Tag Archive: Spring Thing

  1. Air Drying Clay Crafts – Bee Pot

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    If you have never used Air Drying Clay before this is the perfect chance! It is a great material to create 2D and 3D artworks from beads to games, we love using air drying clay with all age groups.

    Watch our wonderful video and follow our instructions to help you make a number of beautiful artworks.

    We recommend you wear old clothes when doing this activity and you may need an adult to help.

    You will need:

    – Packet of Air Drying Clay
    – A mixture of old materials, zips, forks, knives, leaves, twigs etc.
    – Old fabric or a piece of grease proof paper
    – A piece of tape
    – PVA glue
    – Old Clothes
    – Something to wipe and clean your hands with once you have finished


    1. Make sure your area is clean to work in, put your old clothes on and place the piece of fabric on your work surface.

    2. Collect your tools together and open your clay. You may need scissors to open your packet.

    3. Split your clay in half and put one half back into the packet, this will keep it fresh.
      In your hands roll the clay to form a ball.

    4. Pinch a chunk of clay from your big ball and place it to one side. This will be your bee so make sure there is enough to model from.
    5. With your larger ball use something to roll it into a flat pancake shape. This can be as big or small as you like. You can use a rolling pin, bottle, pen/pencil or a glass to roll.

      Remember the larger you roll it out the thinner and more delicate the clay will get.

    6. Use different materials to make imprints into the clay, this could be natural items like leaves, twigs and flowers or items you have at home.

    7. Using your fingers gently press and pinch the clay around the edges to make a rim around the dish.

    8. Now move on to your extra piece of clay, roll it into a ball and tear two pieces off – this will be for your head, wings and eyes.

    9. With your largest piece start to mould this into the Bee’s body, once you’re happy with the shape place it gently on to your base.

    10. Take one of your spare pieces of clay and split it again into two.

    11. Roll one piece into your Bee’s head and gently attach it to the body and base.

    12. Split the remaining half equally and roll them into small balls for the eyes – then attach them by gently pushing them onto your Bee head. 

    13. If you have any leftover clay from the eyes you can roll a thin worm shape to create stripes for you bee.

    14. With your final piece of clay split that into two sections. Each section will become a bee wing, pull, pinch and shape your bee wings, attach them by gently pushing them into your bee body.

    15. Leave your clay to dry for 24 hours and then decorate your pot however you like. Once dried you can add a thin layer of PVA glue to coat your decorations.  

      * If your clay is getting a little dry then try squeezing your clay to renew it.
       The heat from your hands will help to soften it.

    Go back to our Spring Thing webpage for more inspirational ideas!

  2. Mud painting

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    Big activities with a small footprint.

    Mud painting is a fun way to explore nature and get a little bit messy!  
    Watch our wonderful video and follow our instructions to help you make a beautiful artwork using nothing but nature. We recommend you wear old clothes when doing this activity and you may need an adult to help.  

    You will need: 

    • Mud  
    • A long piece of paper, cardboard, fabric or any surface to paint on to 
    • Sticks & leaves or flowers as your paintbrushes  
    • An old tub to collect some soil  
    • A smell amount of water to create your mud  
    • Old Clothes  
    • Something to wipe and clean your hands with once you have finished  


    1. Find some mud! This is an activity to do outdoors, either go into your garden or visit your local park.  
    1. Take a long piece of cardboard, paper or fabric as your canvas to paint on to. If you do not have any of these things why not use a tree to paint on instead?  Make sure your paper doesn’t blow away by placing rocks or pebbles on top in each corner.  
    1. Time to explore, what natural items can you find around you as paintbrushes?  
      We think that twigs, leaves, flowers and grass are always wonderful to draw with.  
    1. Using an old container collect some mud! If it has been raining you may be able to use mud straight from the ground. If the soil is dry, take a small amount in your container and then add water and mix thoroughly to make your paint.  
    1. Using the leaves, twigs, grass and flowers your found start to paint!  
      What different types of marks do your natural paint brushes make? Are there some better than others?  
    1. If it’s a sunny day why not try making shapes with your shadows and painting around them.  
      Save your artwork and work in to it another day – or start again by recycling your paper or cardboard.  

    Have you see our growing guide for sunflowers on our Spring Thing activity webpage. Why not take a look and have a go at something else?

  3. Paper Flowers

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    Big activities with a small footprint.

    These paper flowers are inspired by artwork in Gallery Oldham’s collection called Tradition by artist Abdus Shakoor Shah which is part of Gallery Oldham’s art collection. You can also watch this easy guide on our Visit OMA YouTube channel.

    You will need:

    • Coloured paper
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Pencil
    • Glue
    • Cotton buds
    1. Start with your red piece of paper. Measure with your ruler 8 cm x 8cm and mark this on the paper. Then draw the lines using your ruler to create a square.
    Artist is measuring a square out on a red piece of paper using a ruler and pencil.

    2. Carefully cut out your square then repeat these steps until you have 3 squares.

    Artist folding a square of red paper into a triangle.

    3. Fold your square in half to make a triangle. Then fold it in half again to create a smaller triangle.

    4. Fold your triangle in half again to make an even smaller triangle. Then fold again one last time but along the longest length of the triangle. It should look like this.

    Red paper folded into a small triangle.

    5. Cut off the smaller triangle with your scissors. Snip off the corner of the triangle and use your scissors to create a curve along the edge of your petals. Then unfold your flower.

    Red paper flower opened and displayed in artists hand.

    6. Repeat these steps to create 3 flowers.

    7. Roll the green paper tightly around the cotton bud to make your stem. Cut the pointed end off then stick with PVA glue. Make sure you hold it whilst it dries.

    Artist is rolling the green paper tightly to make a stem for the flower.

    8. Use your yellow paper and measure a strip 2 cm wide along the length of the sheet. Then cut this out. Fold the strip in half and then in half again.

    Artist is folding the yellow strip of paper in half.

    9. Cut some tassles into the paper. Be careful not to cut the whole way through. Then bend the tassles out to give it some shape, roll it up and glue to make a rosette.                                                                              

    Artist is cutting tassles into the folded yellow stip of paper using scissors. Cuts are made halfway up the paper.

    10. Take your stem and flower petals. Glue these together placing one flower on top of the other.

    Artist is gluing the top of the stem and the red petals with a cotton bud and PVA glue.

    11. Glue your rosette in the centre of the flower. Hold it in place until it dries. Finish you flower by cutting a small circle of yellow card, glue it to the centre to cover the end of the straw.

    Artist gluing yellow rosette into the centre of the paper flower.

    Congratulations you’ve created a paper flower. Now, why not make a bunch, you could use different coloured paper to create more beautiful flowers .

    Go back to our Spring Thing webpage for more amazing crafting ideas or get some growing inspiration for your garden.

  4. Buzzy Bees

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    Spring Thing logo

    Big activities with a small footprint.

    Gallery Oldham’s bees 

    We love buzzy bees at Gallery Oldham, in fact we even have our very own hive of bees on our bee landing! 

    In high summer there are about 35,000 honey bees in our hive, dropping to around 5,000 over the winter. They are looked after by our volunteer beekeeper Jonathan. 

    Honey only comes from honey bees and the earliest records of bee keeping in hives for honey production date back to the Egyptians around 2,400 BC.  

    Image of Gallery Oldham's beekeeper with the bees

    Life inside Gallery Oldham’s hive is very structured. The honey bees have to work together to ensure the survival of the colony. 

    There are three different types of adult bee in a hive: just one queen, thousands of female workers and in the summer hundreds of male drones. The illustration below shows what the they look like.  

    Image showing european or western honey bee (Apis mellifera) specifically the worker, queen and drone bee.

    Did you know? 

    • The queen bee can live up to five years. She is busiest in the summer months, when she can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day!  
    • The worker bee is the City of Manchester’s official symbol. It was adopted as a symbol for Manchester during the Industrial Revolution, at a time when Manchester was taking a leading role in new forms of mass production, becoming the world’s first industrial city. Find out more about Manchester’s worker bee symbol.

     Bee search 

    There are many other types of bees. Can you find all of the words in our bee-themed word search?  

    Bee word search.

    The need for bees! 

    It’s tempting to think bees just provide us with honey – but in fact they are needed to pollinate much of the food we eat, including most fruit and vegetables. Bees are pollinators vital to our food chain. One third of the food we eat would not be available if not for bees.  

    Illustration of a Bumble bee.

    Bees are a sign of how healthy our environment is. Bees are needed to pollinate plants in gardens, parks and the countryside, including more than three-quarters of the UK’s wildflowers. Wild areas are great for bees and perfect for play, but they also help give us clean air and water. They’re important if we’re going to cope with a changing climate as natural spaces absorb excess water and heat and can offer cool shade. 


    Bee creative 

    Make your own fingerprint bees by adding wings, legs, markings and a face to the fingerprints below. 

    Fingertip in blue ink.
    Fingerprint in blue ink.
    Fingerprint in blue ink.
    Fingerprint in blue ink
    Fingerprint in blue ink

    Bee friendly 

    Image of a sunflower growing in a garden or patio

    Changes in agricultural practises, including both an increase of land use and the use of pesticides, has removed wildflowers from the landscape. This has had a big impact on our bees. The number of bees has sadly been declining! 

    To make the natural world more bee friendly you could plant bee friendly flowers and plants that in your garden, patio pots or window boxes to provide essential nutrition for bees; 

    Annual Coreopsis, Annual Scabious, Bee sage, Borage, Candytuft, Catmint, Chives, Clover, Comfrey, Dahlias, French Marigold, Larkspur, Nasturtium, Sage, Sea Holly, Sedum, Sweet William, Tobacco Plant  

    And don’t forget your sunflower and our how-to-growing guide available on our Spring Thing webpage – buzzy bees love these too! 

    Other tips to encourage and nurture buzzy bees in your garden: 

    Allow a patch of grass to grow long and densely plant an area of border to provide bees with shelter from the rain or a sudden drop in temperature. 
    Reduce the use of pesticide in your garden – pesticides can kill bees and cause whole hives to be abandoned! 
    Bees need water – place pebbles in a shallow dish of water and you will be bombarded with bumble and honey bees in a few days. Keep it replenished and they will keep returning, bees have good memories! 

  5. Sunflower: Growing Guide

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    Natural History curator Patricia Francis provides her top tips for growing the perfect sunflower in this simple to follow growing guide.

    Sow your seeds between March and May. 

    You will need: 

    Origami plant pot
    • Put the compost in to your pot to about 2.5 cm from the top. 
    • Sow two seeds together in each pot. 
    • Cover the seeds lightly with 1 cm of compost. 
    • Firm gently. 
    • Write ‘sunflower’ on your lollipop stick and place it at the edge of your pot. 
    • Put your pots onto a tray – an old food container would be fine for this. 
    • Keep the compost moist, be very careful not to over water! 
    • Place on a windowsill but not in direct sunlight 
    Large sunflower against a fence.
    • Look for the seedlings in showing in 14 to 21 days. 
    • Remove the weaker of the two seedlings in each pot. 
    • As your sunflower grows you will need to pot on into bigger containers or into your garden, if you have used a paper pot you can just plant the whole thing 
    • Choose a sunny place, sunflowers like the sun! 
    • Remember to keep watering! 
    • You can place a stick in the compost or soil alongside the stem to support your sunflower as it grows taller. 

    Expect flowers in June to September. After the flowers fade you will be left with a seed head full of seeds. Leave this as a feast for your garden birds! 

    An image of sunflower seed heads

    Make sure you check out some other family-fun activities to get messy this Easter holiday. Visit our Spring Thing webpage for more suggestions of what to do.

  6. Origami Plant Pot

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    Spring Thing logo with white writing on a green background with a white flower.

    Big activities with a small footprint.

    Recycle your old newspaper and learn or practise your origami skills by making this simple and very useful origami plant pot! You don’t need any glue or tape. The pots can be put into the ground and the newspaper breaks down over time. The plants roots will grow through the newspaper. 

    You will need:

    • Newspaper

    How to make your Origami Plant Pot

    Newspaper laid out open on table.
    1. Get a standard size piece of newspaper and turn it so the long side is facing you. (If you are using large newspaper, rip in half).  
    Newspaper folded along centre crease.

    2. Fold the piece in half from left to right.

    Newspaper folded in quarters.

    3. Fold it again from the bottom to the top so it makes a quarter size. 

    Newspaper folded in eighths.

    4. Fold this in half again from left to right. 

    Demonstrating new fold, the bottom right corner up to the middle along the spine. It will create a triangle shape.

    5. Now fold the bottom right corner (the yellow ‘X’ as shown in image 4) up to the middle along the spine. It will create a triangle shape. The yellow line at the bottom in image 4 should now be in the centre. 

    Demonstrating new fold, the bottom right corner up to the middle along the spine. It will create a triangle shape.

    6. Flip over to the other side and repeat the same thing. 

    Flip over to the other side and repeat the fold, the bottom right corner up to the middle along the spine. It will create a triangle shape.
    Demonstration to open the wings of newspaper to make a triangular shape.

    7. Open the wings up to make a triangular shape as shown. Do this on both sides. 

    8. Fold both wings into the crease in the centre. 

    9. Fold the wings in again. 

    10. Now flip it over and repeat. It should look like this when you are done. 

    11. Fold the top flap down and crease them well. Do this on both sides. 

    12. Open your pot and square the bottom so it can sit well. 

    Finished origami plant pot made from newspaper.
    Finished origami plant pot.

    13. Ta da! Your finished origami plant pot should look something like this! 

    You have the option to fold the top two flaps inside, once soil has been added it will hold them in place. 

    You can also make multiple pots and connect them by dropping the top flap into the adjoining pot to make a row of four or six. 

    Now that you have made your origami planting pot, have a go growing some sunflowers. Take a look at our simple growing guide webpage.

  7. Peter Rabbit Treasure Trail – 1

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    Join Oldham Libraries this Easter for a Peter Rabbit Treasure Trail as part of our Spring Thing activities. Hunt for the clues and crack the code.

    Each Rabbit has a letter. Search for the clues and match the letters with the pictures. When you have found all the letters, put them in the right order to find the name of one of Peter Rabbits siblings.

    Write your answer:

  8. Peter Rabbit Treasure Trail – 2

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    We are bringing the Oldham Libraries Peter Rabbit treasure trail!

    Cut out the six clues and hide them around your home. Then give the trail sheet, to whoever is searching for the clues. See if they can find them all and use them to spell the name of one of Peter Rabbits siblings. Find the answer sheet here.

  9. Discover Arts Award

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    Spring Thing – Arts Award Discover at Home

    Arts Award Logo

    Welcome to your Discover Arts Award at home pack. To achieve your Discover Arts Award you must complete all of the sections below, you can download this pack here.

    You can find out more information about Arts Award, Gallery Oldham and how to complete the award by getting in touch or if you need any assistance please contact:

    EvaD Ould-Okojie
    Access and Interpretation Officer
    Gallery Oldham


    Your Details

    Your name:
    Date of birth:



    Please complete this information before returning your Arts Award at home pack.
    Email your completed pack to evad.ouldokojie@oldham.gov.uk

    Part A: Discover

    For Part A you need to be able to pick out different art forms and take part in an arts activity.

    What art forms can you name? Tick or circle the sort of art you know or write the name of the art form underneath. You can ask an adult to help you, or work with your family or friends to find lots of different arts forms or arts activities.


    Painting and drawing












    Can you name any more?

    What art activities have you done?

    Have you completed any of the ‘Spring Thing’ activities in your pack or from the Gallery Oldham website? Attach pictures of you doing it, draw what you did, or write about it here. Ask an adult to help you if you get stuck. Add as many extra pages and pictures as you like, it can be a mixture of activities or just one

    Part B: Find Out

    For Part B you need to find out about at least one artist and their work.

    What artist or artists are you going to find out about? An artist is anyone who does a creative activity, such as painting, playing a musical instrument, making a sculpture, designing costumes, writing stories or anything else you can think of.
    Did you identify their art form in Part A?

    What is the artist’s name?

    What sort of art do they make?

    How are you going to find out about them? Are you going to use the internet, a book, or visit an arts organisation to find out more?

    What did you find out about your artist or artists? Use photos, print outs, drawings, writing or anything else you like to show what you found out. Ask an adult to help if you get stuck. If you need more space use the back of this sheet.

    Part C: Share

    For Part C you need to share what you have enjoyed and learnt as part of your Arts Award Discover at Home.

    What are you going to share, and who are you going to share this with? You can share your favourite bit, the bit you found most difficult or all your Arts Award Discover! As an adult if you get stuck.

  10. Spring Thing

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    Hurrah! It’s the Easter Holidays – as well as lots of chocolate and a break from school – there’s more to look forward to. Gallery Oldham, Arts Development and Oldham Libraries have got lots in store for you this holiday with Spring Thing. We’re getting ready to get outdoors, trying some new crafts and will be bringing you big activities with a small footprint from Friday 2nd April to Sunday 18th April 2021.

    Get your wellies on and let’s have some fun outside!

    • Paper Flowers with artist, Alison Cooper.
    • Live Storytime ‘The Little Bee That Was Not Wanted’ and Peter Rabbit trail with Oldham Libraries.
    • Origami Plant Pots and Sunflower Growing Guide with Natural History Curator, Patricia Francis.
    • Buzzy Bee Quiz
    • Mud Painting with Fay Buchanan.
    • Felt Making with artist, Isobel Pickup.
    • Discover Arts Award

    Take a look at all our activities on our Spring Thing webpage.

    FREE Craft & Growing Materials – Spring Thing Kits

    Spring Thing kits include craft and plant supplies and instructions to make and grow some of our Easter activities. Our packs are FREE but are limited and bookable via Eventbrite. Collection is available from all the district libraries currently operating click and collect.

    Spring Thing kits include the following :

    • Planting compost in biodegradable bag
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Wool and eco bubble wrap for felting
    • PVA Glue
    • Air Dry Clay
    • Biodegradable cotton buds
    • Lolly-stick to label your seeds
    • A5 coloured card and paper
    • Bee themed activity sheet
    • Flower garland activity sheet
    • Peter Rabbit treasure trail
    • Discover Arts Award
    • Craft and planting instructions

    We’re able to offer 1000 kits via Oldham libraries. Click the library of your choice and book your kit through Eventbrite (opens in separate tab):

    • Oldham  Open Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm
    • Lees  Open Mon – Fri 10am – 2pm and Sat 10am -1pm
    • Delph  Open for Click and Collect only Tues and Thurs 2 – 5pm and Sat 10am -1pm
    • Failsworth Mon – Fri 10am–2pm and Sat 10am–1pm
    • Crompton Mon – Fri 10am–2pm and Sat 10am–1pm

    Please note that Spring Thing kits will only be ready for collection from Tuesday 6 April 2021.