Activities take place on the third Sunday of each month, 1.30pm for age 3-plus, 3pm for age 7-plus.
The museum’s latest exhibitions inspire these free and informal family sessions on the last Sunday of each month (11am-4pm), which focus on light-touch design and making activities for five to 11-year-olds. During August 2017, daily paper craft activities around the vibrant ‘California: Designing Freedom’ show will be on offer too. Just drop-in to the Common Room to join in.
The work of famous artists is the focus of this lovely art school, which hosts everything from free-roam sessions for toddlers to fine arts classes for eight to 11-year-olds. There are fun summer workshops too, such as sculpting your Minion, how to draw cats and dogs, and Japanese Day. Sessions take place daily at 8 Station Terrace, NW10 5RT, at various times.
The Crafty Bunch
Expect lashings of glitter and glue at these old-school craft classes for two to five-year-olds, run by a professional nanny. Taking place at various locations in West London, there are weekly classes or summer workshops that incorporate cooking skills too. Our pick are the crafty lunch sessions on weekends, where the kids get creative while parents have a rare, peaceful meal. Various days and times.
Blackheath’s historic cultural complex The Conservatoire hosts these weekly sessions for babies through to four years, which explore termly themes like artists inspired by music, or legends and myths, as well as seasonal festivals. Parents can buy a special sketchbook to keep a record of their child’s creative progress throughout the term too. Sessions take place Monday-Friday, various times.
Exploring the myriad of mediums available to budding artists is at the heart of these after-school clubs for six to 11-year-olds in Stoke Newington (The Old Fire Station, N16 7NX) and Dulwich (Francis Peek Centre, SE21 7BQ). There are a host of summer short courses to choose from too, focusing on topics like David Hockney and pop-up books. Classes take place on Wednesdays, 4-5pm, in term time.
Visual artist and mental health advocate Liz, from Forest Hill’s Havelock Walk, leads lively classes for a mix of ages at nearby V22 Louise House, along with the Arts Depot in Finchley. Her signature style is charcoal but term-time courses builds your child’s basic art skills while exploring different techniques. Various days and times.
Pint-sized potters will learn basic clay techniques and make their own bowls and ceramic tiles in these six-week courses at a Muswell Hill studio and café. Under-sevens need to be accompanied by an adult. The studio also runs summer workshops and mixed medium sketching classes for children aged seven-plus. Courses take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4pm-5.30pm.
Mixed media artist Izzy Moreau offers a range of after school, weekend and holiday clubs for five to 12-year-olds wanting to pursue their passion for art. Her fun sessions incorporate classic drawing, painting and 3D techniques, with a bit of art history thrown in. Taster classes and family workshops also available. Various days and times.
These nurturing classes for the smallest of artists incorporate messy play, crafts and singing, centred on a project. There are a variety of age-appropriate term-time sessions for children of 16 months old through to five years, with holiday schools for older kids also available. Termly fee and booking required. Various dates and times
This after-school club in Clapton is a mecca for messy play. Its weekly sessions give imaginative five to 11-year-olds the chance to master traditional skills like sketching and painting, as well as recycling discarded materials into amazing art works. Termly fee and booking required. Also offers a school collection service and summer schools.
When: Mondays and Thursdays in term time, 4pm-5.45pm.
This creative hub has classes that combine a range of art techniques and materials to expand your child’s imagination, whether they’re four or 14. The termly courses are reasonably priced too, and participants in the MakeArt groups get to show their work in a professional standard exhibition. Clay sessions also available. Various days and times.
W4 Art Club
Oxfam chic and wellies is the recommended dresscode for the Artabugs preschooler sessions, where paint flies a la Jackson Pollock – much mess is made and lots of fun had. This Chiswick-based art school (58 Harvard Road, W4 4ED) also offers after-school and weekend drawing clubs in aged groups, from four to 14 years. Various dates and times.